The last time we talked, I was feeling apprehension about the opening weekend of the musical. It wasn’t about stage fright or worrying about whether or not I knew my songs or lines. It seemed to go a lot deeper than that.
The last show that I was in was back in 2011. I was in my mid-30’s and I had some really awesome parts. I built up a rather large fan base. I wore some really beautiful dresses.
As luck would have it, I was the oldest female that auditioned for this show. The part that I wanted was given to a 17 year old. Feeling old bites, especially after being given the old lady parts. In my mind but not in the mirror, I am still young and beautiful. Don’t they see me as I do?
I have been teased endlessly for my costumes. At first I was angry. One of the costumes I wear was owned by a woman before she had bariatric surgery. I was not kidding when I said that I had to wrap the belt around me twice. Over the weekend, I learned to laugh at myself too. Although it is one of my least favorite shows, the cast and director have been phenomenal.
Over the weekend, I had a few moments for self-examination. Paul and I have the same problem, we tend to be the type that takes on too much. Then we get overwhelmed with the choices that we make. I realized that if I ever train for a full Ironman, there are going to be a lot of things that I am going to have to give up or say no to.
Being in a show is a tremendous time commitment. Many people do not know what it is like until they have done it. Not only are there many hours spent on stage at the theater, there are many hours spent at home memorizing lines and songs. Time that cuts into other time commitments.
Stepping back into community theater after a long hiatus hasn’t been particularly easy. I lost all of my fan base. I am not remembered anymore. The director and most of the cast have never seen me on stage before. The ‘good jobs’ people threw at me as they were passing by on their way out the door don’t mean as much…you should’ve seen me in my hay day…It’s almost like qualifying for the Boston marathon…taking a break from the running scene for years…then being complimented on running a 5k.
This show has forced me to face that I am not young anymore…my looks are fading. I know this sounds incredibly shallow. But it has been difficult for me. To be honest with you, most of the positive attention I received as a child had to do with my looks. It met a lot of emotional needs for attention that went unfulfilled at home. I am learning to live with it like a genius slipping into dementia.
Maybe that is why I slowly switched from beauty to brawn over the past couple of years. It is something I feel I have more control over. It is something that I earned versus a genetic lucky roll of the dice. I feel great. I am starting to see a big separation between those who are active and those who are not. There are people my age who are out of breath climbing the stairs. I get a little winded at about mile 18 in a marathon.
People say that I am lucky. But this has nothing to do with luck. I earned it.
I don’t expect to live forever or even longer than everyone else my age. I probably won’t be running marathons at 80. But I do expect to live a full and active life until my last days. I expect to have enough endurance to make memories with my grandchildren someday.
Will I ever do another show again?? Yes, perhaps I will if the timing and part is right for me. But if you ever ask me if I plan to run another marathon at mile 20, the answer will always be no.