I have been struggling a lot these past few weeks. Im anxious, I’m worried, my inner conspiracy theorist has been coming out. But on top of that I’m angry. Recently in my state, we have had a tightening of Covid ropes but in an unfair way. We have been put on a two week restriction that is definitely needed if you look at just our numbers climbing. I understand- I do… But our Governor is allowing championship football games in High School and College, but none of the arts programs that are in performance can finish their show runs, or those that are in their final weeks of rehearsal.
I don’t have a lot to say except that I am tired of people acting like we can’t be angry. That we cant be tired and frustrated. To those of us who are following the rules and wearing our masks, socially distancing, and doing our part getting taken out of our passions because of selfish people is frustrating. I have been choreographing a musical for a local jr high school, and we are social distancing, wearing masks and more…. yet we can't continue.
It’s aggravating that these kids can sit in a classroom together, but they cannot sit in an auditorium with more space to spread out, yet football kids can tackle, spit, breathe and sweat on each other…. It baffles me… They can go to church with the same group of kids they go to school with but cant play instruments by each other. They can go to jobs that have strangers in and out of their places of employment, but they cant have their cousins and extended family together for Thanksgiving. The hypocrisy of it all is enraging.
I’ve found it extremely hard to write and be positive about the things I am feeling, but I was blessed today… i hosted an online zoom meeting with my group of kids in the show I am choreographing, and instead of running the lines and music- I chose to do a mental check in. I shared my feelings and told them it was okay for them to be sad, angry, scared, or to be just fine. Then I opened the floor for them to share and the vulnerability and emotions these kids are experiencing and share with each other today was touching. I learned SOOO much about them, from them and I am so incredibly thankful for the chance to be a part of these kids journey. I closed our meeting with some coping techniques and I plan to work positive affirmations with them next week. I can't do much with them in regards to our performance, but I CAN help them stay healthy in mind and soul.
They cant express themselves in the way they want and need to. But I can help them to hang in there. At their young age so many of them hang their self worth on their talents and the ability to perform them and get the affirmation and appreciation from their audience…. It breaks my heart. When I was their age- as you know from MY STORY, life was not great for me. When I was in shows and performing, i felt safe, and I felt peace. For a lot of these kids that is what theatre is. It is a place of acceptance and love… It is a place of expression and safe risk taking. This year with the pandemic we haven’t had the chances to bond the way we normally do. But today turned that around. If we get to come back together these kids will know they are not alone, they will know they are valued, important and loved. That there are people who care. Some of their stories and their current states of mind or states of mind they overcame and imparted wisdom to others was intense and powerful. These kids have such strong emotions and hardships that they internalize so deeply.
In a world that is unfair and frustrating, I am taking from this week that I am thankful I can be there for these kids and help them find their self worth and self love. Why? Because, Mama, they are worth it. Take time to hear your kids and understand that no matter how small their problems might seem to you or in comparison to your other children, they NEED to be heard and validated. Their problems are HUGE for them. They are worth it and you are worth it!