March 22, 2016

The Art of No Regrets

I love the theater, but I didn't know myself well enough in college to know that I probably should not have been a theater major. Despite my lack of forethought, it wasn't a random decision. I went to a small enough college that I had the opportunity to do things both on the stage and behind the scenes. I took some classes and participated in several shows and found that I truly loved every aspect of it.

No real art comes without effort and make no mistake, the theater is hard work. It is as physically demanding as any sport and as mentally taxing as academics, and almost always at the same time. There is blocking and choreography to say nothing of moving scenery. And the mental demands of the memorization alone can be exhausting. 

It wasn't the hard work of the theater itself that put me off. It was the work of surviving in such an industry that made me realize that it was not for me. I was never going to move to the city and pound the pavement for a job. There is too much risk in that endeavor. I am not a teacher and so that avenue never appealed to me. I always thought that when my kids were old enough, I'd have the opportunity to participate in community theater somewhere and be happy doing something I loved while still being pragmatic. I have wondered if I should have found the courage to pursue it more aggressively.

I think about some of the friends I had in the Theater Department. Most of them--the ones I keep up with through social media, anyway--have stayed involved in the theater to varying degrees. I have seen the work they do and I see that they will leave their marks in many ways. If I was a pessimistic person I might regret that I have not left my own. But I am not, and I don't.

Yes, she's taller than me already.
It's not just the horns.
I have a very beautiful, very talented daughter who is already making more of a mark in the theater than I have in all my years before her. She knows the work that it is and does not shy away from it.  I have seen her grow and learn and blossom since her first step in front of an audience. She was a shy girl who found a passion that inspired a self-confidence that is palpable when she is onstage now.

I am unabashedly and annoyingly proud of her. So if I ever stop to wonder what my legacy is in this art, it is undoubtedly her.
My gorgeous girl as Dragon in Shrek Jr., her most recent role.

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