Ron, another volunteer and worker here at the Opera House said he was going to bring in a sleeping bag. I said I used to say I was going to put a cot upstairs in one of the dressing rooms, but then I realized that was silly. When was I going to sleep? I am always busy and running trying to keep up with everything here. Sleep? Nope, too much to do. He laughed and said I had a good point.
WARNING: If you are going to get upset with me and tell me to slow down, or to have negative thoughts or ideas about how busy I am, then please, skip this post. I know that I am busy. I know that I do too much. I know who I am. I have tried to go against my nature my entire life. But the bottom line is I am a worker bee. An ant. A creature most comfortable doing. A human doing, who has to make a concerted effort to be a human being instead of a human doing. And honestly? I love my life. I love everything I get to do.
Do I get tired? Oh yes, yes I do. So?!?! I will rest later. Or not. Life is short, I don't want to miss anything. And yes, some things I do are only to make other people happy. But it makes me happy to see others happy. Yes, I am a Pollyanna.
I know I am busier then someone with Stage 4 lung cancer should be. After all, eating, resting and getting moderate exercise are the things I can do to keep myself healthy. I have always been healthy, even with chronic diseases, and I just don't think of myself as sick or disabled or not capable of doing anything I want. And resting, not doing is just not in my nature.
Friday I volunteered here at the Opera House office and then stayed over after work to set tables, assist the caters getting the plates ready. I served dinner, I cleaned up after the dinner and I worked the spot and the sound effects. We all work hard. We all do what we need to do to keep things running smoothly. It was a 13 hour day here for me at the Opera House, and I left exhausted, but it was the last weekend of Nobody's Perfect, and there were a lot of things I needed to do in the office to help out. I did have a perfect show that night. I have not had bad shows, but it was the one night where I hit everything perfectly on cue.
Saturday I was here at 12:30 for rehearsal for The Fantastick's. At 5:30 I had to ask to be excused so that I could come home and change before I had to be back here at 6:00 to get ready for dinner and the show, closing night of the Nobody's Perfect. After the show it is our custom to sit around one table. Crowded together laughing and talking, reminiscing, usually about Colin, and saying good by to the show. After spending this much time as a group each ending, even though we will all probably be in another show, it is still an ending. A closing. Turn off the lights and tear down the set kind of thing. Take apart and turn into memories a special time of play and joy and laughter. But after 12 hours I was bushed and headed home.
I had friends who had come from out of town to see the show and one stayed over in my guest room that night. We sat up and talked until 1:00am, Then I just collapsed into an ooze of cranky exhaustion, shuffling to bed where I lay tossing and turning all night. I am switching my crazy meds and I have not slept. No dreams, no REM sleep, just night after night of tossing and turning, struggling to turn my brain off, growing more exhausted everyday. I need my sleep, even more these days. And to go a couple of days without sleep has always been difficult for me, but with this schedule, it was becoming unbearable.
Sunday morning I woke, exhausted and cranky. My eyes bleary, my mind sluggish, my body heavy. I fixed breakfast and drove my friend north of Thomasville, turned around in the pouring rain and pointed the nose of the toy south. I got to the Opera House about 12:30, we were supposed to be there at 1:00 to break set. When I had headed north past the Opera House on my way to Thomasville I had seen Denise's jeep already there so I knew they had come in early to work. By the time I got back George had joined Judy and Denise and they were already taking the walls down. It is so amazing that it takes so many days to plan and design then build a set. Weeks to rehearse and get ready for the show. But we only have one day to take it apart and put it away with all the pieces still held behind of previous shows. Memories in paint and wood, screws and tape. The sets and props seem to take on the laughter and tears of both the cast/crew and the audience. Now stacked up waiting to be useful and a part of another production. I disconnected my sound and light equipment and carried what I could over to the elevator to be taken upstairs and put away. Mary came with me upstairs helping me to slip the cords and wires, speaker and equipment away into their wedges. She went back downstairs to get the next load going up ready. I turned my back to the old show and prepared for another 5 hour rehearsal of running and dancing, skipping and hopping. I am loosing weight. I have no appetite, but calories in and calories out are tough when you are doing shows. I always loose weight during shows. The stress, the hours, the physical exertion, the exhaustion. Geez, reading those words it is amazing that any of us do this sort of thing. But the laughter, the love, the closeness, the friendship, the shared desire to give to our audience, learning new things, memorizing lines or blocking, playing and dancing. That is why we do this.
Sunday I got home around 6:30, early for me these days. I talked to my Vicki and Dad and was in bed a little after 8:00pm. Completely spent and exhausted. But feeling good about everything accomplished for the weekend. The house was respectable. Dusting, but vacuumed, the dishes washed, the laundry done. I know I am burning the candle from both ends and the middle, but for now, this is how it is going to be until I can get my commitments taken care of.
Last night I slept. I dreamed. I woke early like I do every morning, but instead of my eyes refusing to open, they fluttered and then gave way feeling as if they had been blessed with a gift finer then all the treasures known to human kind. They had slept. They had shifted back and forth the way eyes do during REM sleep. Closed to the outside world my eyes had watched the visions of dreams in my mind. My body released and collapsed. Maybe the meds are starting to kick in, maybe it had not choice but to finally sleep. I don't know. But I woke with a smile brushing my lips, crinkling my eyes and pushing out my cheeks. I felt like a new woman. Whole and alive, not groggy and cranky. Sweet blessed sleep, with the sound of rain dancing outside. The dogs and cats and I nestled in my room, safe and warm, dry and together. My little family surrounding me sharing their love with me, me with them.
I know that I can not keep up this pace. I am not trying to. I am not trying to prove anything or infuriate others. I am not trying to do anything but live my life. A full, busy, busy life. A life of doing and experiencing, rich with friends and love. A life that will most probably be cut short. Some of that time gone because of the pace I keep today. I know that. I know that if I want to live longer the answer is not to do as much as I do. But you see, it is not about the number of days I spend in this body on this planet. It is about the experiences, the friends, the love, the things I see and taste and smell and feel. I have been chastised a lot lately for the crazy schedule I keep. Ms Moon has not been getting on me. She has seen me struggle with busyness our entire friendship, she accepts me for who I am. Vicki has watched me my whole life be like this, she loves me for who I am. My Dad worries that I do too much. But he also knows that is the person I saw in him, always busy, always involved and going and doing. There are a lot of reasons I do what I do. One is because that is what I remember with my parents. To be liked. Childish or not, I know that is a piece of the puzzle. Another piece is to keep away the loneliness of being alone. If I stay active and busy I am too tired to be lonely. I am a social hermit. I need to be around people at times, but the rest of the time I would just as soon lock the gate and stay busy with my hands in the dirt and my nose in a book. By making commitments to my community and friends, it forces me out of that lock down and makes me put on a bra, a smile and get out in the world. Something that I am not always willing to do. But knowing that I am an extreme person, either full stop or full go, I know that if I did not stay busy here at this beloved old red brick building, that I might just disappear into Labrun and never be heard or seen again. Hmmm, that is not a bad thing. But I have made a concious effort to be part of my community. To give and try in my little way to make the world better by doing for others. I should be happy with myself for what I have already accomplished in my life. But it is not enough. Or is it that I am missing a piece of my puzzle and so I fill my life with busy doings to avoid that hole, that missing piece.
I don't know. I know that am tired to the bone. But tomorrow and for the rest of the week it will be about rest and relaxation, mostly. I am going into Tallahassee tomorrow on errands and then down to Gainesville to the Museum of Natural History and the butterfly garden with my friend Kim and then out to Apalachicola, if all goes as planned.
It is still gray and drizzling, but the rain looks like it is passing. Tomorrow is supposed to be warm and lovely, a great day for a motorcycle ride. A great day to put the top down on the toy and drive south for a couple of hours to see a friend. Starting this weekend, everything moves to warp speed with rehearsals. We will be all blocked and it will be about layering and prefecting. Adding the little touches, the tilt of the head, the turn of the hand. It will be exhausting, it always is. But whatever, when the show closes and I am already in rehearsals for the murder mystery, I will be able to add another cool play to my bio. Another wonderful experience to my memory banks.
The show must go on!
And I am but a mere player on this stage I have set
and I must dance and run
shout and weep
laugh and sing
keep my feet moving
that is just who I am
and I like me
just as I am