Monday, January 23, 2012

That Awkward Moment When...

I’m sure it won’t shock you to know that I was a very awkward teenager. High school was not my window of popularity or confidence, despite what it might look like I accomplished on paper I was a very annoying mixture of Hermione Granger, Anne of Green Gables, a little bit Patty Simcox and Sue Heck from that show “The Middle.” Always saying the wrong thing, raising my hand where I just should have probably sat there, even being the annoying voice reading the Pledge of Allegiance and the morning announcements. Or at least that's the way I look back on it. Maybe everyone feels like that a little bit.

But now, as an adult, I find…I’m pretty much equally awkward. I just mind it less. In sixth grade, I almost never mind it, because even at my most awkward, I still know that there is nothing on this green earth as awkward as a 12-year-old boy, so at least I’m still ahead of that game. And the girls are still just at the beginning of the cusp of caring what’s "cool," so most of them don’t mind me too much. And if they do, they tend to keep it to themselves. Kids are smart; I might not be perfect, but they know that spending a couple of hours a day with me is better than what they might have in another classroom, or in another school. So I do okay there.

In my high school, it’s different. I’ll be going along, directing something, staging a scene, feeling in the flow and focus of it all, and then *bam* … there it is, that awkward moment when your director just said “balls” by accident. And then snickered. Or today, when we were staging the scene that preceeds the Act One finale, and we had to have the conversation about how to “milk” the senior girl playing Milky White. I can’t ever handle things like that with coolness. I just can’t do it.

My students are kind, though, and I think generally that they all are just used to shaking their heads at me and forgiving me for being such a goofball. There is always that secret fear that someone is cell-phone-taping me, and there will someday emerge some website or facebook page or something that runs all of my ridiculous trip-overs on one of those auto-tune loops.

I’m only three weeks in, and this show has already won the prize of my Favorite Show Ever. The cast has already bonded, they are acting and sounding like an ensemble, and rehearsals feel productive, energetic, and joyful. It’s fun. AND it’s already excellent. How often does that happen? I hope everyone feels that at their job sometimes. No matter what their job might be. I hope that the surgeon sometimes feels that thrill of “I fixed him,” or that the counselor knows she’s given comfort and light, or the carpenter looks at a perfectly hung door and says, “I did that.” It feels so good to be the captain of a ship that's sailing toward Excellence. I feel both proud and humbled at the same time, just to get to be a part of it all.

I knew it would be like this, though. I absolutely knew, even a year ago, that if I did this show, right now, as my last show with this group, it would feel like this. It would turn out like this. The process, and the product. I’m doing very well at staying in the moment, and not getting myself knee deep in a well of sadness about losing them to graduation. I learned my lesson about that in my own senior year – I spent so much time worrying about the end of things that I didn’t enjoy the journey. Cinderella’s Prince has a line in response to Jack’s hysterical mother: “Worrying will do you no good.” It’s played for laughs, but honestly, I find it very poignant. Worrying will do you no good. I have a poster in my classroom that says, “Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength.” So, I am not worrying about tomorrow, or lamenting, or goodbye-ing before it’s time. I am just enjoying every day with this process, this music, these kids. I hope they are doing the same. They seem to be.

It's fun to be back to blogging. It's fun to have something to write about that inspires me as much as this does. I like having a focus, and a reason to write. Even in this long hiatus I had from blogging, I have been writing all the time. The more agitated I feel, the more I need to write. I am addicted to writing the same way some people get addicted to things like cutting themselves or, I guess, even drugs. That sounds psychopathic, but honestly, it's my therapy. If I don't journal, I get all twitchy and out of sorts. I have been hyper focused on my big Secret Project, and I am so boring, such a one-note Johnny about it all. I have to write it down so I don't bore my loved ones any more than I already do.

Despite the uncertainty of this time in my life, I can truly say that I am really happier right now than I have been in a very long time. And it seems to keep on growing. I hope that continues.


  1. I always thought you were the COOLEST!!!!! xo

  2. I just dropped something out of a cabinet and kind of flounced over the kitchen to pick it up and had the scary, "I have become my mother." moment. So scary. I am so very uncool these days. even the young mothers (many of whom uised to be my students) make me feel old and uncool.

  3. Elise, you are not old! But there are lots of ways to be "cool." You've got your own flair, and I couldn't love it more.'re sweet! I found a picture in my scrapbook of the Harlow House's you and your mom together. Abby saw it, and recognized the event because she did the cornplaning last year, and she said, "Hey! I wore that dress!" Small world. Your baby girl is beautiful!