Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Oh how I miss the stage

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

ACT 2:

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.

Act 3:

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.

Cue curtain.


Camie Rae said...

Hi. So I adore you. And this post says exactly what my heart has been saying lately. EXACTLY! So well put and awesome! I miss theatre so much and am kinda glad to know that I'm not alone in that feeling. You're awesome. Thanks for this!!

Bridget said...

Thank you.

Lisalulu said...

wow exactly how I feel.. but you write it so much more eloquently. and I'm 50 something! I have done a lot of community theater with my kids that was pretty satisfying but I don't go to any High School reunions because they always ask me WHY I'm not famous.

Wendy said...

It sounds like you are enjoying your current role.

Kimberly said...

Oh, man, Carrie, you couldn't possibly know how much this spoke to me. I read it and cried. It felt like I had written it - except in place of the wizard of oz it was Peter Pan, and in place of the wicked witch it was Peter! I have been feeling this a lot lately, and amazingly JUST had a discussion with my husband LAST WEEK about your "Act 2". I have felt like I've lost a bit of my identity - no, A LOT of my identity. Like I didn't know who I was anymore. And that's what I miss the most. I am not currently on "Act 3" yet - the part of the play where I come to terms with with this changed and new me that incorporates the old me. I'm stuck in a limbo between acts 2 and 3. But reading your post let me know there is hope for me. I will get there. Thanks for the insight and the reality check. :)

Stef said...

Bravo! Encoure. If I could throw you a cyber rose I would. Isn't that what motherhood is about..finding ourselves in our journey. Sometimes is easier than others, but WE are still in there somewhere.

Patty Ann said...

Oh, I love it. This is an amazing post. I have felt much the same way, for many of the same reasons. I have had to learn to find within myself my acceptance. I think we sometimes have to miss the past in order for it to really teach us something about ourselves.

Amy said...

Carrie, this made me feel so good to read! You are such a great writer and so uplifting.
Sometimes I miss my days of being a dancer. I love those butterflies too, that feeling of becoming something else on the stage, the applause, the adoration... yeah I miss it.
I'd like to start teaching again someday. I still do choreography in my head sometimes. :)
But right now, I just want the role of wife and mother too.

Jackie said...

Community Theater. I know you're satisfied with the "stage" of life you are in. But we audience goers aren't satisfied! We want to see you on the stage! Seriously give it a couple years and then community theater! I'll be the woman with the giant sign that says, "Ain't my cousin the bestest?"

Charlotte said...

Beautifully written. I think at some point everyone wonders if they went down the right path. They look at the other path so long, they forget what they love about the direction they choose.

Curious.M said...

Hey Carrie. I am only 24, and not even married. I just started acting last year and have creeping hopes that I will be a wife and mother sooner than later. Thank you for writing this post. It has touched me. I was in much indecision lately about my becoming an actress, because I LOVE it so much & I believe it has helped me grow out of my shell, but I also see the reality of my talent, where it is and how much more time it will take of my life to get where I would want to be. Coming to this realization, I have been pondering what really matters to me and what I would really like to invest my future on. Your post helped me a lot. Thank you.

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