Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Could Have Been

I was a Broadway Baby.  Except that I wasn't born anywhere near Broadway.  In fact, I didn't set foot on the sacred pavement until I was 17.  Funny now that I think about it.  That's about the age of countless hopefuls as they first set foot in the city to stay.  For me it was just a visit.  My only visit.

I lived and breathed the theater as a kid.  I LOVED being on stage.  For however introverted I am in real life, I came alive on stage.  As long as I wasn't being myself, I could be anything.  It was just small potatoes, church productions and school plays.  But I loved it.  I couldn't get enough.

I was the kid with the bizarre ability to memorize anything.  When I was in the 5th grade I was in a production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  I played the role of Beth, who narrated the story.  It was a hefty amount of speaking for a 10 year old.  Not only did I nail my lines, but I nailed the lines of every single other character in the show.  I have the video to prove it.  I mouthed the ENTIRE thing.

Musicals were my passion.  Oh how I loved to sing.  I began begging my parents for voice lessons at a very young age.  They finally gave in when I was about a freshman in high school and I began working with a Voice Major at a local University.  Eventually I became that Voice Major working with other young hopefuls.  Life's funny like that.

I did several shows in college.  I was a boy in Oliver!, I made people cry in Fiddler On The Roof, I caused rollicking laughter in Bye, Bye Birdie!  And then... I was just... done.  I got married, graduated and that was it.  I haven't been in a show since.

I don't think I made a conscious decision to quit.  It just happened.  I had those dreams of Broadway for so long and without ever realizing it, I gave them up.  Oh I know everyone has those dreams.  Every single person who's ever stepped on stage and caught the bug feels the same way:  that they somehow have that extra something special that no one else has.  But I really had it.  I mean, I think I did.  I really was the quiet nobody from Somewhere In The Middle, USA that was discovered in her little high school musical and was rushed off to NYC to be the Next Big Star where all her dreams came true.

Except.  It never happened.

It could have, I suppose.  I was never brave enough to venture beyond the walls of my church and school.  I didn't do community theater.  I didn't get an agent.  I didn't beg my parents to take me to auditions.

Now... sometimes... I kinda wish I had.

I have no idea where it would have led me, if anywhere.  And I have no desire to change where I am now.  And yet, still, I wonder...  I just feel like I've missed out on a part of me.  Not always, I'm not dwelling constantly on it or anything... but just every so often something will remind me of how much I loved the stage, and I get a twinge of nostalgia and dare I say, regret, that I didn't try just a little bit harder.  The stars didn't reach down and touch me, and now I'm too far away to touch them.  At least those stars.  Thankfully there's many, many more out there.

My friends, do you have any "could have beens"?  Any dreams you gave up, knowingly or unknowingly?  Do you wish you had done something different?  How do you think your life would be now if your "could have beens" became a reality?



  1. I wrote something similar to this a few months back about musical theater. I performed all my life, until I had kids. I attempted one musical when my son was almost one, and it was entirely too time consuming. I miss it so much, though!

  2. I can just see you on Broadway-- the brains, the beauty and you've got the perfect little figure too!

    I had a chance to join the Olympic Ski Team. But they insisted on Sunday workouts and races, so I said no.

  3. I was a ballerina for San Francisco ballet, but has a career ending injury and i always going to the nutcracker and see all my friends as Prima Ballerina's and think...that could have been me. Sometimes it's painful...I can SO relate!!!!

  4. Beautiful post. I always had dreams of traveling the world before I settled down. For me, marriage and children came first though! I wouldn't change it for anything, but I do hope one day I will get my chance to see all the places I want to see. Maybe when the kids are away at college the hubby and I will travel the world in a big ol' RV, lol!

  5. I used to audition for commercials and shows in California in my late teens and early twenties when we lived out there. I gave it up simply because I didn't know how I could live that lifestyle and maintain the relationship I wanted to have and the family I wanted to take care of. I missed it for a few years but, no longer miss it at all which surprises me to be honest. I think Hollywood is quite different than Broadway though...I am glad I didn't steer my life into HW now that I see what it does to people. Broadway however...that is an incredible experience from what I've seen. I could understand why you would miss the could have beens.


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