So thankful for a much needed holiday break from digital connectivity to spend a few days connecting with real people. Faith, family, food and football are at the top of the list this week (not that they aren’t always).
Knowing the email was stacking up, I snuck into the office for a bit to keep the snowball at a reasonable size. Amidst the post-Christmas sales assault was a post from my friend Tony Howell that caused me to settle into my chair instead of slipping away to my own post-Christmas ping-pong assault on daughter #2.
Nestled in his blog post “2017: Make History” is a quote from creative behemoth Apple, Inc. in their 1997 advertising campaign “Think different.”
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Read it again. Relate? Me too.
Ignorance is bliss.
Growing up I was a little different. Being blessed with an extremely stable family to tether me and provide unshakeable security, I enjoyed a personal….or personality freedom that made growing up a blast. Examples (and these were all done in my single-digit years):
- First solo performance in church at age 2
- Created and DJ’d a radio station (aka mix-tape) with weather, news and the best hits from Elvis, Alabama and the Sesame Street sing-a-long.
- Sang Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” for my 4th grade talent show accompanied by myself on the guitar
- Grew up on a farm with no neighbors, so found an imaginary friend in the woods
- Wrote a rap song about RV-ing in Arkansas: “We Be Camping” (still sung by extended family 25 years later)
- Best recess football wide receiver on the Bel Air Elementary campus
- Set record for most consecutive performances of “Elvira” for dinner guests
- Was a straight-A student with perfect attendance
- Wore a Dallas Cowboy football uniform every chance I got
- Designed the cover of our school yearbook
- Hated wearing dresses or anything that looked like a girl
- Wrote a song for my mother for Mother’s Day
As you can see, I was a little artsy-fartsy and had some possible gender-identity issues but was ultimately secure in all of it. Looking back, I sometimes wonder what on earth my parents were thinking letting me do some of the things I did. As strict as they were with values, attitude, character and performance, they were very free with personality and expression. And I am so thankful for that.
Reality is torture.
Then comes adolescence and the journey to adulthood. The wild imagination and freedom of self expression surrenders to the practicality of maturity. The restrictions of conformity in middle school. The pressure academically in high school. The stakes of the future in college. The compromises of identity in early marriage and the sacrifices of time in parenthood. It’s the real world baby. And bit by bit that real world was covering me, layer by layer, with a mask that didn’t resemble much of who I really was.
Because you’re a musical theatre person reading this, most likely you will relate or even have the same story I have. So please forgive me for writing the overused following statement….
And then I saw Wicked.
You may have seen that coming. But that green girl personified my life on stage. And since you know the story, I don’t have to draw the parallels. You already feel them. And my life changed. From that moment. The facade cracked and my heart started beating at 100% again. The world looked new and exciting and even more—I looked new and exciting.
I was still married, still a mom to three beautiful children, still the owner of a thriving design studio. But something was unleashed within me that day. Don’t worry, no lyrics inserted here…you’re already thinking them 😉 The dreams I had to be more, to do more, to express new and imaginative things, to be a pioneer not a settler, to reach for the stars, to do and not try, do let my crazy loose, to challenge the status quo, to ask the hard questions, to challenge the tradition, to seek the truth, to chase the lion and to inspire others to do the same were set on fire. Newsflash—It was OK to be me—ALL of me! Black sheep (or green) as I may be….that’s how my Creator made me and the only way to feel fulfilled was to be honest with who I am and authentic in all I do.
Now I’m still a wife, mom, and designer with the same amazing guy, three beautiful children, and growing marketing firm, but I’m proud to say they all would claim that I’ve changed. I’m letting my misfit side manifest and life is certainly more fun and fulfilling. I don’t mind showing the boys up at the family skeet shoot. You’ll catch me standing on the coffee table with a broom belting a ballad quite often. My daughters’ friends think I’m cool because I take tap lessons. And I’m experiencing performance, writing and directing opportunities that would blow my mind 20 years ago. I’ve found my personality home in musical theatre and while it’s a tough industry in a lot of areas, creatively it is the most fulfilling place for me to be.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
I’m working on changing the world. Feeling crazy? Join me.
And go Cowboys! 💙
Question: I’m guessing there was a show that changed your life…which one? You can leave a comment by clicking here.