3/28/16 Prompt from Daily Flash Fiction Prompts on FB: Why does he get to be who ever he wants to be, while we are stuck as ourselves?
“Why does he get to be whomever he wants to be, while we are stuck as ourselves?”
I continued down the line, weaving my way in and out of the security team to scrawl my name on programs, posters, T-shirts, even foreheads and backs. By the time I’d finished, it was close to midnight. Earlier than usual. Maybe I would get lucky tonight, and snag more than three hours of sleep.
It was only the second week after opening night, and already, I was exhausted. I stepped into the shower and yanked the faucet to the hottest setting. I gnashed my teeth as the heat seared my tender skin, but I had to do something in an effort to relax my poor muscles. Veteran of the stage though I was, carrying a Broadway company on one’s shoulders eight times a week would take its toll on anyone. I let out a long sigh, squirting the last remnants of shampoo into my hand before tossing the bottle to the side. As I lathered my hair for the second time, that mysterious fans question churned itself over and over in my mind.
Why does he get to be who ever he wants to be, while we are stuck as ourselves?
I’d heard it time and time again since I’d first started on this career path over ten years ago, just after graduating high school. No matter how many times I’d tried to convince them otherwise, even my closest friends couldn’t be swayed to believe that my job as an actor was nothing more than that to me– a job. Yes, it was a wonderful, amazing, exhilarating job that I couldn’t be more grateful for, nor lucky to have. And yes, I’d made amazing friends throughout my journey and my circle continued to expand everyday. But no matter how you phrased it, it was still, and would always remain, nothing more and nothing less than the best way that the world had given me to provide for my small family.
Like anything else one did to pay the bills, there were days I prayed for something to go wrong– a power outage due to the monumental blizzard that had swept through the night before, a problem with the scenery that wouldn’t be fixed in time for the curtain to rise on the Sunday Matinee– anything, just so I could have one day off from my hectic schedule. To actually have the privilege of tucking my own daughter into bed, or cooking a real dinner for the two of us, instead of leaving her to take-out in my dressing room just before my friend Jeff picked her up for the night. A day that was simple, quiet, and devoted solely to my family. Lena would soon turn twelve, and I couldn’t believe how the years were whizzing by.
It was true that for almost three hours everyday, I could step out of my own shoes, and dawn someone else’s technicolor dream coat. What I really wanted to remind those admirers who passed me on the street though, in the bombardment of lights, songs, interviews, and praise, was the importance of remembering what truly mattered, and how I’d gotten my start.
I had dyed my hair so many times, that the only way I could remember that I’d been born a natural redhead, was to pull out the scrapbook my mother had given me when i left my small town home. My closet was brimming with clothes that no longer fit, too big or too small depending on the roll I’d been training for at the time. My southern drawl had been exchanged for a New York accent, except on the rare occasions that my family came in town and brought it back out. Through everything that changed though, I never once forgot my roots.
So yes, I could be whomever I wanted to be, but I’d learned that the best option, was myself.