Yes, I love my art. I love finding that great song that when you sing it makes you happy/free/angry/mournful/loved/in love/fun/anything else. I love when a piece of choreography comes together and the emotion and the movement just flow out of your body and lets those watching feel what you want them to feel. I love finding that monologue or scene that you can really sink your teeth into, scream and cry and make people laugh. I love getting up on a stage and showing everyone a creation that I have taken and made my own, and allowing them to forget, for a while, the mundaneness that surrounds us.
I love all of these things. Very much so. I am passionate about them. But I am not obsessed.
If I never sing another song, or dance another dance, or act another piece, I will be upset; I will mourn. But I will not die. I will move on. Because there are other things that make me ME.
It all suddenly became crystal clear to me this morning. I drove back to school to attend my classes, and sitting there, amongst my peers, listening to my teacher, it hit me: I DON'T CARE. I looked at myself, sitting there in that classroom, and I looked at the dozen or so people sitting around me and realized that those people were here because they were going to do this for the rest of their lives. And I thought: "This is not where I want to be."
I saw myself as I appeared to my classmates: meek, timid, unsure, quiet, shy. I did not like that impression. Being in Springfield, being in school in these classes, learning these things, is supposed to be one of the better parts of my life--something that would carry me through my career. But it's not the best; it's not even mediocre. In fact, I hate it. I hate it a lot. This place, this education--it makes me feel stupid, and awkward, and ugly, and untalented. AND I AM NONE OF THOSE THINGS. NONE OF THEM.
I will admit it freely: I have been on anti-depressants for a long time. I have tried taking the pills, not taking the pills, upping the dosage, lowering the dosage, everything. And nothing has really worked. And now I know why. There is nothing wrong with me; it's my environment that needs to change.
I don't want to put up with all the stress and rejection that goes hand in hand with having an unpredictable career field. I would like to know that every two weeks, I am going to get a predictable paycheck, that I'm going to be able to eat the next day, pay bills the next month, raise children without resorting to questionable work ethics or activities. So maybe it's dull and boring. I'm okay with that.
I've become stunted in the past few years. Maybe not physically (come on, no short jokes) but mentally, emotionally, and most especially, spiritually. I feel disconnected and abstract, and while this feeling is useful at times, it can be wearing and detrimental at others.
I'm not really sure why I had this revelation today. Maybe it was that I was comparing the Weekday myself to the weekend Carlye, and I didn't like the picture it was portraying.
This past weekend, I was HAPPY. For the whole 48+ hours I was at Faire, I was smiling, I was laughing, I felt pretty and alive and needed and FREE. And I come back here, back to Springfield and school and stress and loneliness, and I feel none of that. It was as if this weekend, I had painted myself in bold, vibrant jeweltones, and played in stereo, and now I'm merely drab greys and muted pastels, working out of a tinny old one-speaker radio.
So I'm done. No, I won't drop out of school. I've worked too long, and too hard to leave now, and I know that even though I may never use my degree, it would be much better if I had it than if I didn't. But I'm done. I think I've known it for a while. I am completely unmotivated, lackadaisical, and totally lazy. I know I'm doing just enough to get by. But I will get by, and I will go on to next semester, and I WILL get my degree, damn it. But as for a career on stage? Forget it.
Don't get me wrong. I don't plan on giving up on my art. I still want to audition for the Heartland Theatre, and the New Dinner Theatre, and while I'm at it, why not Theatre in the Park and the Community Theatres as well? (Hell, they pay a lot better than Target anyway.) But this is not what I want to do with my life.
"So what DO you want to do with your life, Carlye?" Well, I don't know, honestly. What I would like to try doing is going to graduate school and getting some sort of degree in psychology. Not really sure which field; I've always been fascinated with abnormal psychology, but I don't want to be a shrink of any kind. What I'd REALLY like to do is what I've been doing unofficially for several of you: give advice. And most of all, listen and reassure. Maybe some sort of relationship counselor? It's what I'm good at; oh, to hell with modesty, it's what I'm VERY good at. Maybe not as good as some (nods to Denise) but good enough that I've managed to pull a few insights out of who-knows-where that surprised me and the person I was talking to with the appropriateness. It's something I can do that will actually HELP people. I'm an Empath; it's what we do.
So I'm done. Finished. Moving on to a different path. Maybe I'll do something crazy, like go on the road with RenFests or decide to open a shop. Who knows? But whatever it is, it will be something that makes ME HAPPY. (And hopefully some money as well.)