I really appreciate when I have an “Aha!” moment. You know the one: a sudden realization that helps you understand in the split second of a moment all that has past and all that must come forth as a result. I like to think of it as giving Homer Simpson’s “D’oh!” a positive spin.
If I look back carefully over my life thus far, I see a series of “Aha!” moments, all connected to one another and leading to the next one. The “Aha!” moment when I knew I liked dance better than sports. The “Aha!” moment when the joy of singing became bigger than my fear of singing publicly. The “Aha!” moment when I knew I needed to move out halfway across the world. The “Aha!” moment that sent me yearning to learn more about my faith and the subsequent “Aha!” moment when I knew I couldn’t continue studying it academically. All of those moments, big and small (including the “Aha!” moment when I knew an apple would satisfy me more than a banana would that one time) all culminate into the groundwork for decisions we make about where our life will go next. I took tap and jazz instead of playing soccer. I burst out in song at karaoke. I moved to Ireland, I studied theology in Ottawa, I decided to be the actor I already was.
You see, all of those “Aha!” moments are actually more than just groundwork: they are like little inner compasses that direct you towards where your heart truly lies, and a mighty big one hit me yesterday. I was covering a shift for one of my coworkers because she needed some extra time to study for an upcoming exam. It had been a while since I worked an 8 hour shift because the past few weeks had been spent intensely rehearsing and performing Orpheus Musical Theatre Society‘s production of Hairspray, so I was pretty tired and cranky by the time 10pm rolled around. I came home disenchanted and gruff, and found myself thinking back to the run of Hairspray. I always have to laugh at first because some of my family members seem to think that being an actor is very glamourous. Well, who can blame them, really, with all the press Hollywood gets for their award shows and galas. Life seems like one hell of a party if you’re an actor. Playing Tracy Turnblad in Orpheus’ production of Hairspray, however, was no picnic, let me tell you. Imagine having to don a fat suit every performance that makes you look about 50 pounds heavier. I have one word for you: sweat. And that’s without the clothes and wig on! Add clothes, a wig, the makeup, plus all the dancing and moving around for almost 2.5 straight hours (Tracy Turnblad is basically on stage the entire time) and I can tell you exactly what you’d be thinking if you were in my shoes: I really hope I don’t have to pee during the first act! Also, could someone please hand me a towel? It was work, real work to get through the performances each night, so much so that I needed my day free before I went to the theatre to make sure that I was getting enough sleep so my voice would hold out for our final performances (folks, I tell you, I cut it close!). I was tired, I was antisocial, I was absolutely, positively pooped. But, as I was reminiscing I thought to myself, I’d sure as heck rather be pooped singing and dancing than sitting at a desk.
AHA! Cue the moment where in a split second I could see where I needed to go and no amount of fear could hold me back. No matter how much I could try to convince myself that I would be happy doing something other than performing, that I’d hate a big city like Toronto or New York, that I’d never get married or have a family if I chose this path, that “Aha!” moment was strong enough to squash all those doubts and fears by the simple fact of bringing to light all that I have known in the deepest parts of my soul about where my heart truly lies (indeed, you just have to look through some of my past blog posts to see the thread of light shining through every once in a while). Tada!
And what will I do with this new-but-in-all-actuality-not-so-new information? What any rational person would do:
“You want me to do what?!”
Hey, if your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough!