“You have kids?” The look on the face of a young woman I’d just met made me crack up. “I thought you were maybe 25 or something. No way you have kids.” I showed her a photo of me and my girls together and she just shook her head. The picture was taken back in my not so good days – when I was over run with pain on a daily basis – but that night was a wonderful memory amongst the storms of life then. I’d kept it as my phone’s home screen since that night. My girls breathe youth into me.
She was shocked and it was funny to watch her mind race. She thought I was in college. I figure I either seemed too silly and immature, or the carefreeness of being back doing what I love, (theater), was doing what I’d hoped. It was removing the layers of stress that were weighing me down. I no longer felt stuck in the muck, but like maybe I was actually holding my head above water. It’s more than refreshing. It’s life-giving.
With 40 closing in on me in just a short year and a half – I felt like I should send my mom some flowers for the awesome kick ass genes she passed on to me. It’s true. I don’t look my age. When I had kids, I looked like a teenager, not a twenty something who was married with a house and dog. I have a whole line of awesome women in my family I could thank for passing those genes down the line 🙂
I realized something on the way home that night. I’d turned the proverbial corner. I wasn’t just surviving life anymore… I was living it. Heck, I wasn’t just living it, I was loving it. It’d been a long time since I had the get-up-and-go that made me even want to get through a whole day, let alone the moxy to plan more than a week ahead. I would never commit to anything long term… and I’d just committed to a full two months of rehearsals, and 12-15 runs of most likely a full house of Christmastime shows. Part of me wanted to say “What the HELL are you thinking?”
Then it occurred to me… not much HAD changed, not really… Yet everything had. I’d still had three blasted migraines inside of 7 days this week, but it didn’t weigh me down so much. I handled them better than I had before and I rebounded faster. Maybe it was because I now had an extra reason to want to get up and figure out how to make life work. It’s not that I didn’t want to get up for my family before. I did, more than I can put into words… but I never had anything filling me up. I was just emptying out all the time. Auditioning for “It’s a Wonderful Life” was the best thing my husband could have encouraged me to do for my physical and mental health. Far better than any prescription or exercise I’m prescribed.
When you take time to do something (selfish) that makes you come alive inside – YOU are better for everyone around you. So maybe that is not so selfish after all. Maybe that is the best thing I could do for my family…and even for myself… to take some time away, to just be Christi, and not mom, or any other hat-wearing person that I may be. To just live a bit. To have permission to be something more than I was, and more than people needed me to be… because someone alive inside is far better for her family than one who is just existing and getting by.
And obviously it’s showing. I just didn’t realize that. It was just a few months back I walked past a mirror and didn’t even recognize the woman who looked back at me. She was haggard and worn, tired and weary. She’d sorta given up. She’d given up because she stopped living and was just existing. I took this self portrait just a week after auditions. My husband has the girl he married back. Finally. 🙂
So – watch out world. Christi is fully alive, with her kick-ass “genes”, and she’s on the loose!