Last year I gave up something very dear to my heart. I got on stage for the last time in September 2010. I know that I’ve talked a lot about how much I loved theatre before, but I think my abandonment needs an explanation.
Acting is in my blood. My mother taught high school theatre for 25 some odd years, and I thought I was destined to follow in her footsteps. From a very early age, I knew that I loved being on stage. I started dance lessons at three, and I started singing as soon as I could talk. That hobby evolved into a full blown passion by the time I entered high school.
I knew from the first day of eighth grade that I wanted to be in shows. My very first high school show was Footloose. I played Irene, a bar singer. I never felt more alive than when I belted out the lyrics to my song, and I got to take my bow, not with other cast members, but by myself.
Shows preoccupied my entire high school career. I tried out for the cheerleading team because I saw cheering as another way to perform. I continued dance lessons (tap, ballet, and jazz), and I was an avid member of the chorus. I wanted to be a triple threat. I loved everything about being in front of people and stealing the spotlight. I played every part imaginable from Crow #3 in The Wizard of Oz, to Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. I immersed myself in the study of technique, and I tried in every way possible to make myself a better actress.
My Junior year of high school, I applied for admission to a competitive summer program for the arts called The Governor’s School. I was accepted for theatre arts, and I spent the entire summer before my senior year learning how to perfect my craft. I had a teacher who challenged me to become better, and I made some of the best friends of my entire life. I even fell in love. (more on both of those later). Governor’s School changed the way I looked at acting. It made me want to be a better conveyor of truth and a better representative through my art.
I got to college, and it turns out that I’m not as great of an actress as I thought I was. Rejection weighs too heavily on my soul for me to be a part of the theatre world anymore. Something inside of me broke when I got to college. Without theatre, I really didn’t know who I was. It may sound silly to define oneself solely based on “what you do” but that’s how important theatre was to me. It was everything, and I loved it. I love it to this day, but as a spectator rather than a star. I still cry when I hear Kristin Chenoweth trill in Promises, Promises, and when I hear the opening note of Hairspray. That language speaks to me in a way that nothing else can. You can’t change your passion. Not a day goes by that I don’t kick myself for giving up so easily. I can’t go back, because I’ve found something else to be passionate about: something that speaks to me in a different way. I will never again have the opportunity to make performing my life, and that makes me horribly sad.
Thanks for the memories.