The smell of sawdust and strain of my eyes as they navigate in the shadows of curtains and glow tape is my own time travel machine. The sights and smells transport me back 20 years to the last time I embarked on an adventure like this one.
Tonight I will take to the stage for the first time as an adult. I was a proud drama nerd in high school, and managed to get a lead role here or there, but after I graduated my theatre aspirations were buried in my overachieving desire to do well in college and become the “capital J journalist” I felt called to be. After college, life and love happened, and before I knew it, auditioning for a play felt foreign and awkward.
Two months ago, something happened that kicked the dust off of my dramatic aspirations. My daughter came home from school, telling me she wanted to audition for the community play. Wow. The saying the ‘apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ is really true. As I helped her prepare for the audition, practicing public speaking, and scripts, and even her audition song – my husband said, “why don’t you audition with her?”
I couldn’t, could I? I’m a mom. I’m a business-owner. I’m a wife. I don’t have the luxury of time to be in a play. The thought felt selfish and impossible. Not to mention the fear I had. Could I hack it? I was “good” in high school theatre, but was I worthy of being in a show that people paid good money to see?
But here I was, telling my daughter how easy it is to audition, so as a mom, it was only fair that I auditioned with her to do more than just ‘talk the talk’, and ‘walk the walk’ with her. I’m confident that I was more nervous the night we auditioned than she was.
We were both cast in the play, and for the last seven weeks, I feel like I’ve spent more time with my fellow cast members than my husband. My sink is full of dirty dishes (because of course my dishwasher broke in the middle of all of this) and laundry is piling up. But I’m loving it. I’m spending time with my daughter in this way, where we’re both putting ourselves out there every night, learning how to take constructive criticism, and meeting a whole new group of people in our community we might not have otherwise.
I share this with you, to encourage us all to step out of our comfort zones. “Adulting”, becoming a wife or mother or working woman, doesn’t mean that self-serving aspirations are frivolous. Being in this play has boosted my confidence, proving to me that “I’ve still got it,” and that’s valuable. I’ve noticed I’m being more assertive in business meetings, I have a little more pep in my step, and my mind is racing with what other things I might challenge myself to do. The value to my daughters should not be understated. They see me in a different light. Their mom can act. Their mom can sing. Their mom can dance. Their mom can put on a ridiculous amount of makeup and look like a character out of It’s a Wonderful Life.
So what’s your aspiration? What do you secretly want to do? What activity do you want to return to from your youth? It’s a worthy question, and deserving of an answer.