Be a courageous donkey rider, not the donkey.
I see you.
I see you hiding.
I see you hiding behind your big laugh; your awkward attempts to enter the community you so desperately want to belong to.
I see you hiding behind the safe wall of conformity, doing what you’ve always done because it doesn’t ask you to risk anything.
I see you holding it together because your anxiety feels like it’s going to expose you as the fraud you believe you are.
I see you, and if you want to continue hiding, that’s ok. But if you are tired of hiding; if you know you have more to offer or you simply want to explore the possibilities; to sit on the edge and contemplate what it would be like to try, then I will be there.
I will be that person who provides the booted foot up your behind when you consider giving up because you didn’t get the role you auditioned for.
I will be that person who faithfully reminds you that perseverance and study are the keys to success, not a pretty Instagram feed, or that review that told you that you were God’s gift to the stage.
I will be that person who brings the truth of your potential as a performer into your self defeating conversation, and when you’ve sat too long in the camp of self pity, I will arrive on my trusty donkey, raise my sword up high and shout, “Get up, you ass! You’ve got a lot still to try and the time is now!” (Rides awkwardly away on donkey).
Where the heck did you get the idea that this was going to be a smooth run? Life is an endless tech week, an amazing blend of euphoria and horror, held together with the threads of a script that often feels as if it’s been written in a foreign language.
But what’s the alternative for you? If you didn’t have something to create, what would you be doing? Yes, sometimes you need to get off that stage and allow other areas of life to take top billing but, my dear, it’s time to change the show. It was wonderful. Now turn the page on this masterpiece and move on.
You see, you’ve convinced yourself that you’re no longer able, that there isn’t a role for you in the next section of this massive production going on around you. You’re hiding again, protecting yourself with the lie that your time has passed.
Stop hiding and accept that you can’t play the same character all through life. The show changes. Lean into the change, equip yourself to play a new character. It will take time and energy, perseverance and courage but your alternative is spending your entire life as a ‘wing dweller’. Don’t you want to feel the warmth of the spotlight again?
You know you do. Standing on that stage, looking out into the house and drinking in that inexplicable joy (cue inspirational music and cinematic pan shot).
You mustn’t stop learning. Stay open to each new season and surround yourself with people who will encourage you; a bunch of courageous donkey riders who will raise their swords for you, yelling truth, and reminding you that you’re never finished.
Not until that final curtain.
And even then you’re not leaving quietly!
Sherryl-Lee Secomb is An Idiot On Stage. The Idiot exists to encourage and equip community theatre to expect more and be extraordinary.
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