Professional Menopause

What’s next? 

There is little certainty for those in the world of theater/sketch/improv.  While there is a charge when the unknown is onstage, it is a constant source of agitation for a lot of creatives. 

Often this manifests as “I’m going to do shows/mailings/projects/be an audience member/over-share on Facebook” in order to stay in the public eye (defined, usually, as other performers and the occasional director/producer.  We’re afraid of being forgotten.  We’re afraid that if we take a breath, take a break, take a moment, take a vacation, take pause, take stock that we will be passed by the aggressive, new, talented up-and-comer who’s been in this ugly business less time than we and is taking the world by storm one, “This one is going places!” at a time.

We don’t trust that we’re remembered.  We don’t trust that hustle may lead to bustle and busy, but bustle and busy isn’t always good for growth.  Or career.

If we’re not in someone’s pants face show at least once a month, if we skip being onstage for more than a few weeks, we worry.  We’d better be heavily involved in the development of a show…otherwise we’re over the hill, done, kaput, past our prime.

For the first time in two years, I have no pending show lined up.  For two years, when I was at the end of one show’s run, another was either just getting underway or about to start rehearsing.  I have no official “something next.”

I am fighting the automatic panic.  I am winning that battle.

I have a something next.  It is mine.  The Project.  Huzzy and I are forming the production company.  I, while late on this, am going to be discussing this with a musician/musical director, someone who I hope (a) able to commit the time and (b) interested in the project and (c) REALLY interested in the project.  I hope to be able to show an outline, if not an entire draft, within a few weeks.

All the time I’ve spent rehearsing other people’s shows, memorizing their lines, creating dances, printing signs, finding props, reviewing, researching…now it’s all for my baby.

It’s terrifying and exhilarating.  It’s easy to hear the Chatter Monkeys: What if no one auditions?  What if no one comes? What if the actors are problematic? What if we can’t find a percussionist?

What I don’t hear, mercifully, is What if I can’t?

At the age of 38, married and with two children, there are very few major milestones left for me on a personal front.  Besides menopause, and quite frankly, I’d like to keep the guest list for that one short.

I had moments yesterday, my birthday, of feeling that so much of the best was behind me.  That I’m starting to hit that age of invisibility.  That my worth is diminished by an ageist, sexist society.

But there is work to be done.  I have a fire (no heartburn jokes, please.)  I have a story to tell.  Heck, I have hundreds of stories to tell.  I have things to say that haven’t been said, that need to be said, in ways not said before.

I can’t not do this. 
It’s my time.  I’m not in professional menopause.  Not yet.

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