Thursday, February 14, 2008

Artsy-Fartsy

I was raised in a family where theatrics and artistic expression were not highly regarded. Generally speaking, a person with these tendencies would be called 'artsy-fartsy', and this would be said with a condescending sniff and an accompanying roll of the eye. I grew up in my books, with a rich imagination and crippling social awkwardness. I got over that social awkwardness. I can now talk to a stump. Still there are subtle reminders that I am not perfectly at ease in my own skin. If you are attentive, you will notice that I often feel like
some sort of freak.
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I'm in a play. This is the first time that I've done anything like this. First night, everyone else seems to be a seasoned professional, listed previous roles one after another. I listened to them talk. Really, what could I say? Natural reserve kept me from going on about "I'm here because I haven't done a play in my life, but you know, I have this awareness that my life is half done, and I find myself looking at all the things I haven't done, all the books that I haven't read and thinking, 'I'm wasting daylight here' so that's why I'm here." I mean, this is how I think, but usually I avoid talking like this, because things like this make people look at me like I'm
some sort of freak.
*********
My little role got bumped up. I'm now playing one of the big parts. I 'thought' the shriek, but did not shriek out loud, because things like this make people look at me like I'm some sort of freak. (See previous paragraph. )The rehearsal went okay. Afterwards, we sat around jaw jacking about the situation of women has changed in this country. There was some debate about whether we were truly liberated. One woman said that although she and her husband worked, the housework was still her responsibilty. And I blurted, "Yes, but at least NOW we have the right to negotiate our relationships. If you feel strongly about that, you can challenge it, and change that. And you can do this on virtually every area of a relationship. If you were dissatisfied in the 50's, you could not have done a thing about this." And people looked at me and nodded. I don't even think that they realized what happened there. I said, out loud, one of those strange and freakish thoughts that rattle around in my brain but usually manage to bite back because when I say things like this out loud, people look at me like I'm
some sort of freak.
********
The conversation went on in a very animated, enthusiastic way, and no one seemed to notice my faux pas. Opinions abounded from all directions, and actually, no one got offended. The freedom was exhilerating. I had walked in the door a couple hours previous feeling like the new kid on the block. I walked out the door feeling as if I'd found my niche.
I did not feel like some sort of freak.
********
I thought about it as I strode back to my car in the dark.
I'm 'artsy-fartsy'!
Who'd've thunk it?

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