Leaving Texas… kind of…
My body may have left Texas, but my mind hasn’t.
Has anyone else had the experience of making a new friend after high school and wondering how in the world you’re going to explain yourself? How do you get someone to understand all the things that went into making you who you are now? My life in Texas didn’t end the way it was supposed to and I’m left wondering how to understand this narrative of my life? How can I trust that everything about me makes sense?
One of the first things I did on returning to Phoenix was attend my friend Monica’s wedding where I sat at a table comprised of 3 couples, and me. They were all artists of some kind: actors, singers, writers, directors, theatre company owners, and me. I was none of those things. “You’re an art lover,” Shelby said.
I am an art lover. But I wasn’t an artist. So when Shelby and Brian offered me the chance to be a part of Brelby, I was very reluctant. What could I possibly offer a theater company made up of people with so much talent in areas I never developed or had to begin with?
I’m not going to tell you anything specific about what occurred in Texas. But I will say that I let myself down. I failed. And I’ve spent the last two years punishing myself for it. Now, however, I’m finding that, because I am a different person, filled with adventures and memories, heartaches and fear, that I didn’t have 4 years ago, I’ve had to give myself lots of space to think and to remind myself that I can enjoy this. I can let people call me a Brelby artist and know that it’s true. After a 10 year performance hiatus, I’ve been involved in 6 shows and 2 creative challenges since March, and I’m not sure when it happened but one day, I looked in the mirror and saw someone I recognized.
Maybe it’s all the time spent with Shelby, one of my oldest and dearest friends, or that I’ve finally gotten to know her husband (and he’s a wonderful person).
It could have happened when I realized people like to hear me sing, or that I have the ability to remember my lines, or that I am a really good Stage Manager.
Or maybe it happened when I understood that I’m allowed to enjoy my life, even if it’s not what I thought it would be.
I’m not sure where any of this time at Brelby fits into my narrative; I’m still not convinced I’m an artist. But lately I’ve been wondering if the answer is to not bother trying to work any of it out at all.
There are the lucky few who have had smooth sailing to this point in their lives, but for most of us, there are firsts and starts, confusion, missteps, wrong turns, U-turns. My road appears to be constantly under construction, covered in boulders and black ice, with so many unexpected surprises, both happy and not so happy. The truth of who I am is all I have to offer, to Brelby or elsewhere. And so often all I want to do is edit or hide it, cut and paste the story so it will read like something I meant to do all along.
But the answer just may be to embrace this life of mine. We are all here, trying our best, fumbling along. We make choices, we re-group, we try new things, and we take chances at places like Brelby. We learn from each other. We make sense.