Balance is a tricky thing to find in life.
'Night Mother is one of those shows I've wanted to see for a long time. I was very much looking forward to seeing it yesterday at Riverwalk's Black Box at the Creole Gallery in Old Town. I'd heard it was a good production and one that I ought to see. Thespie judging is coming up quick and by all accounts, this was a production that should be seen and considered.
However, as much as I have long wanted to see this show, I'd had a nagging voice in my head that I'd been trying to ignore for days. For personal reasons that I won't get into in a public blog, this show and its subject matter couldn't have come at a worse time for me. I knew this, yet I kept trying to ignore the internal warnings that this show would be emotionally draining and harmful at this particular moment in my life. Instead, I made all the arguments to myself that it was a show I should see, that I'd already reserved tickets, and that I had a duty to go see it.
Finally, about a half hour before the show started, I gave in to my inner guardian and acknowledged how much fear I had about seeing this show on Sunday. A month ago or a month from now would have been fine, but yesterday was not.
Then came the waves of guilt for not doing what I "should" be doing. I feel very blessed and very fortunate to be doing the work that I'm doing and I take seriously the responsibility that comes with that--that I need to see and hear as much as possible so that my reporting on the community can be authentic and informed.
However--and this is the more difficult part for me--I also need to take care of myself. If I do not first take care of me, then I cannot effectively serve my community or do my small part to promote the performing arts in the Greater Lansing area.
Theater is a powerful, powerful medium. It's a power that deserves respect along with the self-acknowledgment of what one can handle on any given day. I want to be able to watch any show that I attend with an open heart and mind--ready to receive what the performers want to offer. I don't want to enter from a place of fear or any other emotion that is going to block the connection between artist and audience.
So while I regret the missed opportunity to see 'Night Mother, I am now at peace that it was the right decision for me. My epiphany is that it is just as important for me to take care of myself as it is to be supportive of the arts community that has so enriched my life and the life of my family. That's an epiphany that goes far beyond a single show on a single Sunday.