Saturday, April 21, 2012

Off the beaten path...

Okay, departure from the norm today.

Thus far pretty much every post has been alternately gushing over or venting about my sweet, wonderful, amazing little monkey of a baby boy.

Today I'm gonna write about me. Fair warning, this is not going to be my standard G-rated post. It will be long, it will ramble, and it probably won't make much sense. There will be angst, there will be swearing, and the nasty melodramatic side of my bipolar brain is about to take the stage for the next thirty minutes while the baby sleeps.

I am a mom.  But before I was a mom, I was an opera singer.  An actress.  A dancer.  (A fat one, but a dancer none the less.)  And I miss it.  I miss it so bad my teeth hurt.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade what I have now for anything in the world.  No amount of money, fame, fortune, or stage time would ever be equal to the life that now stretches before me.

But there are still things I wish I had done, opportunities I'm pissed I didn't get to take, and things I am bloody well GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE.

One of them is shed this damn weight.  But that's an "along the way" sort of goal.  Because if it's a "required to get started" sort of goal, I'll never sing again.  I have performance wear that fits just fine at my current two hundred and twenty pounds, all the way down to stuff that fits at my "I liked how I looked then" weight of one hundred and sixty.  Yes, that's right, I fessed up to real numbers.  Because shying off the truth never got me anywhere but slowly getting heavier and heavier, and it has to stop because I'm putting my long term health in serious jeopardy being this fat.

I hate how I look.  I hate being fat.  I HATE knowing that there is one damn company in the country that regularly makes things I look good in, and they don't even do lingerie or formal wear.  I'm frankly disgusted by what I see in the mirror most of the time.  And it pisses me off, because I know that I CAN look amazing.  I've done it, even at this weight.

The problem is that it always surprises me when I pull it off.  When everything pulls together and I look in the mirror and see a beautiful, sexy woman, the kind of gal I would watch walk down the street, I have to stare for a minute just to be sure that it's me.  Because most of the time, I don't feel beautiful, or sexy.  I don't even feel pretty.  I count myself lucky to look in the mirror and consider the results presentable.

Okay, the point of that rabbit trail was that I miss the stage, and my weight has been a major factor holding me back, because of the way I look at this weight.  Well, screw it.  Fat people get into the finals on talent shows every freaking year.  If you're good enough, people stop caring that you could stand to lose the odd pound or sixty.  I miss what I do, and singing lullabies for the baby is starting to be a painful hourly reminder that I'm not doing it anymore.  So item one is to start singing something other than the Baby Nolan Lullaby Medley and get some of my old repertoire back into practice, even if my vowels have gotten lazy and I need to stand against a wall for a while to remind my body what proper posture feels like.

Another large contributor to my lack of stage time since college was the fact that we moved to the middle of BFE Nowhere pretty much the day I graduated.  Was it my choice?  Absolutely.  Would I make the same choice again, given the same circumstances, and knowing what I know now?  Probably, but I might steer us toward somewhere with a little more culture.  Maybe an actual theatrical community.  Some decent restaurants.  A museum or two.  And guess what?  We no longer live in said BFE Nowhere.  We're back in "the big smoke", as a dear friend in Australia put it recently. So that excuse for being a house-mouse is gone.

Next problem: I'm having some serious agoraphobia issues since we got back here. I realized the other day that I haven't even sat in the the driver's seat of my own car since we arrived on the third of November. I get out of the house for the baby's doctor visits and whenever we need groceries, John's available, and the baby isn't close to a nap. And I'm scared to, honestly. I've never lived anywhere with double-decker freeways before. We moved here from a town with a grand total population of roughly twelve thousand residents, about four stop lights, and two freeway exits, and I managed to get lost THERE on a fairly regular basis.  Took me six months to find the damn library.  Thus, item number two is next time John has a day off, JJ can hang with Grandma (that's what I've been pumping and freezing milk for, right?), and I'm going to go get lost a few times so I can figure out how to get to where I'm going from wherever I happen to be.

Problem number three is that I still don't know what there IS around here for amateur performers.  I've honestly had my fill of church choirs and backwoods "it's just for fun" performing groups.  Nothing wrong with either of those, but I'm looking for something with a bit more... a bit more at stake, if that makes any sense at all.  A bit more to lose if things go pear-shaped after the curtain rises.  An audience that won't clap just because they know you and it's polite.

I don't want to be famous.  Never really did want that world.  SAID I did, oh, did I ever spout that I had plans.  But when I was fifteen and said I wanted that world, what I meant was that I wanted the power that I thought came from having obscene amounts of money and being a household name in your chosen profession.

I've learned a few things in the last decade or so.  Like the fact that the sort of power I wanted, the power to say of my life "this is what will be" and make it happen, that power doesn't come from money, or fame, or even from catching the breaks and making every last one of your dreams come to pass.  Nope, that comes from inside, and you either have it or you don't, and if you don't, there's nobody can fix that but you.

All I want, as a performer, is stage time.  I couldn't care less if that stage time happens in the heart of Broadway or a small community theatre.  (As long as that small community theatre has decent lighting, manageable acoustics, and a passionate and dedicated group of people who are just as obsessed with the final product as I am! :P)  I will be quite as happy (probably happier) with a regular set in a jazz bar as I would be on a tour bus doing nightly concerts and never getting enough sleep.  I never wanted to be famous.  I wanted to make a home and raise babies, and make a little money doing what I love along the way.

And damnit, those are NOT mutually exclusive goals.

It seems like it today.

But it's not.

#1 - Sing, woman.   And I mean something other than lullabies.  Dig out your recital stuff if you can't think of anything better.  You're good.  You never stopped being good.  The people that stop and stare and look around for the radio when they hear you calming your son should be enough to convince you of the truth of that reality.  And your back will thank you for the return to good posture on a regular basis.

#2 - Learn your way around this freaking huge-ass city.  If... no... WHEN you get back on the audition circuit, you're going to need to be able to get to and from without your husband playing chauffeur.

#3 - Google is your friend.  Do some searching, find out what there is for amateur performers within an hour or so's drive, and start getting ready, because once this kid starts to crawl and doesn't need to eat every two hours anymore, you're going to have enough time to get seriously stir crazy if you don't have plans in place to keep your creative side occupied.

Okay... I feel a little better.

Not much.

But a little.


  1. So much I'd like to say but so few words express what I would mean, so to keep it short and simple. RUN GIRL RUN! Take every chance you can and live life to make yourself happy. Gifts like your voice deserves to be used.

  2. You go on the weight-loss!! I'm working (not very hard at the moment) on that as well.. If you have a phone that will download apps, look up the app called Lose It! It helps you keep track of your food intake (calories) and gives you a limit and goals to work for. It's been interesting trying to get control over my eating habits (i.e. IT SUCKS! LOL) but I think once I have it down I can start working on exercising more.. anyway, just wanted to say don't give up! :)

    Joy (from Rawlins!)