Ohhhh....I remember you!!
I remember when I first saw the live action Alice in Wonderland in the theater. I knew I would love it, but didn't realize how much until I heard some of the dialogue. There are some great quotes, but the one above that The Mad Hatter says to Alice made me cry and sent a pain in my heart. I sat there thinking "I am Alice".
If you haven't seen it or it's been awhile, let me give you a quick premise. The movie opens with Alice being a young lady, no longer the fanciful little girl who went to Wonderland. The troubles and trials of life have convinced her that Wonderland and all of its inhabitants and friends were just a dream or a product of her craziness. She no longer thinks that this was a real part of her life. Through a set of circumstances, Alice finds herself once again in Wonderland. No one recognizes her as Alice because she has changed and grown and she does not acknowledge that any of the creatures that she meets and encounters are real or that she has ever known them. Everyone decides that she must just be a "different" Alice.
(This is where my memory of the exact details will fail me so please don't send angry emails.)
At some point, Alice encounters the Mad Hatter and he also is not convinced that she is the same Alice. He looks at her skeptically and says "You were much more muchier. You've lost your muchness". Meaning, she used to be brave, fearless, imaginative, daring.....and ALICE. But now, she was someone barely recognizable as that Alice.
I sat there with tears running down my face realizing that I, like Alice, had lost my muchness. Through a series of life events and basically just the process of "growing up", I had lost and abandoned what made me....well ME.
I used to be fearless. Ok, not completely....I've always hated creepy crawlies, the dark, clowns, and spinach. However, when it came to being ME, I was fearless. I was first on a stage singing and performing before I even started school. I played the piano, I decided to play the flute, I took acting classes, I performed, I organized parties, I brought friends together...all before I hit puberty. As I got older, I was still fearless. My freshman year I marched into the high school spring musical audition with the guts and audacity to try out for the lead that normally only went to a Senior. I didn't care. I knew I could do it if given the chance. I didn't get that part, but guess what? I was the only freshman to play a nurse in South Pacific that year and my teacher later told me how they were so impressed with my guts to just go and there and give it my all. That earned me a high spot on the cast lists in the future.
All through high school I was on the stage. I sang, danced, and acted my way through those teenage years. My year book says in so many places "Remember us when you are on Broadway or Hollywood!". I was so full of life, energy, hope, and muchness. I knew who I was and who I wanted to be! I never doubted that I could do it.
But guess what? I'm not writing this from Hollywood. Or Broadway. I am writing this on my lunch break from my job as a financial analyst. Now don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but it doesn't contribute to my "muchness". I won't bore you with the details of how I got here, but just know that somewhere along the way, I let the voices in my head convince me that I was not as "muchy" as I once thought. That I was too tall, too fat, too young, too old, too ordinary, too eccentric, to this, not enough that, etc. to pursue my dreams. And every time I listened to those voices, I gave a little bit of my muchness away until I was no longer recognizable as that girl who once thought she could play the lead.
I have walked around like this for years. I accepted the fact that I gave up things and dreams because it was the best thing for my family and bank account. But there has always been this little burn in my gut that said "you can be more than this!!!". Awhile back, I was able to get back on stage for some productions and singing on a regular basis. I felt so at home and complete in those moments. But again, through a series of life events, that had to be left behind.
Fast forward to a couple months ago. Our church has an amazing drama/music department for the children's ministries that puts on professional quality programming for the kids on a regular basis. Ever since we started going there, I have felt the pull and nudge (and have literally gotten the push and nudge from my family and friends) to audition for a part. But without my muchiness, I had no ability to do it. I was paralyzed in fear at the thought of putting myself out there again.
So Mr. Thrifty put me out there. Threw me under the proverbial bus. Emailed people behind my back and pushed me into an audition for an upcoming full blown musical just like a good stage mother would.
I drug myself to the audition with fear and trembling and more than a few tears. Just walking into the building made me almost lose my lunch. But I did it. I reminded myself that 14 year old Chrissy walked with only a little shake into an audition where she had no real place being. 37 year old Chrissy could do a group audition right? Well I did it. I learned a new dance (complete with lasso turn and jazz hands!!). I had to sing solo a song I had just learned in front of a room full of people I didn't know, and I read a script I had never seen and pretended to be a talking pig. Every second I was there, I felt my muchiness coming back.
Guess what happened then?!? I got a part!!!!! Yesterday was the first all cast read through. (I tried not to show up 15 minutes early and look like the giant dork who was so excited that I couldn't contain myself.) It was amazing to sit in that circle full of talented people, reading, planning, creating, and dreaming. I left there with a pocket full of muchiness that I haven't had in years.
Even sitting here typing this, I have the excited jitters. I feel like ME for the first time in a looooooong time. I remember my muchy self's face when I see it in the mirror now. I remembered her voice when she sang. Remembered her moves when I did jazz hands. I remember now the girl who played the White Rabbit with such sass and comedic timing in the 5th grade.
I feel like I have found a long lost friend. A friend who inspired me and pushed me to be more than what the voices said. And I promise not to abandon her again. :)
I'll leave with this quote that a friend gave me recently:
"Creative work is not a selfish act or bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got!!!"
peace, love, and muchiness,