I haven’t been blogging. I feel hesitant to put words down, to commit, to say what I’m doing. This is because the self-critical and doubting voices in my mind are having a field day already, and each morning I breathe in, breathe out, hear them, hear me. It’s a kind of sacred thing, that listening. I’m trying not to judge them. I’m sinking into their fear, I’m watching the fears–my fears–get born. And I’m getting up and living as I often have, pulled forward into the next chapter almost against my will.
Sometimes I think, for a moment, that I’d rather just be a yoga and meditation teacher. Peace leaks out of my pores when I teach those things, I find myself in absolute center. But a moment is about as long as I can even think it without wanting to laugh out loud because that’s just not who I am. I am an artist. Art is my spiritual path, the way I come into being, into aliveness, and while I imagine it would be an easier life to teach yoga and meditation, I can’t do that. I can’t be that person.
I have to do this thing–going to New York more and more often already, way before I’d planned to, even, to audition, to get acting coaching, to connect with friends (surprisingly, too many to connect with in one visit or two or even three…how is that, when here in Boston I feel so isolated?). I find it difficult to do this. I find it difficult to come up with the faith, but luckily I can’t do anything else, so it is necessity that drives me and yoga and meditation that balance the drive.
I did my first audition in NYC in a decade and got the role. I’m playing the bad mother again. I don’t mind. The script’s really good, especially for a short, and I liked the people and my gut said yes. So…
I hope that I am old enough now to recognize the fantasy successes for what they are–fool’s gold. I mean, I don’t mind money and prestige. And poverty can and has made me desperate and miserable. I’m glad to be financially stable. BUT. For so long success was something I needed to prove my worth, as so many of us do. And now it’s just wanting to be in this necessity, this path, and to dig into what it is I have to learn as a spiritual being having a human experience. And the fears, the critical and doubting thoughts…they are painful. But it’s good pain if I’m moving through them, developing more compassion for myself and others, if I’m becoming more humble, if I’m knowing, as I am, that there are so many gifted actors out there, and I’m just taking my seat among them.
In college, my fiction teachers prophesized for me a success that didn’t come as fast or big as I wanted. When I was 20, people said to me, as they do, “Remember me when.” This only encouraged me to imagine my life rolling out easily before me like a red carpet, and while I worked hard, I was shocked into reality over and over again by how hard it all was–how I had to dig into myself to write, how I had to struggle with my own pain, try to make sense of suffering–my own and everyone’s–how my understanding of redemption kept changing…sometimes into a faith, strong and sure, in benevolence…and sometimes into doubt, sometimes acknowledging the truth that there are people who don’t make it, who are destroyed by the dark within or without.
I’ve been reading Stephen Cope again, and I know, as I have always known, that I am on this planet to tell what human stories I can know, live, feel, embody. That’s all. I know that with a kind of joy, and also with terror. Because what if I fail?
I lived with fantasy covering my fear of failure for a long time. But only in the running of Another Country Productions did I veer far away from the telling of my own stories. And while I believe strongly in social justice and equality, while I am glad Another Country supported the mission of all voices being heard equally, more and more, over the last nine years, the voice that grew fainter was mine. I’m not supposed to administer anything. I’m just supposed to tell stories. And when the critical voices in my head say that my own stories aren’t as valuable, I remember performing my first one woman show at Holy Cross College in 1998 for their Zero Tolerance for Violence Against Women Week. I did a collection of monologues and performance poems I’d written on the subject, including my own experiences of violence, and, performing them, I felt a kind of transformation occur. I felt free, I felt inside something true. Afterward a young women lined up, and waited to talk to me. More than one burst into tears when it was her turn. Tina D’Elia turned me on to that gig, and I have to remember that if my dharma is the telling of stories, the performing of true stories, then the way I can best transform myself and the world is through just that.
So, I reincarnate, again. Good-bye to producing theatre. Hello to the unknown. I’m leaping. I’m not closing my eyes, though. At least, not yet.