Somewhere between February and March, I got the itch.
That same, familiar “I need to do something else” itch, the itch that leaves me searching for Shakespeare festival auditions and dream jobs at 1AM and then talking myself back out of applying by 2.
Only this time, I found a job that I thought I might be good at, one that played to (some) of my strengths, and in a whirlwind of an application and 2 interviews the same week, I was offered the job.
Suddenly, I was a big kid. Thrust into a world of spreadsheets and deadlines and criticism on the casual nature of my tennis shoes, I am suddenly a member of corporate America, barely trained and holding on for dear life.
In the middle of all of this, I was directing a play. And not just a play, I was directing Antigone, a play that still, even years after my first reading, still moves me and inspires me every time I hear it…and there I was, directing it, and, to add to the significance, directing my best friends.
I’d not blogged about the directing aspect because most of directing is private– annoyances at actors, personal frustrations at the lack of comprehension, irritation at lateness, uninteresting paperwork and scheduling– boring stuff, stuff meant for the private world, not here, on this blog.
So you may have noticed I disappeared.
Time spent writing became time that I could spend eating, or napping, or finishing correspondence or a hundred other things I hadn’t gotten to just yet but needed to.
It’s been an exhausting few weeks.
The dualities of a new job and directing are challenging, but not impossible. Sleep is lacking, there are tears and frustrations and over-sensitivities to, well, everything, but somehow, I made it. Not because of my own personal strength, that much must be made clear– it was never because of me. It was because of the people around me, my friends, who kept me sane and focused and hugged me, even when I was too tired to ask– it wasn’t magic or sheer strength of will– it was my friends unquestionably being there that made this show happen.
This weekend, my show opened and I worked my first event at my new job. Two beginnings.
The show went up, as shows often do, and people came, and people said nice things about it and everything was okay, even though I never ironed the curtains and the address was wrong on the posters and a hundred other little things, but at the end of the night I went to bed satisfied, then woke up and went to work.
And my job went just as well. There were things forgotten and things misplaced and I got punched and there were four arrests, but at the end of the night, I locked up and drove to the theatre where my friends were waiting for me.
By day, I wear fancy clothes and talk in my professional voice and take memos, by night, it’s sweatpants and climbing ladders and swearing to get the point across, and I fit– comfortably– in both worlds.
Today I had the day off of work– the benefit of working a Saturday is your Monday is free– and all day, I had this grey cloud about my new job– even in the same breath of telling people how much I enjoy it, I can feel the hesitancy.
Today I realized why. I still get audition notices in my inbox– three this week, in fact, and more last week– and I know that I will always, always keep looking at audition postings. I will always have that choice, that blasted temptation— and what I had forgotten to do, in the whirlwind of everything, was mourn the passing of that period in my life, where I could take off on a whim and audition for whatever thing I wanted. That’s gone now– at least, for awhile, and in the whirlwind of change. I forgot to accept that, so trivial inabilities to meet for lunch or do things before 5pm have become huge mountains of anger and frustration, which, admittedly, is just dumb.
And now, along with audition emails, I get emails asking about spreadsheets and check requests on my day off. It’s the nature of what I do, and I accept it, but I do not like it. I have never been good at delegating, and even worse at separating, and now, I absolutely have to, or this job could easily seep into my “real life”, and that, simply, cannot happen for the sheer practicality that I cannot do both at once.
I can be one person at a time, and that is the limit. Professional Catie in her suits is a separate entity from Catie the Shakespeare Nerd and narry the two shall meet.
I am a person who loves certain, particular things with a wholehearted passion, but the ironic (or at least, unfortunate) part of the love story is that I seem to fall in love with the those hobbies and interests that have the lowest rates of pay.
And so, I made a choice. For now, at least, I will wear my big kid pants. I’ve been fortuanate enough to find a job that I like, and that seems to fit well, but I know that there is a long, long, learning curve ahead. And I am hard on myself. An email suggestion about a more practical scheduling solution to me reads like a warning that I’m getting fired tomorrow, and that is really, really hard. Because I’m the new kid, and I make mistakes and I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m just trying really, really hard to keep up…and I hate that feeling of inadequacy, because I am damn good at the things that I do when I’m not at the office, and so it doesn’t fit with the rest of my life when I don’t get how check requests work.
In time, it will come, and it will be second nature. I know that, and I am excited for that. But there will always be a part of me that peeks at summerstock auditions and wonders.
I am not ashamed of my choice, because my choice was responsible, and necessary. A living wage and health insurance has to trump five-hour unpaid drives to auditions at some point.
But what I keep reminding myself is that this isn’t an ending, per say. I will always have outside hobbies and outside interests. Florescent lights and a desk will become climbing 20-foot ladders to get to the par cans by night because that is how it has to be.
I am starting to know myself. It’s weird, and it’s happened rather suddenly, but I think between this new job and this play, I realized some things about myself, and one of them is that I have to keep doing this. I am, at the core, a person who thrives on late nights arguing about King Lear, and I cannot accept a life without, at least, that much creativity.
And so, tomorrow I will go to work, and learn new things and hopefully, start to get a handle on just what it is I’m doing, and I will enjoy it. I will send reports and do official office type things, and then, at 5, I will turn off the lights, shut my office door, and drive to rehearsal, where my real day will begin.