Friday, January 13, 2023

Take Up Space

Many of the most important people in my life have I met through a shared passion for the performing arts. People who need people. I hear we're the luckiest.

But I spend a lot of time overcoming the humiliation for wanting my art to be seen and heard. There's no one thing I can point to that caused the shame I battle for a CALLING TO TAKE UP SPACE. Introvert, extrovert, I mean we all have to VERT.

Back in the day, I knew I had some extremes in my anxieties, but there was a particular time, I would just FREEZE. I mean you NEVER stop the scene in a performance. Here we all are driving down the road and I'm a tire that just rolls off. It was disconcerting.

I followed @lukeleonard and his recommendation to audition to work with Joe Chaikin and @nancygabor and @waynemaugans. Life altering. I hadn't really admitted or acknowledged my increasing jitters, but they appeared at the audition, and exponentially during class.

Imposter Syndrome for my membership in the species.

The class became a tribe and a haven. And even though Joe had aphasia towards the end of his life, I never once saw him stop. He had the ability to say things with laser-precise clarity, curiosity, passion, and a deep desire to connect. His presence was overwhelming--alarming. His dialogue would often be a single word. It was all you needed.

I have a tape cassette that I keep on my desk that Joe gave me after a particularly rough day. Joe's art thrived from the humanity of humans. Perfection was the most imperfect thing you could do to your work. He really wanted you to just...bring YOU when you showed up to the story.

On both sides of the tape he wrote one word the label.


I'm still not sure I am capable of what that looks like to most, but at that time, I was at a point when I wanted to stop myself forever. Roll my tire into a ditch without so much as a "go on without me!" 

You never know what ONE word can do. I have many I regret. Many I've stuttered. Daily I realize just how grateful I am for all who find ways to help each other share their art, their love, their calling. Thank you to the supporters who say, "KEEP GOING! Don't stop! You can do it! YOU HAVE A LOVE! YOU HAVE A CALLING!! TAKE UP SPACE!!!"

 Ok, Jennifer. Relax.

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