I awoke this morning with a huge grin on my face, and not because I made mad passionate love to a Czech stranger last night. Unfortunately. I was smiling because I found myself singing along to Elton John’s “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart”…! Someone was playing it in the courtyard outside the window. My toes wiggled and my shoulders did a little shimmy in the bed under the covers as I laughed and enjoyed the absurdity of hearing this classic on a sunny Saturday morning in Praha.
Today is my last show here at Prague Fringe Festival and I’m sad to let the experience go. Don’t go breakin’ my heart, Fringe! The Fringe itself is run beautifully; the people and performers I’ve met have been top notch and super supportive of one another, It has been divine. This Fringe means more than all of that; this performance is the first time I’ve appeared on stage by myself. I have no one else to rely on, no one else to blame, no one else to worry about, no one else to work with on stage except myself. I was nervous to do it! No, let’s be real, I was very, very afraid. I fought everyday with myself like bullies scrapping for turf just to enjoy the experience fully from the moment the idea was presented to me. And when I got tired of fighting with myself, that fight transcended into being angry about stupid shit, like the Dollar Store not having chicken pot pies. But what was I afraid of…exactly?
I’m many hyphenates in my career: actor/singer/dancer and I’m a producer as well. Last year, I had countless productions where as a producer, (which for me, turns into a care-giving parental role), I worry: did I remind an actor to bring their costume, do I have all four Brown Bettie stilettos, do I need to sew a hole in a bustier, did I remember to put a donor’s name on the VIP list, did I remember that certain prop I said I would bring…did I did I did I, do I do I do I….I’ve learned that when I’m in producer-mode, I take on too much responsibility…because I feel responsible for everything and everyone.
But this show was for me. No more of worrying about anyone else. With no “worry” or attachment for others, there was a hole. And guess who was responsible for filling it? Me. That was scary. And it had to be done. I knew this as I told friends and colleagues I was leaving the states. Each time I released this truth (which often accompanied a downpour of strange tears), that I was essentially leaving them behind, I shed a layer or responsibility, a duty to their art, to their time on stage, to their success. Even though I produce shows I’ve written and created, and their success should be and ultimately is my success as well, my energy and drive goes toward their needs because I feel I owe them something. An unknown, outstanding debt I can’t pay. I give them more than myself. I give them too much and there is nothing left for me. Why I do this, I don’t know yet. Perhaps I don’t believe my self deserves to be fed. Perhaps I like to starve.
“Were they too looking for the wind to fill them with something other than the life they were living? Harlem thought this as she stepped into a sliver of shade and stood perfectly still like a life-sized kite waiting for her own gust.” – Harlem’s Awakening
Last night, while on stage, I rejoiced in the pure feeling of knowing that the stage was mine. It was mine to light up, to lift up…every step I took was my story and it WAS because I was reading MY story book. (How much more amazing can life get?) I relished in the moments. Winked from within and shared all of me, with finesse. Allowed the spotlight to be mine and I soooo glowed in it.
Back in acting class, in New York, at Black Nexxus, my instructor, Susan, would tell me to use my beauty as an instrument. She would reprimand me for not using my beauty as a flourish of my brush on a canvas. Back then, I just didn’t see the paint on the brush. Or maybe I just didn’t know where the pot of paint was. Last night, I believe I found the paint. I didn’t just paint with it, I think I actually ate it! And I felt full.
“He deciphered that her quiet demeanor could speak the language of beauty when it was allowed to speak.” – Harlem’s Awakening
I moved from Chicago to New York to be a singer. I started acting. I moved from New York to Los Angeles to act. I started writing. I came to Prague to find myself. So I guess, now, I’ll just start.
This is a Blog to Prague. A Journey in Self-Discovery because I am still learning about myself. We all are. I’m happy for this journey. Even when I’m fighting to take every step.