Monday, January 7, 2013

Almost Not

Originally posted on

There’s one thing about working on A Klingon Christmas Carol which amazes me more than anything else.

It’s not the people, though the people have been wonderful.

It’s not the audience, though the audience has been terrific.

It’s not the fights, the music, or the humor. It’s not the copious amounts of wish fulfillment or realized dreams.

It’s that I almost skipped the audition in the first place.

June was a very difficult month for me. I had just finished getting my terminal degree. I had no job, no prospects, and – the very day before the audition – had my heart broken in a particularly shocking way. I was devastated and scared. I could barely tear myself from the couch long enough to drown my sorrows at the bottom of another glass. I had signed up for the obstacle race Warrior Dash for the first time ever (after a two year wait), and secured a rental car for the day, yet I didn’t have the heart to go.

I relied on a good friend to pull me out of my anguish, and a day-and-a-half later I forced myself up and out of my apartment to get to the audition. It took every ounce of will I had left to get down there that evening. All I really wanted to do was curl into a ball and weep into a pillow. Instead, in a single deep breath of focus and determination, I got up, got dressed, and got out.

I pulled myself together for the ninety minutes it took to have a language lesson, read a couple of sides, and learn and execute some basic fight choreo. I kept reminding myself that pain heals. I held on to the knowledge that one day I would Get Better, and beyond that day would lie the rehearsal and performance process for this play should I be fortunate and talented enough to be accepted.

It’s been over six months from that day to the time of this writing. This play has been a part of my life for more than half a year, which is easily twice as long as any production with which I’ve been involved from first casting to final curtain. The time in between has had some of the most life-changing growth since puberty. I’ve been presented with personal and professional opportunities I never would have dreamed of, and now they’re a part of the history and legacy that has defined one of the most important calendar years of my life.

I owe it all to the lessons I took from Klingon culture beginning more than half a lifetime ago. Being a Klingon means living with honor and with self-respect. It means never surrendering to fear or to grief. It means taking responsibility for yourself, for your career, for your family, and for the lives of those who surround you. It means maintaining responsibility for the ones whose livelihoods are dependent upon you, and for the ones whose very lives are dependent upon them.

I will remember this year as a year in which I persevered in spite of intense emotional distress, though not for the first time. Certainly not for the last.

I will remember this year as a year in which I fulfilled the most important dream of all: to educate, to entertain, and to inspire an audience in the same way – and to the same dynamic level – as I have been affected by my favorite artists and storytellers.

But more than anything else, I will remember this year as the year in which, but for the grace of Kahless, I would have rotted in stagnant complacency, a coward curled up in my bed, hiding away from the world. This is the year I avoided becoming SQuja’. I witnessed, accomplished, and took part in so very many wonderful things this year, and I appreciate them so much more when I realize how close I came to never having any of them.

And if I’m very, very lucky, I’ll get to take part in the saga next year as well.

Until then. Qapla’ batlh je.