I know you probably won't believe me, but I am quite the drama queen. *shocker* And so these thoughts are from one who loves the spotlight, the dark auditorium, the echos in the hall that within seconds are filled with applause. It's deep in my soul, this drama of mine. I hope you enjoy the show.
For my Senior class play, we did the Wizard of Oz. I auditioned for Dorothy, but because there were no good candidates for the Wicked Witch of the West they had a second audition and I figured what the heck, let's increase my chances. I didn't study the lines. I got home from class and took a nap. I ate an apple, waited for my turn in the auditorium seats, and then walked on stage and rocked the part. The casting director sat in the back row with her mouth open and I was casted immediately. Dorothy was boring, anyway. The role for me was easy (as my brothers who wore "my sister is a witch" buttons to the play will tell you.) Besides a bit of a sore throat from the cackle here and again, I was beyond comfortable in my capabilities. And so it went for every role I played. I was at home on stage.
I have incredibly talented friends. In fact, when I re-friended many on facebook, their professional lives were so amazing that I was glad I could say "photographer" next to my occupation to show some success in my life (because you know...motherhood just isn't success, right? ha! whatev.) I was artistic, therefore my friends were artistic, which means a life filled with artistic endeavors. In fact, I have one friend in particular who is an Opera Singer now. An OPERA SINGER. And I starred in Godspell with the gal. Un-real. And there are countless other friends who have gone on to become doctors and theater teachers etc...exactly what they said they would become 12 years ago. And 12 years ago...well....I was an actress. But unlike them, I have not fulfilled my on-stage dream and I have instead led a different path entirely.
I (surprising to all) got married young, my first child came unexpectedly, my husband got sick, I experienced infertility, became a working mom, found my love of photography, had extended family relationships that caused tremendous heart-ache, and sometimes my life has felt like a roller coaster. Oh-so-different-than-planned. Deliberate or not, definitely not the life of an actress whose flowers fill the dressing room.
Recently I reflected on these facts. I have felt a painstaking prick...a feeling of desire...or memory...of how I miss the stage. Oh, I love my life and my accomplishments, but I miss the theater. I was good. Really really good. I miss the butterflies in my stomach right before I went on stage and the confidence that I had after a performance ended. I miss the applause, the whistles, the curtain lowering, only to go back up for an encore.
There is no getting around it. I miss the stage. I do. But I think what I miss most about it is knowing who I was on it. I was ME, and although I played someone else...I was never more confident in my purpose.
And so I have thought about that. I have thought about this past part of me. I have thought about the music and lights and backstage vibrancy. I have thought about it all, and how much I have changed and how different my life might have been had I followed that path. I wondered...have I let myself down? Have I tossed my talents and my passions to the side? And then as quickly as that thought came, another one, an even stronger impression, followed suit.
I realized with spiritual urgency that I have NOT failed myself by following a different path. I don't mind not being the center of attention anymore. I don't regret the time I spend with my children vs. rehearsals. And I have finally come to realize that I am still that person. One whose purpose is clear. I am still ME.
I still get butterflies when I am about to do a photo shoot. I still get whistled at by my husband as I put on my heels. I still get an encore when my children beg me to read that book one more time before bed. I am still confident in my role as a wife, a mother, a friend. I am still that actress on stage.
In fact, life is a lot like a rehearsal, don't you think? Sometimes I forget my role in a certain scene and sometimes my fellow actors or myself don't remember our lines and sometimes there is a Take 2 because Take 1 was a disaster. I have recently realized that in this life-- the world really IS a stage. I am a STAR performing in what matters most, and I always will be.