Tag Archive: fear

Thoughts on Taking a Step Back

I read something recently about “earnest prayer.” I’m not, nor have I ever been, religious but I will admit that sometimes I long for the solace of prayer and believing that there is someone there listening. Sometimes I find life so overwhelmingly complicated that I yearn to be able to put it in the hands of someone else. Unfortunately for me, I just can’t bring myself to really believe in a higher power nor do I even believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that you make what happens and that sometimes pure chance either helps you out or knocks you down. Nonetheless, this earnest prayer that I was reading about was from a lifelong actor who prayed that her call to the theatre would be taken away from her until she was ready to go back to it and this struck a chord with me.

I’ve been out of theatre school for the better part of two years and have done exactly one project that I cared about. One single project that filled my artistic cup and made me remember all the reasons I got into this messy life in the first place. Sure, I’ve worked on half a dozen shows in this time period but most of them were the bottom of the barrel. Take-what-you-can-get kind of stuff and I can’t seem to “get” anything worth doing. I feel out of my element and lost. I feel like I’m drowning in the overwhelming task of making a life in the theatre. I love it. I do. There is nothing in life that gets me more passionate and feeling more alive than working on something that I love but all of these projects I’ve been doing just to do something have left me feeling drained, frustrated and hopeless. Which is why, lately, I’ve been wondering if this is the right path for me and why reading about that prayer nearly brought me to tears.

I’ve been considering the idea of just giving up. Of packing up my vocal warmups and my transitive verbs and my clown nose and putting them in a box in the darkest corner of my proverbial closet but every time I get close to a decision I get scared. I’ve done basically nothing with my life in the last 16 years that didn’t revolve around theatre. I don’t have any other passions in life. There are other things I like, other things I enjoy but there is nothing else that I have ever encountered that makes me feel the way theatre does. So if I give that up, what do I have? And if I give that up, how do I hold on to my pride and my identity? What will my theatre school friends think? How many I-told-you-so’s will I have to listen to from my friends and family who have always thought I was out to lunch to even go to theatre school in the first place?

I know I could never give it up forever. That is not an option but I am exhausted from failure. I have completely and totally failed in pursuing my dreams and while that is not necessarily a bad thing (all good theatre emerges from failure, after all) it is demoralizing and I can feel my spirit breaking. I just need a break. I need some time to figure out what I really want in life and to revitalize my will to get there. Writing this down is the closest I have ever come to speaking these words out loud. And, of course, we all know that saying it out loud makes it real. I’m still not ready to do it for real, I don’t think, but I’m getting closer. So, I guess in a way, this is my version of an earnest prayer and boy is it ever scary.

I wish that somehow this could be easier or that someone could just hand me a neat and tidy solution but life’s not like that. There are no pamphlets or neon signs or perfect little ribbon-y bows, there is just a mess of desire, emotion and fact that never seem to get along. But If I can’t find revitalization from what I love then maybe the only answer is to leave it be. I’ll come back to it, I know I will, but maybe, just maybe, now is not the right time to be in it.


Thoughts on Traveling

I have never traveled much. I wasn’t one of those kids that got to go on big, cool trips all the time. We mostly spend time going to visit family or doing smaller scale trips around North America and that was great. But I’ve always had a strong urge to go farther afield. In short, I want to see the world but there have always been things standing in my way. I was in school. I needed to work summers to afford school. I couldn’t study abroad because I’d miss out on important opportunities at home. I had just graduated so I needed to save up first. I didn’t have anyone to travel with. I started a new job and I can’t just quit in under a year.

I’ve started to realize though that I might be exaggerating these excuses just a bit. None of them are completely made up but none of them are necessarily good enough reasons to stay at home and work a boring job and live a boring life. I think what I’ve realized is that I’m actually just scared. I’m afraid to take a big trip because I don’t know how to get around in non-English speaking countries. I’m afraid of not knowing what I’ll do for work when I get back. I’m afraid of traveling on my own because what if I get lost or lonely? And what I realized just yesterday is that I’m afraid to leave the country because my family members have this annoying habit of dying. I’ve lost a lot of people in the last few years, most of them too young and a lot of them unexpectedly. What I hadn’t realized until now is that I’m so afraid of being away when the next one goes that I’ve been making excuses for years to stay close to home, just in case. I’m a dreamer at heart but my brain has turned me unexpectedly into a homebody.

The fear of being lost or finding a new job will, I think, be easily conquered. The fear of being on another continent when I lose someone I love though, probably not so much. But isn’t the whole lesson that life is too short? I know that better than a lot of people so why am I letting it keep me in a place that I’m not happy? Knowledge is power and I’m trying to use this new knowledge to give me the power to make a promise to myself that once my year at this new job is up, I’ll be ready to conquer (or at least mitigate) my fear and get on a plane.