It’s after midnight, and in a few short hours, I will once again begin a full semester of classes as a ‘returning college student’.
I have been a fully passionate lover of all things learning, school, artistry and the like for as long as I can remember. The first time around in college I ate, breathed, slept and dreamt singing, acting, and dancing as I pursued a performing degree. As the years went by, I couldn’t seem to successfully complete my Mathematics requirement. (Translation: numbers and I have never been friends. College Algebra should NOT take multiple attempts to pass–THREE times, people, three times!)
I jumped ship on my tenacity to finish my degree, and happily accepted my first performing touring gig in a musical–after all, I justified, THAT was what I was there for in the first place, right?! I was embarrassed, and frustrated, and saddened at the fact of leaving before I was finished, but being the starving artist that I was, I couldn’t exactly swing relocating back to the land of Oz to cough up the money to get my collegiate piece of paper, much to my chagrin. When I thought I was going to be able to complete my degree a few more years down the line, I was even accepted to a masters graduate program in musical theatre, pending the completion of my degree! Needless to say, that didn’t happen…
All this ranting and raving is to say that I have been given the pure privilege of being able to finish what I started all those years ago this past year when my husband and I relocated back to my home state for his job. Suddenly the possibility of a musical theatre degree completion was staring me in the face, and I had the pleasure to meet it’s direct gaze head on, as I signed on to complete a year’s worth of courses to obtain my ever illusive degree.
Last spring’s course load of 18+ hours was exhilarating, exhausting, and much more difficult than I had anticipated. I loved most every glorious minute of it–despite my panting, overweight, underprepared body’s cries of pain after long dance classes, or blurred vision and hand cramps after hours of notetaking in my night class.
When I was younger, I was thin, fit, tenaciously ambitious, and driven with a mighty fire in my belly to be a performer at all costs. While aspects of that drive were good and most helpful to my career, the sad, insecure and lost parts of my self were crying out for acceptance and love–which I suppose one could argue either made me a better artist, or perhaps just an insecure one.
Coming back to school this past year has made me face those inner demons–the ones I know for sure I have finally conquered thru years of healing and divine grace (and perhaps a therapy session or two). Also the ones I didn’t even realize I still fight–moments of fear and doubt that rear gargoyle heads and take me by surprise. The tough skin I thought I grew unflappable through years of auditioning and rejection suddenly gives way as I question things I thought I already knew. I hate finding myself every so often slightly swayed by that inner voice that cares too much about what other people think.
The beauty of these experiences is the reminder that the learning, the growing, the stretching and creating never stops in this life journey. The dread, worry and fear of not being enough doesn’t disappear with age.
But the BEAUTY is that this gift of opportunity that lies before me in the yellow bricks beginning the road of tomorrow is a path I need only approach with joy! My incessant need to instantly worry and fret is simply not needed, and worse yet, it’s detrimental to my growth. As I bask in the warmth and closeness of my loved ones, sit in the stillness in prayer, and prepare for the week’s upcoming zany schedule, I am given the reminders I need.
Replacing truth for the fears is simply the only answer that makes sense. And if I don’t always get it right, it’s the thing to practice day in and day out. Peace for worry. Delight for drudgery, and yes, most definitely instead of dread…Inspiration.(linking today with Michelle and Ann)