Finding my Post-Apocalyptic Peace
The world did not end yesterday, making possible at least three weddings and two performances in my path. Today brought a long day sprinkled with filming, choreography, singing, posing, robing and disrobing, all to prepare for another day of the same and two performances of Sarah Small’s Tableau Vivant. I can’t wait to sleep tonight. The only portion of this week I await more passionately? Tuesday night, after the second performance and the fourth aria, after singing for the VIP vault event, when I get to relax with my incredible friends and have a drink.
Although I imagine that my dear friends Matt and Liz felt the same way before their wedding yesterday, as likely will all three couples participating in the wedding portion of our two tableaux, such a step in one’s relationship requires as much courage as singing nude, alone and in front of an audience. In my recent history, I’ve grown to accept my marriage to my career, a commitment to which I’ve felt drawn since birth. Among other pursuits of mine (like participating in Tableau Vivant), friends, family, and strangers have asked so many questions surrounding this passion that sometimes I feel overwhelmed, as if my silly head might spin itself off and away from their doubts and my fears.
Despite the sometimes good intentions of those inquiring, questions such as “Why aren’t you singing solos at the Met,” “Doesn’t it make you nervous to…,” “Don’t you feel like you should get more compensation,” “You’re so busy, why don’t you have more time for…,” and “Why don’t you try doing this other job on the side, since you do it so well?” frankly, make me want to scream sometimes. All performers also deal with the pressures of other artists and industry professionals working beyond our fiscal or physical boundaries and have to constantly draw our lines and weigh the benefits of the product and experience with the inevitable trials that affect someone within the process. Some seem to handle these pressures brilliantly and easily; others quit the business.
After months of drawing few and often last-minute and therefore less successful and more stressful boundaries, I have learned some incredible lessons in sanity and personal integrity. First and foremost, the word “yes” works best when never used against one’s own judgment and instinct. More than about just wanting to please others, I struggle most trying to make sure everyone understands me. I really do care, work hard, want to help, and want everyone with whom I work to know that. No wonder I feel stressed, trying to control others’ ability to empathize with me, an actor, opera singer, puppeteer, nude model, ex-conservative divorced woman living alone in the city and preferring it that way!
As I smile to myself writing this post on the subway, I feel oddly like one of the sane ones today. I’ve decided to let go of how others perceive the articles by Huffington Post writer Daniel J. Kushner, part one and part two, from which I have discovered my tendency to say “like” far too much. I do not know what tomorrow will bring (aside from a long day and exciting tableau performance), but I finally! accept that I can not control the outcome. Magically I seem to breathe more deeply, letting go of my drive to make everyone “get” or accept me. I can’t wait for tomorrow. This tableau promises to surprise even the performers in its many but honest intricacies. If you have any interest or curiosity in seeing this completely unique artform live, I recommend buying your tickets now for tomorrow or Tuesday, in advance. General admission tickets especially have increased sharply in sales since our listings in Time Out NY and the New York Times, and I’d love for you to experience it. If you find such an eclectic and exposed medium uncomfortable, offensive, or not your cup of tea, I’m okay with that… Well, at least I’m working on it. Finally.