Sunday, April 5, 2009

in which I try to stay present

It's funny, people are often under the impression that I am very busy.

I'm not; I'm just not around. Unless, of course, you happen to be in Providence right now. Or Pittsburgh tomorrow. Or Chicago for the next three weeks after that.

The truth is that, for five days out of the week I am really not so busy. Just one show a day is a sweet schedule. It's not very hard in the sense that you do it once and it's over. Everything you do during the show you can check off your mental checklist as done for the day.

And for those of us who like to get things done, it's a really nice feeling.

But then comes Saturday morning and I start to feel like I am standing at the bottom of a mountain, looking up. And up and up and up. I have four shows to do in the space of two days. No matter how hard I try, how well I do, I simply have to do the same thing over again in a few hours.

And that is a tough one. It's a a crazy dichotomy; one whole half of my work week is squished into just two days. Four shows are danced upon the same two tired feet; I take my foot and touch it to the back of my head during my monologue four times; I "learn" the one's combination (over and over again, at that) four times; I sing badly four times...You get the picture.

So it's really hard to stay fresh by, say, the last show. The redundancy of what you are doing gets to you by then. And it can drive you a little crazy.

Which is why I try my hardest to stay present. Seriously, it is the only way to survive. If I go into the Saturday matinee thinking about all four shows looming over my head, I would be overwhelmed. Instead, I take it, quite literally, one step at a time.

First step, warm up for the show. No biggie. I've been doing this for years--stretching, doing some ballet barre, push-ups. I can do this; heck, it kind of even feels good. Then, yeah, make-up. I kind of like putting make-up on because it's like painting, or at least drawing. And I am not a painter, but I have, upon occasion, liked to draw. And when I get into costume at five before places, I am feeling ready to step onto that stage.

Because, that's the only thing being demanded of me imminently. Just walk on stage, nothing to it.

And so on and so forth. Do one thing at a time, throw myself into it, and the next thing seems to come of its own volition. And all the anticipation and anxiety melts away as I simply just do whatever it is I need to in the moment.

Which is also the way I try to live my life, rather than dreading whatever it is that's next. Or missing what is now simply because all I can think of is what is next.

But I will say I do cherish my Sunday nights and love the feeling that comes with a shiny brand new show-less Monday in the not too far future...


beingawesome said...

My favorite saying .. and I'm not sure if someone really cool came up with this.. or it will be the one moment of my life where I can appear to be profound...


"Live in the now because if you concentrate on tomorrow, you'll end up with a whole lot of yesterdays"

Jessica Latshaw said...

I'll toss my vote in on you sounding profound;-)

Karenkool said...

You don't forget to breathe right? I always (lately) have to remember to breathe... now matter what it is I'm heading into.

I want to see you perform!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Yes-breathing is so important!!

And thanks-I wanna see you perform, too:)

Emily said...

Nothing like a real, live day off!!!! no matter what it is you do all week....