Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Universal Ordering

I've decided to bring my tour with Quidam to an end. It's a whopping big leap and as usual I'm counting on the net to appear. Counterintuitively, it was a much bigger deal to commit to NOT performing next year than to passively pledge another twelve months of shows. In one sense it is easy to continue the tour lifestyle indefinitely; everything from plane tickets to laundry are taken care of, lobster dinners and champagne fĂȘtes accompany each premiere, and a good massage is never more than a week away. But I am restless. It's as if I have reached the top of a mountain I yearned so long to climb, and instead of contentedly perching there, I see only more peaks to explore.

Going in to work now, I must face the disappointed looks of my coworkers, and struggle to find the voice to explain myself. I must watch as the company launches into a full-fledged search for my replacement, right down to weight and measurements, and I cannot help but feel commodified and expendable.

I realize how much of my current identity is wrapped up in my job. I am no Pinstripe Power Barbie or Type A career gal, and I despise the thought of clambering blindly up a corporate ladder. Yet for as long as I remember, my tag line has included either wanting to join or being a part of the circus. I wrote research reports on the history of the circus and brought in Cirque du Soleil VHS tapes for French class presentations. The danger and romance, the beautiful transience... I could not help myself from auditioning, could not stop the process once I got started. I've used this circus dream to justify many a hellish year spent in competitive gymnastics (where I always preferred aesthetics over scores), and even now I use my performer status to explain away ever-present bruises and back pain.

I won't say I've escaped the trap of my circus obsession. It would be much too tragic to say right here and now that I will never perform again, so I am calling this instead a leave of absence, or if I wish to sound distinguished, a sabbatical. I cannot and will not retire to a desk, a keyboard, and one of those rolling chairs just yet (though I must admit that's my current blogging set-up). It's all in how I frame it, I think; whether I feel scared shoeless or infinitely inspired will depend on my own and no one else's interpretation of my decision.

You know when you repeat something out loud, not for the benefit of others but for your personal reassurance and understanding? It's what I like to call "ordering of the universe through narration," and while it may drive others nuts (Andy?), it looks as though there is work to be done in my now-chaotic cosmos. I guess I didn't anticipate this blog's evolution, and as a reader, it may be looking a bit hairy, but if you enjoy the unforseeable, stick with me, please.