In honor of Valentine’s Day–or for those who choose not to recognize the day, you may simply call it ‘Brad’s Birthday’–this post is all about following your heart. The past few weeks, I’ve been taking readers on my own personal journey to get into grad school. Loads of people go to grad school; when it comes down to it, going to grad school is not exactly remarkable. But the decision to dislodge myself from what was my current reality represented the significant shift. This journal entry from last January illustrates the parallel journey I was sharing with a character I was playing at the time who also struggles knowing what he wants.
Jan. 25, 2014
I need to run to the grocery store and milk shop. I need to tidy the house, throw in a load of laundry, and do the dishes. I need to study my script for Little Dog this afternoon. But I really needed to sit down and write.
This has been a very trying week. It seems like things are swirling towards a culmination. Stress is coming from many directions. For all of the debate and personal soul-searching that went into accepting the role of Mitchel Green, none of that feels like an issue now. I do feel pressure about getting off book. Though I have been working consistently, Mitchell never seems to put together a complete thought and–in the second act–hardly a complete sentence. What I wouldn’t give for both a subject and a predicate.
No, what my real–what I have been pondering from this show–what keeps my mind spinning in the hours after rehearsal is “what I want.” (Good God, I’m starting to write how Mitchell speaks). I found great blessing in the trio of shows that have run during this process of applying to grad schools, as I’ve discerned what the next chapter of my life would look like. From Parade, I reaffirmed that this life is hard work. It takes discipline, routine, and effort. From Drowsy Chaperone, I felt the gravity–the responsibility–of storytellers. I found meaning in the work by the joy I shared, and in turn, I took joy in it. With Little Dog, even though I’m still in the process and don’t have the perspective from it all being behind me, I believe the takeaway will be quite different. Whereas the story was paramount in the case of Parade and Drowsy, I feel like I am truly sitting with the character of Mitchell and trying to work through his issues right alongside mine. Mitchell can’t muster the courage to say what he wants. We see a glimmer of that at the end of Act I when he actually verbalizes that to Alex, but right away in Act II he has somehow lost that ability. I am afraid of that same fate.
Though I have been moving spheres on the grad school front and only a select few actually know, it has been a move towards identifying something I want. What I fear is that if nothing comes of this effort, will I still have the courage to say what I want? My “Plan B” is simply the status quo. But I am beginning to wonder whether the status quo is no longer what I want. In short, I don’t know–it’s hard for me–I’m not sure what I want.
Thanks a lot, Mitch.
It doesn’t make you a weakling or a failure or a disappointment to listen to your heart.