Friday, February 11, 2011

#299: The Loves of My Life

Some days, the gym is like church: you don't feel like going, but you're always glad you did when it's all over. I'm just not feeling it today. There's a part of me that's purring, "Just take the day off," and I'm thinking I may succumb.

It isn't that I feel like quitting or anything. I love the work and I'm seeing results inside and out. I'm not even particularly depressed or sad or even tired. So OK, I did make myself a rubbery omelet this morning and it isn't sitting very lightly in my belly, but I think that should settle down by 1:00 or so. I'm not sore. Not discourage. None of my usual excuses apply. I just feel like hanging out at home today. I think I'm cool with that. Besides, Mrs P has a "honey-do" list for me on Saturday, and I'm thinking I might should rest up a little before that.

My Bride and I have a date tonight. Well, sort of. We're going to the theatre with a bunch of friends from the play I'm rehearsing right now. They are a super bunch of actors and men and I know we'll enjoy our evening together. I've been loving the rehearsals. We're playing Glengarry Glen Ross and it is one of the most remarkable casts I've ever been a part of. It isn't just that everyone is good, (which they are,) it's that they're so confident. They are a shockingly secure and mentally stable group of actors. I mean, usually, when you get three actors together, at least one of us is stone crazy. I'm sure there are nuts in this cast, but if they are, they don't bring it to work with them.

The whole time I was sick, I kept thinking, "If I live through this, I'm going to act again." That hope helped get me through the drugs and the radiation and the surgeries and the puking. It's the reason that the first thing I asked when my CT scan was clear was, "When can I get my teeth?" Working on the reading in January was great, and just what I needed to prove to myself that they hadn't cooked away my acting chops with all that medical poison, but now it's time to stretch my wings a little more. God has given me the chance to be an actor again. I'm not going to miss it.

When I told my therapist, Mike that I was struggling in the early rehearsals, he asked me to tell him about my character. I started to describe him, and Mike's eyes got a little wider. "You aren't doing Glengarry Glen Ross,  are you?" See, my character, Shelly Levene, is a faltering salesman in late middle age with a severe bout of depression and a desperate need to be saved. Sound like any Pennsyltuckians you know? After taking a minute to digest the ironic terror of the thing, Mike said he thought that the journey might be good for me. It's funny, but I look at it just the other way. People who don't act always seem to assume that we do this for therapy. I guess there's some truth to that, but from my perspective, my personal demons are there to serve the play. I'm always looking for ways my madness can help the character, not the other way around. Maybe this is why I find it so noteworthy that everyone seems so sane. 'Cause these characters are indisputably nuts. All that loonyness is coming from somewhere, but it's being channeled productively and I like being around it.

Mty Wife and my Art. The two great loves of my life. The reasons I decided to try and live through cancer. I feel immersed in them right now, and I have to tell you... it's great to be alive.

And just a little bit crazy.



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