Life As Musical – The Monologues
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share this with you today. If you live in Los Angeles it may seem mundane. But for me, this is a pivotal scene in My Life as a Musical.
It’s surreal. I took the long road from Michigan to Los Angeles. It took me 30 years to get here.
I left home when I was 17. I was a dancer, with dreams of the world stage.
My ticket out of town was a full-ride scholarship to Houston Ballet Academy. Most students wash out, only a lucky few ever make the company. But my teachers encouraged me, and I trained very hard. I was optimistic and confident.
But it was not the ride for me. I struggled from the moment I walked into those studios. It all felt wrong: the dancing, the people. Everything.
I quit. I went back home to Michigan. I was no prodigal son.
But dreams are ephemeral, destiny is not. I recovered my footing, and six months later I was dancing again. I went back to Houston to settle the score and finish my training.
I stayed for a year, and that was enough. When I left there the second time, I was a professional.
I saw the country. I danced the prince, I danced the villain, and not much in between. None of it great.
My career was short.
In the end I lost my temper, punched a steel locker, and broke my hand. I never danced again, and the curtain unceremoniously dropped on Act I.
I even had a band. I should have been happy, and sometimes I was. But I had a black dog.
Work got complicated. The marriage cracked, and I started to boil over.
I raged. I cried. I drank, and I died.
[ Fade to black. ]
Seattle, the Emerald City. A new hope. Programmers there are pilgrims to the mountain. It’s very competitive, risky if you’re me. But I was as optimistic and confident as the day I left Michigan.
I moved there with my old dog, across the country. By the time my family arrived three months later, I was about to get fired. Seattle was a bust, the whole city went up in flames. The marriage collapsed with a 911 call. I was served by an officer of the court. She declared divorce and we went to war.
There was an unexpected casualty: my dad died that year.
I fell apart. The human mind can only stay awake so long, or grieve so hard, before it tries to right itself.
There was no phoenix in the ashes. My whole life just burned down around me, for years, and it hurt. But when the smoke cleared I had my fight club moment:
I finally realized that I have bipolar disorder.
Panic at the mailbox became a footnote in the quest for normal. Heartbreak became the status quo for all relationships. One day I went into the snow looking for a friend, and found myself there instead.
I can’t say the treatment helped. I don’t know.
But that fight club moment changed my life for the better. And as the curtain closes on Act II, I’ve come to terms with the script. Just as I’m standing here, sharing this with you, there is real comfort in this one simple fact:
You are not alone.