The Flip Side
Behind every victory is a loss. Next to every high is a low. This is a recurring theme in my life.
There's a scripture verse in the Bible that goes a little something like this:
The exalted man will be humbled and the humble man will be exalted.
I know this not because I study the Bible, but because I did a production of Godspell right out of high school. It's theme has been with me ever since.
Example, one day you get a great job offer and you celebrate with good food and drink, your closest support system right next to you, and you sleep in your own comfy bed. The next morning, you wake to a rainy day that seems to be crippled with doom. Now I am fully aware that I have the choice to accept the doom and wallow in it or fight against it with optimism. Some days, I just don't have that fight.
I wonder why I'm choosing to ruminate on this theme today. It could be because I saw something on social media that made me sad. But what makes me sad is WHY it made me sad. This is something that has plagued me for the last few years and ultimately part of the reason I left New York City. I wish it was more complicated than this, but it's not.
I saw a friend post good news about the business. The business of Broadway. And it made me happy for them, but sad for me. And the fact that I can't just be 100 percent happy for them is what makes me sad.
Let's Quentin Tarantino this for a second.
I was late to the performing game. I was about 15 when I joined a youth repertory community theatre. It saved me from becoming a drug addict or derelict at that age because it gave me focus. I always wanted to perform but didn't think I was good enough. Fast forward to senior year in HS where I am playing the lead in the spring musical.
Even going to a performing arts college program, I wasn't sure I was good enough. It wasn't until about halfway through the degree that I felt I had the desire, stubbornness, and perspicacity to pursue acting as a career. Even moving to New York the day after 9/11 seemed like the universe was trying to flag me off the trail. But I made a commitment to just keep going and not give up.
17 years later, after a resume of work that I am very proud of and a lifetime of stories from my experiences, I left the city that was the zip code of my dreams. Broadway. The one that got away. I have metaphorical stitches from slamming my head against the glass ceiling. It's the one thing I pursued so doggedly that I was willing to leave everything behind to get there. But I didn't want to be standing at the apex of the mountain, by myself, with no one to share it with.
I've been very lucky to have someone by my side the past 13 years. Good and bad, high and low, ugly and beautiful, she's been a huge source of strength and went from being the woman I wanted to be my wife to my best friend and the woman I want to mother my children. That said, I almost lost all of that, because of my fragile, male, taurus, superhero-wanna-be ego.
So I put the quest for Broadway secondary, even tertiary, and something strange happened. I stopped caring. I stopped wanting it. I started enjoying the journey, instead of focusing so much on the destination. But an ugly jealousy started to rear it's head. Whenever I was made aware of people's Broadway/TV success, I would react with a mixed bag of emotions. Even with friends.
I have a friend who recently made her Broadway debut. This is someone I've known for almost 15 years. She's a good friend, an honest and open source of laughter and good advice, and a pretty great puppy sitter to boot. When I found out about her success, I was happier than I have been for many in the past few years. But there was still the smallest quotient of sadness. I am comfortable enough with this person to share this with them. And there was a strange freedom from admitting my shortcoming in this arena. But what it ultimately confirmed with 100 percent assuredness, was that I needed to step away from NYC and Broadway. I didn't like the person it was turning me into.
So, all that said, here I am in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Starting the next chapter of my life. Still fully aware of Broadway and it's bright lights and dark alleys. Still wishing deep down for the day that my name will be on the boards. But I am hurting and healing from a safe distance. Truly proud of my friends for their accomplishments. Open to what the future has in store for me.
And trying every day to be a little bit better of a person than I was yesterday.
Looking forward to the flip side of that part of me that is less than desirable.
And hoping that this admission of fault sheds light on some moments from the past few years for some people.