Sunday, February 24, 2008

I guess I've drunk the kool-aid

I used to be an actress. No, no delusions of grandeur, it was during my youth and primarily through educational institutions. But it was my dream, and oh, the roles I got to play! Emily in Our Town. Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Kate Keller in All My Sons, a role that has stayed with me through this time of war. Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, where I learned that smearing Vapo Rub under your eyes to simulate tears is really not a good idea.

Alexandra in the Little Foxes. The Baroness in The Sound of Music (hey, in the stage play, she gets two songs.) Ouisa in Six Degrees of Separation.

Oh, I was lucky. Nothing huge, small productions, mostly for high school or university ... but I was blessed to play these roles, these acting roles that have shaped me, in one way or another.

In college, while I was in Little Foxes, I had my breakthrough moment. I looked around at my classmates, my castmates and realized ... these are the kinds of people I will be around my whole life. These are the kinds of people I will be.

They were fine people, but the whole process of training for the stage was so self-focused ... it is a rare person, I believe, who manages to be an actor who is not self-involved. The training, the auditions ... it's all about you. Your instrument. Your motivation.

And it's also not you. It's about becoming something other than yourself. And convincing someone that you can be exactly what they have already envisioned. Who Do You Want Me To Be?

I decided to get an English major. And become a writer.

"You'll be back," my advisor smiled at me. "You have the talent. You have the dream."

I don't say this to brag. I say this to show that sometimes, people who think they know you ... don't.

I didn't go back. Part of it, too, was that I knew I wanted the white picket fence. I wanted children and a husband to love me. I wanted a life more ordinary.

I got my English degree, and I became a writer, of sorts, first writing corporate materials, and then national advertising, and then websites.

And now ... sermons. But that's another conversation.

I got my life more ordinary and discovered that it was far richer than anything I could ever have imagined.

But I have to admit ... each year, watching the Tony's, or the Oscars ... okay, there was a teeny-weenie-tiny part of me that looked back wistfully.

This year, for the first time ever, I am watching the Oscars, and not even feeling the teensiest bit wistful.

During my time in marketing/advertising, I had the opportunity of going to LA for a photo shoot.

I am an extremely friendly, somewhat touchy-feely person . But I'll tell ya, the first time I was kissed on the cheek by someone I barely knew ... WEIRD, I tell ya.

I am so incredibly blessed, now. I get to spend time thinking about Meaning, with a capital M. I get to be around my beloved Unitarian Universalists, and though I have been known to refer to us as "freakin' Unitarians!" ... after yet another experience of the need for a financially strapped congregation to build a bathroom for blind transgender non-existent visitors ... this is my tribe. These are my people. And our hearts are so, so, so, in the right place ...

My path has been curvy. It likely will continue to be so. I had a dream last week that I was driving my car (minivan) on the freeway and the freeway suddenly went up up up and became steep steep steep until it was straight up and down. I pushed the accelerator down to the floor and realized that I was in completely the wrong vehicle to take this particular road. My car couldn't go forward. It stopped moving forward and began to free fall backwards ...

No mystery there. I am a mother of 4. How on earth am I going to do an internship?

I step out in faith. I step out in faith knowing that there are many other individuals who stepped out in faith, who possess an M.Div and a whole lot of debt, but have never been ordained ...

And still, I step out in faith.

And this year, watching the Academy Awards ... there was not an iota of envy. Of The Road Not Traveled.

Hey, I still (as this post proves) have my moments of self-involvement. But I'm in a world that says, Okay ... but now what are you going to do to win your victory for mankind?

No matter what happens, I am content with the road I am on. No, more than that.

I am happy.


Every 7th Day said...

Just a wee warning. If we ever meet I'm gonna' give you a HUGE kiss.

Great post, LE.

Lizard Eater said...

Okay, 7, freaky ... I was just on your church's website, cyber-stalking you.

I think I have a girl-minister crush. ;)

Of course, if we ever meet ...

"Real Paul Anka walking toward Dog Paul Anka, Dog Paul Anka toward Real Paul Anka. You can sense that something very bad is about to happen, when, suddenly, they meet in the street and bam! An other-worldly white light engulfs the whole town and there's a loud explosion, two barks, and everything goes dark!" -- Gilmore Girls, "The Real Paul Anka"

But which of us is the REAL Paul Anka???

Comrade Kevin said...

You have to follow your dream and I have deep respect for those who would do so and in the process aim to help all of us.

You are to be commended.