Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Slow and Steady or the Actor Prepares

Three months ago I was having dinner with my Grandma. It was a few weeks after she had seen one of my performances in one of the musicals I was in this summer. We were talking about the show she had seen, what she enjoyed, and what she thought of my performance. During this conversation my Grandma made the comment, “You should look into that Christian theme park in Florida. I saw an ad on tv and they were looking for actors a couple months ago. You’re really good.”

This comment might not seem like much but coming from my Grandma to me, this comment was huge. I’ve known since I was in the first grade that I wanted to be an actor. That’s when I was cast in my first show. Since that time I’ve struggled with my desires and the gifts I have, and tempering those with other conflicting interests I have, as well with trying to remain a “productive” member of society. It’s not easy. It’s been a long journey for me and though I’ve taken a few detours, I have no regrets. I know who I am and though I can’t see the specifics and things rarely turn out as I expect, I have a general direction of where I’m headed. To the standards of the world, it might not seem like much, but for me it is enough.

Along this journey there have been a great many people who have stood in the way. Most of these people are loving family members and friends who just can’t understand me or the path I’m following. I don’t exactly fit any patterns or stereotypes very well and this confuses them. Over time, most of these people have come around to an understanding or at least an acceptance of the path I’m on. Until that night at dinner, my Grandma was not one of those people. She knew about my desires to entertain, knew I was talented, knew acting, or writing and now directing, were something that provided me great joy and fulfillment. However, to her it didn’t seem to make any sense that a person would want to do those things as opposed to “living a normal life”.

That night at dinner I realized that my Grandma had finally come around. It took years, but after the umpteenth show she saw, I guess she finally realized that I had what it takes given the opportunity I might one day succeed at it, even according to the standards of the world. That meant the world to me.

I’m not exactly where I’m headed, but that’s okay. The tortoise beat the hare by being slow and steady and it took almost fifty years but Charlie Brown eventually did hit a homerun. I’m just going to keep plugging away and taking advantage of those opportunities when they present themselves. Until then, the actor prepares and the writer writes.

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