I have had time to finally sit and reflect on my time spent on Carmen at the University of Minnesota. I met many new friends and colleagues that changed my life. When you are in a show, you spend so much time with these new people in a short amount of time that you get to know them quickly, and sometimes really deeply. You devote so much of yourselves to the same work, the same product that you can’t help but find a connection with each other. You work hard, you become attached to these new people, and then you finish the show and bam, back to reality, back to real life. Some times this means never seeing certain people again. Thanks to the norms of social media, you can easily stay in contact with people from anywhere in the country, but it’s still hard to feel like the people you were the closest to are gone all of a sudden. The world of performance is ephemeral. It can be a lonely existence. Many performers really struggle with this.
It is important to keep positive connections in your life outside of this lonely world. Not everyone has a family to come home to at the end of the day, in the traditional sense, but there really is truth in saying that your family is chosen. You need your person…or people… someone you call to vent to, someone who is there any time you need them, even if that is to simply sit quietly together. You can build your family on your own, and often (let’s be real here) you get closer to your chosen family than your “real” family anyway.
I have an over abundance of family in my life. I have a huge group of family and friends, so supportive and loving, that I can exist in this crazy world of come-and-go relationships without it eating away at me. It is still hard to finish a show and feel like I am thrown into disconnect from what I knew and loved within a cast and production, but having this support is certainly helpful. Finishing Carmen was really emotional for me. I truly loved the role and the people I worked with. I was sad before the final performance started and I cried the second I walked off stage for the last time.
This sadness was short lived, though, as I walked around the corner to see a huge group of friends and family waiting for me with hugs and smiles, flowers, notes and so many pictures. These people are MY people. Many of them came from out of state to see me perform and I was more than appreciative of their support. Seeing them all there filled me with so much happiness. I looked around and thought, it doesn’t matter how the performance went- these people would think so much of me no matter what. These are the people I would call throughout the process of the show and vent to, express concern over learning the role, exclaim to when I finished memorizing the role, etc. They knew the behind-the-scenes take on it. There were others who couldn’t make it to the show for various reasons who sent texts, left voicemails, sent messages online. This support isn’t taken for granted. The love and support of these people is what keeps me going- in and out of the crazies that come along with delving into a character and coming back out on the other side.
You have to find this for yourself. You have to find those relationships in your life that are real, non-materialistic, beyond-the-surface connections with people, and hold them tight. Make sure they know you are there for them as much as you expect them to be there for you. Ask them how their day is because you are genuinely interested in hearing about it, and you know how nice it is to hear that from them. Take the time to go support them in whatever endeavors they work so hard at day in and day out. Send them a note from time to time. Call and check in when you know they are hearing back about something important. You get the point… be there. Choose wisely whom you bring into your life and keep them close. Make them feel important.
Thank you for reading my blog post!
Follow @MockingbirdSOV on Twitter.
Please LIKE my Facebook Page.