I heard it said that when people move to New York, it takes them 6 months to make a decision: get out, or stay forever. This was not the case for me. Two years ago today, Kendall and I arrived in New York, determined to have this chapter of our lives. It took us four months and six apartments, but we finally settled down in a home of our own, and it’s been really great. For me, this six-month-timeline didn’t seem to apply. In the first year we were here, I was ready to stay forever. However, in the second year, I realized that New York is no longer where I want to spend my life. Don’t get me wrong: I still want to act and make theatre. But every time I go home to Dallas, it gets harder and harder to get back on the plane to come to New York.
I have learned a lot in the last two years. I’ve learned what it takes to really make it in this industry. I’ve learned how much I’m able to handle: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I’ve learned how much performance is part of who I am, and to shut that down is to spit in the face of God, who created me to be this way.
Remember that terrible audition I told you about last time? How I was completely unprofessional, and should have just gone out and started over? Well, funny story. As I was about to leave, I ran into a friend I knew from doing a show together, and we chatted for a bit. Come to find out, even though this audition was a musical audition, and we were required to bring sheet music for our accompanist, this friend of mine doesn’t read music! So I took a little bit of time to teach her about time signatures, and how to be able to hear her cue by counting the beats and measures. Apparently, teaching is also an inherent part of who I am, and to shut that down is to spit in the face of God, who created me to be this way. So, in addition to all the other things I’ve learned, I’ve also learned how much I care about Arts education.
I think each and every child should have the opportunity to get training and education in some kind of Art. Whether that’s visual or performance, Art teaches us empathy, compassion, creative problem solving, and, with Theatre particularly, what it means to be human. That knowledge is so valuable, and so important, that it cannot be reserved for private institutions. It needs to be available to ALL students, free of charge. And that is why the public school system is where I need to teach.
So I still have a few months left here in New York; our lease isn’t up until July. But when I return to Dallas, I will also be returning to the classroom. I will be teaching Middle School Theatre, and I will also be taking time to perform, take acting classes, do voiceover work, and anything else I have the time and energy for.
I’m looking forward to these last four months in New York. I’m clearly not done here, yet. But I’m also looking forward to moving home again, and finally fulfilling my purpose.