I Am A Liar!

Posted: March 29, 2010 in Randomization of Thoughts

I didn’t know I was good at it.

No, I am great at it, spectacular even.

I am so convincing that I can even fool myself. Well, at least I used to, but not anymore.

Most nights I stare into a small eighteen by twelve inch mirror. It’s to the left of its twin being ignored as I anchor my shoulder against the door frame. I stare cautiously at my face.  I analyze my nose, pucker my disappearing lips and twitch my ear – the left one freely moves as the right one ticked as I try to relax my body.

I smile big. Fatigue, coupled with desperation, grabs the smile and forces it back in my mouth. My lip muscles tremor as I try to hold it in place. The smile is placed into the back of my throat and I swallow its rays with a deep, heavy, painful gulp. That is precisely when I reach for deceit:

“You can do this! It’s no big deal. You’ve done it for years.”

I stare back at my inner voice and answer it with a wavering declaration:

“Yeah, but I didn’t know then what I know now. I didn’t know I was lying. I didn’t know this lie was waiting to catch up to me. I’m not a liar.”

But I am.

I lie as if I don’t know my own truth. I lie as if I won’t figure myself out. I lie as if I can run from myself. I lie in fear of facing the truth.

March 27, 2010

Kristin’s Fundraiser for Miracles was a huge success. Seeing the many unfamiliar faces that came out to support, as well as some beloved new friends and old, coated my heart. During Melissa’s song Hallelujah, Kristin’s younger sister, she choked up. Her face flushed and her words hid in her throat. A wave of instant emotion swept through the crowd as we all absorbed her pain, walked in her compassion. And as if she had transplanted her sentiments in me, I felt what she felt, saw what she saw. On the inside of me I witnessed that cry, that anguish that quieted her voice and rang through the atmosphere as a tidal wave waiting to overtake anticipatory stranded sea life.

Between the beautifully caressed violin, the tickled ivories and the playful guitar, Melissa’s genuine reach hugged each of us into one accord. I could not help but return the embrace.

By the evening’s end, crowds gathered around the many talents of the night singing praises. And to my astonishment, I was amongst the ones being cuddled with appreciation.

I thought back to the seconds before my vocal entrance. I had already urinated four times and I sat on the fifth twitching my leg up and down. My bladder pulsated trying to match the racing in my chest. I waited for Dominic to finish, grabbed the bench in front of me and summoned my lungs to project the power.

My sound rang out.

Almost immediately a guitar string broke. I could feel the tightened cord stretch beyond its strength, trying to hold on and then break as it left a twang floating through the air. The only problem was that the guitar string was my vocal chords, and I felt the tone leaving my instrument.

I pushed, prayed and pressed as I tried to project my mic-less voice beyond the rafters. My eyes hugged tight and my body went through its own ritual of events. It yelled at me:

“Hold on my brother. It’s going to be all right. I know what I am doing. I KNOW church!”

I hid underneath its promptings and allowed it to freely move as I tried to repair the recoiled cord. By songs end I was in shock that it was finally over, my vocal chords thanked me for the brief intermission as they sent pains of distress threw my throat. When all was said and done and the many other beautiful voices ignited the atmosphere, I had all but forgotten my fight, but someone else didn’t:

“You have a great voice!”

I looked him in the face trying to decipher his game. His smile painted words of approval on me. I retreated into apologies:

“I am sorry for all the cracking and missed notes…”

My mind twinkled with a smile:

And the notes I invented to go in their place.”

The appreciator looked back at me as if my head had detached itself, in jagged form, from my body. He next paid me the greatest compliment. It slapped me speechless. As he walked away, I silently thanked him for the reassurance, the accreditation, the new visions he thrust upon me.

I returned home and found myself settling into a normal routine. my head pounding due to sleep deprivation. Hunger invaded my belly. It spoke to me. I contemplated staying in and calling it a successful completed day, but my blood danced. It pressed me onward to finish my desires.

Footloose

My GPS was kind to me. I rounded the last corner anticipating the show. With only a few more seconds lingering ahead of me until I reached the parking lot, I received a text from Kristin:

“Are you coming Footloose?”

I replied:

“I’m here.”

I smiled, glad I had disobeyed my head pounding nausea.

After chatting with some old friends, and hourly new ones, I found myself in my chair, waiting to see a show I was finally familiar with – I had previously seen the Cab Calloway School of the Arts rendition of the musical. It helped that they had finely tuned voices that transitioned into each new section. It also helped that I had someone sitting next to me dictating what was happening. (No, I have actually never seen the movie).

With only the familiarity of one cast member, one pit organist and the director, I waited to see how the rest of the unknown faces would transfer into my recollection of entertainment. I held onto visions of the Cab Calloway students, to reference what I was about to see – many of them sprinkled throughout the audience. The music started, the lead took the stage, and other members ran down the aisles towards the extended platforms. My head made its way through a series of ticks as I took in the movement, the colors, the music, the voices. But most of all, I took in the passion.

I could taste the genuineness behind each of their drive. Beyond their characters, I could see each of them exuding the desire to be there, to be loved, to be understood, just to be. And beyond their ages I could place myself in their shoes. I asked myself:

“Are any of them athletes – cheerleaders, dancers, football players, golfers? Are they in honor society, math club, Future Farmers of America? What drove them into theatre? Why didn’t they opt for Cab Calloway?”

By the end of Act I, while the claps were dying down, my voice rang out loud and proud:

“Yes! Yes! Yes! YES!”

My words were already giving them a standing ovation. I no longer felt as though I was in a high school. I felt…I felt. That’s it, I just felt.

As I ran the day through my mind – the unsuspecting, genuine, compliment at Kristin’s Fundraiser, the many people that loved Kristin enough to devote their time and talent to her vision, and then the students who chose theatre as an extracurricular activity in an everyday high school – I finally knew I belonged.

As ACT II transpired, I mentally placed myself on stage wondering how many around me were embarking upon their debut theatre experience. I laughed harder than before at their antics and played amongst their choreographed moves. When they stomped the stage in unison, my heart matched the beat. And when they had finished, I danced in my seat waiting for the joy in my soul to simmer to a chill.

It never did.

I drove home that night with my headache attacking my vision and stomach. I could feel the contents of my meal accumulating and threatening my throat. Still, my thoughts lifted me higher.

I had previously concluded, way back in my life, that only finely trained individuals could conquer the theatre world. They started young and were carefully molded to make Les Miserable. But that night I saw hope. I saw students who may have very well started performing this year. I heard a story from a girl who only discovered a love for singing at the age of twelve. Five years later she sings as if the voices of angels were implanted in her lungs. Most of all I saw the little boy I used to be, singing in the shower, or leaning near open windows, desperately hoping someone would catch a hint and whisk me off to music video land. And then, as I stopped to get gas, needing some air as vertigo was setting in, I saw how much of a liar I had become.

I tried to convince myself, as the numbers flew by depicting the gallons, that it would be easy to transition back into my normal routine, my normal life. My mind punched me in the skull:

But what if the world you just left is your real life, your normal routine.

I looked down at my pants, rolled up just passed the ankles, and laughed:

Yeah, I could never do that in my pseudo-normal world.

I wrapped myself up in the reality of my situation.

In this new world – theatre… entertainment, singing, dancing, acting –I feel alive. I feel whole. I feel more like me than I have ever imagined. I can be myself – me. If I want to wear glasses, a top hat and a cape, no one cares. They only immediately break into character reminding me of the musical I had just walked out of. I enjoy the spontaneity.

When I hum a note, the person sitting next to me breaks out into song. When I dance, they enjoy, or they dance. When I listen, they enlighten. When I speak, they listen. When they go places, I am invited.

For once in my life, I walk into a room without feeling as though everyone is staring at me, making fun of my style. Even if they are, I don’t care. I am comfortable. I am home. I smile along with them, knowing someday they will understand. They will find that freedom too.

I fell against my truck bed:

Why have I become a liar?

Because I had convinced myself that I was transitioning back into my normal routine, but entertainment is my normal routine. The real world is where I am lost in a land of make believe, adopting various characters to make it through the day. As my mother has always told me:

“The world is your stage!”

I feel at ease there. I enjoy putting a smile on faces, tracing my body with their joy. I enjoy dissecting the talents around me, imitating movies, trying things I have no business doing. I love to practice, train, rehearse and repeat. I feel good with over-stressed vocals and sweat beating down my breathless body, trying to catch up with my joy. Running in the rain is my heroine, well, as long as it’s not too cold.

I desire to abuse my body, watching definition and size creep into my every limb.

I am an athlete, an entertainer, a cartoon, a design.

But I am not a liar, so how much longer will I lie to myself?

_______________________

“I’m not a theatre person, I’ll never be a theatre person.” – RENT (Joanne)

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