Wednesday, October 05, 2011

One Year Later

Summer sunlight
glitters on the water.

Sweet colors of fall
drift down and land
on my new woodpile.

Winter is full of snow
and cold, but inside
the woodstove glows.

Then spring again
Our lives pass away.

It's been one year since I quit my professional job, and to be a self-employed actor, writer, speaker and... nanny.

One year.

One year ago, I wrote this blog which began... "the day my job ended, I flew to Disney World..."
And one year later, I flew back. I ran/walked my second 5K through animal kingdom (and as this year I was prepared, I ran as the Red Queen of Hearts from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland).

However, I passed on the offer to yet again run 5 miles later that evening as part of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Relay. I gave explicit instructions to Sam and Lynnette to protect me should my adrenaline rush or any euphoria from the Magic Kingdom delude me into agreeing to do so (because I knew the Davidsons would play paper/rock/scissors for who would run that night and I knew I'd get volunteered!). While Lindley seemed less enthused about her run this year in the kids races (I guess Disney isn't always the "happiest" place on earth), the rest of the weekend was a blast and I love spending time with the oogly Ogles and the definitely a little cray cray Davidson family. Thanks again guys for including me in your family reunion. Being adopted by families is the best.

One year ago to gain steady (ahem) income I began nannying for one of my best friends who had beat cancer just a few months earlier... so we thought. But cancer's a bitch, and it came back with a vengeance as you may remember. One year later though and my friend beat cancer a second time and survived her bone marrow transplant and just last week (Wednesday Sept 28th to be exact) she found out that her scans were clean! I gave her a necklace that evening that I'd bought for her with wishful thinking at the Pecan Street Festival the Sunday before. It read, "I Kicked Cancer's Ass." Awesome. And she did.

One year ago I got my first boyfriend (you knew it was coming) since I don't know, like 2008. He was pretty swell, and I did love him dearly. Relationships are hard though, and one year later, we were done with that one. (Yes, I kept the nose ring).

One year ago I began auditioning in and around Austin to begin pursuing an acting (dare I say it?) career. At my second audition I was cast as Eva Peron in Evita, at my seventh audition, I was cast in the chorus of Stop the World I Want to Get Off at my first professional theatrical performance since 1997, and at my twentieth audition, I was cast as Amalia in She Loves Me which opens November 18th with the Wimberley Players. Theater is hard work and despite multiple callbacks, several "we hope to work with you in the future," and even one "wow, you have a wonderful voice, now could you sing that again and pretend to be a gazelle being chased by a lion," 17 rejections is still a lot of rejections. Fortunately, I've been doing theater for over 26 years (my first voice-over was for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest when I was six years old). And I've directed, produced, and choreographed multiple shows in those 29 years and I know that not being cast is (usually) nothing personal. The director has a vision, and you either fit it or you don't. So I keep looking to mesh my dream with someone else's... and three times in one year, that happened. I consider myself a pretty lucky woman.

One year ago I committed myself to more writing, more speaking, more... creating. I called it Operation Strange Bird and since then, I started an author fan page on Facebook (please *like* me!). I flew to Santa Fe to officiate my best friend's wedding. I flew to Colorado and wrote a book (which I promptly decided was horrible). And I flew to Guatemala to speak at a pastor's conference in Queltzaltenango (funded entirely by Crazy Carol Pittman, the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Guatemalan Baptist Convention) about art & faith (feel free to read my notes on storytelling and claiming beauty). It was an amazing (if short) trip and I learned so much and met some freaking amazing like the little girl whose toes were eaten off by rats. I wrote almost every day for 30 days taking the Trust Me Ralph Waldo Emerson challenge. I started writing more openly about my view on politics especially with regard to it's interaction with the church and religion. I preached at a church here in Austin (read the sermon if you want), and October 26 & 27 I will preach at my Alma mater, William Jewell College! I sang at a gala and in churches and for funerals and was hired to officiate a second wedding via a "need a minister?" website reference. I met with a very gifted Internet guru who people would have paid thousands of dollars to get an audience with to talk about a Strange Bird website. All in all, while no one is beating down my door to hear me preach or dying to front me money for a book deal, I am making progress. Baby steps, they say.

In the past year, I've gone home to Missouri four times. Wow! (Thanksgiving, Christmas, for my vacation and when my grandpa got sick). And I'll be home again in a few weeks (when I speak at Jewell) and again at Christmas. I LOVE MY FAMILY! Going home is awesome. I wish everyone could do it more often.

To help pay the mortgage (because nannying, acting, and preaching aren't terribly lucrative), I rented out my second bedroom, thank goodness, because the month I quit my job, my roommate told me she was moving back to Houston. This was great for her, but scary timing for me. Since then I've welcomed three more amazing women to 5406 (and had to say goodbye too) and one year later (tomorrow in fact), two more roomies will move in (I hope they like Halloween!...).

Like you, I said goodbye to a decade, and on 1-1-11 I remembered the past and I mondo beyondo-ed the future. I learned how to live life apart from the church and the church learned to live without me :) In general, I wrote a little and thought a lot. I had very little money and just enough money. I gave much away (mostly books) and took much in (mostly beauty). My faith has broadened as the less secure I felt, the more I depended on God. And my friends, well, I made lots of new ones: Hildreth, Wendy, Taylor, Angela... and I was reminded that sometimes you get by with a little help from friends, and sometimes... with a lot of help. Thank you Chris & Michelle, Lynnette & Sam, Cathy & Ken, Josie & Jay, Jane & Bill, and Bethany, Amy, Melanie, Nicolette, and all the others...

What a year, one year later.

("Our Lives Pass Away" by David Budbill)

1 comment:

Naomi said...

I love you. It's been a crazy but wonderful year.