Stuff happens in life, and when a lot of your life is lived on the road, stuff happens while you're far from home. When it's bad stuff, it exacerbates feelings of helplessness and frustration.
This week, in the midst of one of the most joyous openings of one of the most amazing and enjoyable projects of my career, two very bad pieces of news and one unpleasant experience arrived. Holding an aching heart for the suffering of loved ones while bringing the infectious energy and happiness this show requires has been challenging.
People get sick while you're away. Sometimes people die. You couldn't have done anything even if you'd been home, but something about being gone is guilt-inducing. It's just part of what you sign on for with an itinerant lifestyle of any kind. And you can't drop everything and go home, not if you're a freelancer and you need that paycheck.
Plus, there is a responsibility to your colleagues and to your audience. It doesn''t matter what's going on inside my head; I owe my colleagues support and I owe my audience a good time. Me getting to feel good about it is a bonus. (But when you've been having such a great time, it's especially painful for the unpleasantries of real life to intrude, and then you feel bad about feeling bad about THAT. Yeeesh).
One of my colleagues was sick last week, really feeling miserable, and he still had to get up there and pump out LOADS of energy to pull off the production week rehearsals. And he did it, because he's a pro and that's what you do. This is also where "fake it 'til you make it" really works, because at some point the energy you're pretending to have becomes real and adrenaline carries you through (at least until you're finished, and then you get the big crash).
I am lucky to be in a show I love with a cast I love. I'm lucky to be having such a great time doing my job that it tempers and to some degree shields me from the horrible news of the last couple of days --- because there is no choice but to stomp it down and force myself into the mindset I need to be in. Like Scarlett O'Hara, I'll think about it tomorrow.
And in the meantime, there are still stunningly beautiful roses among the ashes. My niece and nephew visited from Atlanta for opening night, and we had a great time. My mom and niece are here from Austin, and I can't wait for them to see today's show. In a couple of hours, I get to perform in one of the best shows with one of the best casts of my career.
Life can get ugly at times, but thank God the beauty and joy is still there, a lifeline, waiting for you to grasp it.