The day I fell in love, I was only 12 years old, in a hot, stuffy school auditorium in those stiff, scratchy seats. The noise of people talking and whispering collided around me but then deafened in silence as the lights above dimmed and died. Then the explosion came, the collision of light, sound, and the stage being born into a world that was dark moments before.
My cousin’s dance recital started, but I couldn’t tell you a single thing she did, what she wore, or how she did it. Ask me instead about the stage. Ask me about the collection of lights that moved and shifted shades so delicately – it was art. Ask me about the set; the dancers moved around watching trees come and go, rivers form, hills, and flowers bloom before me. That was the day I fell in love with stagecraft.
Once high school started, it was the only class I would show up early and stay late for. I would come in on the weekend and skip parties to build a new world on that stage. But not long after, my life changed in ways you might read about in a tragic story. You know the kind; a sweet naive kid falls in love with a poisonous snake. I was 17 when I had my child and had to go to a different school and couldn’t even look at the stage. The stage was my life, but this was my new one, motherhood and surviving my snake. Once the snake was gone and the child was mine, I moved and wondered what to do now. Could I keep doing stage? Can stage provide for a child and me? What would my future be? Maybe I should find a job or a love in a more stable position in life. How could I? How could I leave my first true love to die without me? Fuck it, let’s leap back to that love, my first deep loving desire to build and create worlds! I will struggle, fight, scrape, cling to the one passion in my life and not let it fly by me. I love this stage, and if that means I live with my family till I’m 25, then damn it, I will. I will raise my child and grow my knowledge and strength so that one day that stage.
That beautiful blank slate of life will be mine to create whatever my heart demands to be made. When my child is old enough to wonder about their beginning, they will know they never once held me back but instead pushed me. Pushed me to chase my dream harder than ever, and maybe it will inspire him to do the same.