Exit stage left

We have talked about so much the last couple of days (quite the miracle – the telephone – weeks of chat in just a few hours, imagine!).  You keep going into the Room of Very Bad Things and pulling out boxes at which I do not want to look.

Today what hurt the most was theatre. I know I often mention music or singing. (You’re very probably sick of hearing about it.) I’m sure you know how important those things are to me. I’m pretty sure you don’t know why. I’m hoping I can explain this well enough to help you understand.

You have significant difficulty with me not hearing compliments; Not believing the qualities that you see in me. I’m certain you have noticed that I don’t rebuff compliments about my voice. It is the one thing of which I have always been sure. As a child, singing  at the front of the room in choir would silence the bullies for a few brief minutes. It is the only part of me that has never been degraded, shamed, or stolen from me.

When I perform, I am not afraid of being judged and found lacking. It doesn’t happen. It is the one part of my life that has been consistently good for me. So today when you asked me about performing, it brought back the day a couple of years back, when I looked at the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf full of sheet music and decided that it was too painful to look at anymore. I packed it up and put it in storage. It felt like I was discarding a piece of my spirit that I would never get back.

I stopped performing because the constant arguments about rehearsal schedules, performing and baby sitters were damaging my marriage. Walking the boards was the one part of myself that I had managed to maintain after I had LM. It was life affirming for me. Though I couldn’t stay after rehearsal to play with the cast, I still got to be around adults and have some semblance of a life.

I could not have performing and marriage, in the same way I could not have motherhood and submission. I made the same choice. I chose my family over myself. It was the right thing to do but it also took away the last thing I did for myself that made me happy.

You asked me if I will go back. I told you how I feel. What I didn’t say is that I’m not sure if I can. This brain damage leaves holes in my memory, as you have seen, especially under stress, fatigue, or heightened emotion. You have been involved in productions. You understand the stress and exhaustion that overtakes the cast during production week. I don’t know if my memory can withstand it. I try not to think about walking on stage and suddenly having holes in the music, holes in the story, holes in the choreography. I don’t know if I can handle having this one area of my life where I exude confidence destroyed in that way. If I do go back, I believe I would have to take a background role simply to see if I am able. If.

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