Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I have a dilemma of huge proportions! I am flummoxed. I am stymied. I don't know how to spell any of those words.
I have been teaching theater for a number of years at a wonderful elementary school in St. Paul. Getting to this point in my teaching career has not been easy. I came into my license in a backwards way - via a portfolio process that is designed to license professionals in their field of expertise. It's a bit like getting your PhD through correspondence courses - a lot of work and you don't know if you've done any of it right until it's all done.

I love my job. I love the kids. I really love that for the first time in some years I have a retirement fund and life insurance and health insurance.... all things that a working actor rarely has. I see my kids on a regular basis - which is what really makes me happy. It's a "normal" life with a pretty solid future.
But, I love the theater thing, too.
Normally, these worlds wouldn't collide and this wouldn't be an issue.

When the CTC called me for an audition, I thought "what the heck. I've got nothing to lose." I auditioned brilliantly because I had no fear, and got the role. Exciting to be back in that world again. Getting this role made me feel... like me again, creative, a risk taker, talented, more than just someone who is needed by lots of small people...
I thought that I could do both. I teach half time and I can leave the school by 11:15 am. Plenty of time in the day to do both the teaching and the acting.
Now I have learned that the CTC is starting rehearsals at 10:00 and if I can't be there then, I can't do the show.
Here's the kicker... I don't know if I care a whole lot. But maybe...
Do I ask my boss for the month of October off so I can rehearse this play? If he says "no," I've got my answer. Not doing the show would make life as we know it a whole lot easier.
I sort of feel like I am letting go of something that has been my dream for so long... I have this inkling that this show might lead to other, better, bigger things. Oh, patootey.
PS. That was sort of stream of consciousness... sorry for the crazy babble. I haven't got this sorted out in my head yet... any help would be great.


Nonna said...

AB! What a quandry - I can certainly see why you're flummoxed (I love that word too - makes me think of the Bare Naked Ladies). Anyway - here's my older "sisterly" take on the conundrum...

Now - I don't know your profession that well other than vicariously through my parents, but when considering whether to ask your boss for something big, I've found it best to try and detach myself and put myself in his/her shoes, and more importantly, in the shoes of my teammates and other co-workers. This is particularily important if you work in a team oriented environment. Consider how they will be affected by your absence. Will they be supportive? Will they be resentful? Afterall - if you go and do the show, it's the job you love that you have to come back to and you have to consider what the atmosphere will be when you come back. Will it still be the job you love?

Then - assuming you decide to ask him - there's two things you have to consider: How will you deal with it if your boss says no (as you already eluded to)? Will you be upset, relieved, or will it completely change the way you feel about your current job? And how will you deal with it if your boss says YES (as I've already eluded to). And a bigger question I have is - what if it led to "other, better, bigger things" ??? Are they really better? Would they offer you the ability to do what you love (acting/teaching), during the day, being around your kids, and providing health insurance and all those other benefits? Would this "other, better, bigger" really be bigger and better? And for who would they be?

My last piece of insight for this early in the morning (I haven't had my cup of jo yet!) is: Although you are really pumped to do the acting gig and excited to get back to it and it has rekindled a long yearning within you...not taking it doesn't mean there won't be other, better suited, opportunities out there for you. Saying no to this is NOT the end! I know you know this intuitively, but sometimes you need to see it, smell it, taste it, to believe it. I'd like to be able to say that you can do it all, have it all, you are woman I hear you roar, and all that. But, the reality is that you have a lot of other people counting on you too. When you're a parent and a spouse you can't make these decisions in a vacuum (much as we'd like to!). The reality is - we do have to sit and weigh the pros and cons of it all...don't we?

You are an incredibly talented woman, AB, but more importantly - you are one smart cookie! No matter which way this bird flies, I know you can handle all of the complexities that lie therein. You know how to weigh all those things in life and determine where your priorities in life are and what the best choice is for you and your family. None of us can tell you what to decide - but I have complete and utter confidence in you that you will figure out the right path and I (and I'm sure your family) will be right there beside you to support you no matter which way you go!

Love ya! JG

by Johanna Brandvik said...

Oh, Ahna! You'll make the right decision. I have no advice because I usually go with my gut, which is why I don't have the consistent work with benefits. You WILL do what is right for YOU though and we'll all cheer you on! Good luck, sister!

kalurah said...

Follow your heart.

Shandy said...

How exciting! I'm a gut-follower too.