Sunday, December 6, 2015

Art Above All

Months have gone by and I've been trying to force myself to sit down and write to you all. But I haven't been able to. My life has been tumultuous and messy. And for the first time ever, I did not include everyone in the drama that unfolded. I kept my mouth shut. I was lucky enough to have friends who have taken care of me. But it's not been easy to ask for this help. Or to speak about the damage that's been done to me mentally and emotionally. When I feel this threatened, I shut down. I rally the wagon trains in a circle around myself and let only a select few in. I now realize however, that I have closed off everyone. I had stopped speaking to my mother, my sister, and my best friends. Facebook had basically become a non-existent entity. I have needed space.

I've moved to Brooklyn for the month, taking a sublet from one of the wonderful friends I made in Missouri (Roll Tide!) I had taken a job in a very stressful real estate attorney's office, and after a month, got a promotion to a paralegal position that is better-suited to my skills and ability. I have been lucky to have been so supported through this insanity. However, there has been one very big question mark that nagged me. Where was my art? My singing was non-existent; my writing so far away from my fingers.

I consulted with three people whom I consider mentors and friends; administrators in their chosen artistic fields and lives. I trusted them to see past my talent-level, yet keep in mind that I'm capable of artistry that many people would give up a limb for; a blessing and a curse. I knew that if I wasn't performing, perhaps finding a job in a theater would keep my happy. I started applying for artistic administrative positions. And then, as a fluke, sent in for two other national tours. And then booked one of them. And a decision had to be made. Give up the stability to be where I am happiest? Or stay in one place, be a financially responsible adult, and be completely miserable.

All I kept thinking was Art above all.

Is this statement supposed to be the one thing that defines my life? How am I supposed to be a stable adult, and still be happy as an artist? Am I capable of being an artist and an adult? (Kinda.)

When I first moved to New York, I told myself it would only be for a year - just to see what would happen. I promised myself that I would not fall into the 'working a full-time job' trap. The last time I did that in Chicago, I didn't sing for two years. I told myself that, as long as I was living in New York, I would not give up on my singing career. That I would push myself beyond what I knew I was capable of. And push I have. It's been three years of auditions and tours, unfamiliar cities, and the lulls in between shows that make life difficult.

As I spoke with my mother one afternoon, I said something out loud that I've never been able to admit before. I don't do this for the money. I never will. My life does not revolve around money as it does for many other people in this world. My world is my art. My singing. My writing. And that is frustrating to the people who care about me.

When I began to slowly make the announcement that I would again be hitting the road, I was not met with the usual excited and supportive comments from some family and friends. They want me to be stable. They want me to have a job and an apartment like most normal people do. They don't want to see my life in constant upheaval. And I understand their apprehension.

However, their negativity struck me. Hard. It's not as if I make any decision in my life lightly. I have been one step away from being homeless. I haven't had a real relationship in ten years (plenty of dating though). I haven't had a stable apartment...well, pretty much ever. But much of that is changing.

So I made the decision. I have taken another tour. Even though my resume doesn't necessarily need it. Even though I will be leaving many dear people behind. People that I don't want to leave. But I must. And I will return again in five months. And it will feel as though it's flown by. And the reunions will be all the more sweeter bc I will be exhausted and happy. I will be doing the one thing that fulfills me like no other. And that is all I want in life. Art above all. 

No comments:

Post a Comment