Sunday, June 10, 2012

Role Play

On Friday night, Gary and I went to see a play.  We have season tickets to a local playhouse and every few months, we get an automatic "date night".  This month, we went to dinner at the outdoor beer garden where we had our rehearsal dinner and then went to see the play.  The evening was a great way to celebrate some recent successes we have both had at work  and to get some always appreciated one-on-one time.

Dinner complete, we went to the theater and took our seats.  As the lights began to dim, the director came out on the stage to introduce the production.  The director was a familiar face to us as she has acted in some of the plays in the past. She addressed the audience by telling us to please turn off our cell phones, unwrap any candies and the usual run of the mill stuff.  As she started to address the crowd, she was fidgeting with her hands, tripping over a few of her words and she was unsure as to where to look so her eyes were darting all over the place.  

I immediately realized that she was out of her comfort zone and that she was super nervous.  I felt so badly for her, but I was not sure why.  And then it struck me.  When she was on that stage and playing a role, she was smooth and confident and convincing.  When she was standing there as herself, exposed and open, she was timid, shy and nervous.

Well, her actions got me thinking.  All weekend long, I could not stop thinking about the people we are in different situations.  Last June when I went back to work after my FMLA time was up, I had to play a role every single day and it was really a survival tactic for me.  If I was exposed and open all day long, I would be too raw to be able to make it through each day.  I became the best actress that has ever existed, if I do say so myself.

As time marched on, I realized that I had to act less and less.  With my family, there is no role to play.  My guard can be down and my heart exposed.  With my friends, I can cry openly and know that they will find napkins or tissues to hold my tears.  But at the grocery store or the nail salon or the variety of other places that I visit now and again, I am an actress who holds my head high and still plays a role of someone who does not know the pain of carrying a baby to term and yet never hearing her cry.  I am a woman who is a mother, but will never be able to tell you my baby's first word or how old she was when she first started to crawl or walk. 

I hope that by the performance on Saturday night, the director was less anxious and more comfortable in her own skin.  But selfishly, I hope for myself more - that I become more confident in who I am as Allie's mother that I can shed the role I play so often and allow my true self to emerge.  I think I am getting there.


  1. So true. I do feel like I have to "act" less now, but I still find myself turning red even anticipating a string of questions from a stranger. Sucks to have to act like things are fine when they are not :(

  2. I think we all deserve 'best actress' awards for all the acting we've had to do, especially in those first months and being back at work (for me, work is where I had to and occasionally still do feel like I am playing a role). It is exhausting though so I'm glad it's gotten better for you (and me!)


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