Why? Because a lot of this blog post is going to be, in essence, a “Duh” moment – or at least probably should.
One year ago today I was exhausted. I was “out of it” to the extent that pretty much most of the time I was just not of any actual use to anyone, let alone to myself. It was truly coming home to me that I had ended my marriage, and with it, ended my life as I knew it. It was the best decision I ever made, but I was still needing to work through all of the emotion, all of the consequences of the choice, and deal with it the best that I could.
I had “time on my hands” but only because I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t make rational decisions, I could barely take care of myself. I couldn’t work, because literally, I had caused myself chemical brain damage by putting up with the emotional and mental abuse for so long. You would think that would be a perfect time to recover the use of my creativity.
Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.
The full extent of my ability to be creative was the level of coloring someone else’s art. I spent most of my time on Facebook, playing games fairly mindlessly. I spent what time I could doing things like getting my medical support set back up, so that I could manage my chronic pain. I spent many nights talking to my sister, trying to understand what I was going through. I spent time leaning on my boyfriend’s shoulder, mourning what I thought I had.
It took until spring this year before I started getting the urge to create. In fact, it didn’t really start getting to be an imperative until after I had been practicing with my sister and the Cumberland ETC (or view them on Facebook) cast of Jesus Christ Superstar (I was the only female soldier – and for the first time in my life, I got told that I wasn’t mean or intimidating enough – I had to be meaner and more cruel to our Jesus. I’m just thankful that our Jesus seems to have developed double-jointedness) that I found that the fount of creativity was suddenly in full flow.
I’ve gotten quite energetic about creative things. I’ve reacquainted myself with that part of me that comes up with ideas, that wants to MAKE things. That part of me that wants to SAY something. Which, of course, is where this blog came from. It’s something I have been thinking about for years, but just never had the energy to actually follow through on.
I’ve not quite built up enough for my computer art to come back, but I’m making some inroads there.
In fact, I’m finding myself getting motivated to return to theater! I’d been in and out of the theater world fairly often before I got married. I found my love of backstage work, mostly because in high school my ability to be an actor was quashed by the teacher who was in charge of the drama extracurricular activities. Remember, I’ve always been a large girl.
The only time I was allowed on stage was in the chorus, and I was put in the ‘back row’ so that I would be obscured. And that was ONLY my senior year. Oh, there were all sorts of “reasons” for it (because no one is going to be rude enough to say “I didn’t cast you because you’re too fat!”), but I overheard some comments from the director speaking to other staff talking not only about me, but also other “oddly” shaped girls at the school (including the “too thin” ones) and stating clearly that he would NOT cast any of them unless it was their senior year, and their last chance.
So, any interest in my being an actor was DOA (dead on arrival) at age 16.
But I threw myself into prop making, and makeup. And I got a chance to act at the Bristol Renaissance Faire south of Milwaukee, as an Irish mercenary wench for 5 years (until the year I got married).
And earlier this year when my sister asked if either of her boys would be willing to be cast as a soldier in Jesus Christ Superstar, and they both said no – I told her I would take it. They needed someone, and I figured it wouldn’t be too strenuous (oh, my, was I wrong!).
Since I was the only female soldier, we figured between ourselves that it was probably best that I be the “jailer” so that the guys would essentially be balanced against each other visually. And actually, in practice, I got told by the director (for the first time in my life) that I needed to look MORE mean, and MORE intimidating. I obviously was able to do it, because the feedback from some of our audience was that I was horribly scary.
By the end of the run, I realized I would LOVE to direct. So, I asked the director (who is also on the board) what I needed to do to become an apprentice director. He seemed actually surprised. So, now, that’s what I’m doing. I’m apprenticing to the directors to learn the job.
Much of the “mob” was local teenagers, and I helped some of them with makeup. And eventually, offered to set up a workshop to teach them stage makeup. And I’ve been thinking about it most of the summer. I’m actually looking into helping the drama club at the high school, or other opportunities to help out with the kids.
My physical endurance still sucks, but I’m absolutely thrilled to have the creative energy back!!!