For performing artists (and most people, I believe), social media serves as a highlight reel for our lives. We usually only share the best performances, largest crowds and cutest outfits.
We (usually) don't show the performances where we flub our lines, or the times we perform to an almost-empty room (my smallest audience ever? TWO people).
Well, I wanted to share something very raw with all of you.
Last Friday, I attended the funeral of one of my closest friends. I spent most of the day (and a good part of the entire week) crying. I am absolutely heartbroken over her death, she was only 50 years old and still had so much to do in this life! Any time I cry excessively, I also usually get sick and lose my voice. So of course I ended up with a sinus and ear infection after crying so much.
When I signed up to tell a story on 3/31 at the MOuTH at the Mark Twain House & Museum a few weeks ago, I didn't know the event would fall on the same day we would be laying my friend to rest. Who could have known? But if I say I am going to do something, I am determined to do it. So, after spending the day at her wake, funeral, graveside service and repast, I went home and got myself together so I could drive an hour away to tell my story.
I always practice whenever I am driving to a performance, and as I rehearsed on my way to CT, I realized my voice was leaving! I thought about turning around and driving back home. But I heard Tracy's voice in my head saying "Do it Anyway." So I did.
And I am so glad I went.
I was able to spend 90 minutes listening to stories about first bikes and winning $10,000 in a cookie competition. The theater was packed with people who tell stories and those who enjoy hearing them. I left the Mark Twain House feeling refueled and full of joy.
What did this teach me?
When we are feeling our lowest, just look up. Look for a friend, an open mic, an ice cream partner or a loved one you can talk to. It’s okay to grieve! Just don’t let your grief stop you from doing the things you love to do.
Mama. Wife. Poet. Teacher. Maniac.