About a year and a half ago I began ruminating on how I could use the information I gathered while working in sexual assault awareness to help actors deal with sensitive scenes on stage. Over dinner one night, I casually mentioned this to a stage combat teacher who works at a university in the city and he jumped on the idea. A year later I got a call from this teacher asking me if I’d be available to come speak with his class.
I was really nervous going in to this class. Having been away from both the topic of sexual assault and the acting world for awhile, I didn’t trust that I could speak on either subject adequately. That morning, on the train ride down, I tried to read my book, and look over the notes I had created, but nothing really calmed my anxiety. I found myself playing out a horrid scene in my head in which I sat in the corner and shrugged my shoulders any time someone asked me a question.
Turns out my fears were baseless. Not only did I speak adequately, I spoke with a clarity that surprised me. With my decision to dive into writing, I’ve put myself in the position of being a true beginner, which leaves me feeling like I don’t know anything about anything. I wish I could say I’ve handled this change head-on and with grace, but truthfully I’ve stumbled and tripped into accepting my beginner status. Feeling like I was still knowledgeable and proficient in something was utterly refreshing.
I’ve come to see that I need this connection to my former self as I transition into the unfamiliar territory of seeing who I am as a writer. Without it, I feel like I’m in the clouds, a sensation that does not feel good to me. I want the ground, the tree roots. I want to coat my toes with sand and let the ripe tide slowly pull my feet into the surf.
Talking with these students allowed me to reconnect with a part of myself that I love, a part that I’ve let slip through the cracks as I move into a new chapter of my life. As I left, I literally sighed from relief and thought, “Oh there you are.”