Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Born to Be

Are you born to do something? Are you great at numbers? Can you paint? Do you make the best brownies? In other words, have you found your calling?

For a very long time, I knew my calling was acting. I knew it from a very young age. I have memories (verified by mother) of dressing in my ballet leotard, having my mother tie a red ribbon around me neck (a fascination developed by watching Wild, Wild West on Sunday evenings), and performing in our driveway. I believed that I would be kidnapped/discovered. Maybe not the healthiest desire or practical -- we lived at the end of a horseshoe shaped street in a so suburban-it-was=almost-rural area. Needless to say that I was neither discovered (Boo!) or kidnapped (Yay!).

The point is that I knew what I should and would be doing for all my days. I was confident without wavering of my life's desire.

FLASH FORWARD 25 years, I am living in New York. Pursuing my dream. Loving it! I was never quite a SATC girl (I was married, after all) but I loved living in the city. I loved the trains. I loved living the life of an actress, even a struggling one.

And on one of the most beautiful mornings in September, I was in Manhattan to be a small part in an even smaller film (No. I don't remember the name.) And two planes flew into two buildings. And everything changed. For the country. And for me.

My husband and I were separated that day with little communication. For those of you who do not know, we lost cell phone capability when the towers fell. The trains were shut down. The tunnels and bridges were closed, Quite simply, I could not get home. And he could not come get me. He was enraged at his helplessness and he was forever changed.

Soon thereafter, he started dropping the words National Guard into conversation. We had both been impressed by how the Air National Guard had secured the airports and how the city was protected from the chaos expected by so many. Finally, he told me that he wanted to join.

Join? We were artists. We were the wacky, crazy, liberal gypsies. We were not a military family. Or so I thought.

It seems that this became his calling. And almost nine years later, he is still serving. I am very proud of him. But there was a cost. We walked away from our life in the city. We moved back to Texas and started over.

In September 2001, I was in a show. That was the last time I performed as an actress. I got to Texas and I focused on supporting our new life (Not surprisingly, the military does not pay exceedingly well) and then I focused on our family. I did not focus on acting. I would like to make this part of the story sound like Annette Bening walking away from Catwoman -- but the truth is I walked away from the acting world and it did not notice. At all. Nonetheless, I walked away for some time.

And after the years past, I began to wonder if I was still capable of acting. I feared that I no longer had a calling. I came to believe that in supporting my husband's calling, I had lost mine.

But this past weekend, I was proven wrong. As I mentioned previously, I was able to be a part of a series of staged readings. So wonderful! In several plays by young playwrights. And I discovered that a calling is forever. It may gather dust but it does not leave you.

I still have a calling. I don't quite know how it will next appear in my life but I now have faith that it will arise again. And that I will be ready when it does. It is a calling, after all.

So what's your calling?


Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I think it is difficult to combine show business and a family life, but keep working at it. It is more than a matter of talent; it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time as I well know because my daughter has been doing the same sort of thing in music. She had her own show at one of the Hollywood clubs, then got married, now is working on changing her style, etc., etc. Family and career -- not always an easy balance.

chitra said...

Stopping by to say hello. All the best to you dear friend.

jp said...

I thought my calling was so many things. and at 38, I still wonder, but I know it is something in my view of the world...when I am behind a camera I am at peace.

Unknown said...

Good for you! It does feel good to get back out there! Keep at it!

Nancy C said...

What a powerful story. Your calling is to touch others through your story and your craft.

I am thrilled you are discovering all the parts of yourself again.

ChiaLynn said...

Love this.

You know I'm a performer, too, and a writer. Shy as I am, I've come to believe that my calling is communication - not just one form of it, but many. And sometimes I drift away from one, or even think I've lost it altogether, but I always find my way home.

The Ninja said...

That is calling is to be snarky and I'm darn good at it too.

Connie said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I've heard of people leaving NYC after 9/11 but I'm never actually run into someone that did it and hear their story.

I hope that you're able to find a way to follow your calling. And I'd love to see you on stage someday.

Mouthy MoFo Mama said...

Healing-that's my calling. I know that sounds sooooo corny. I want to help people to heal. It sounds like you have done a lot of healing yourself. I am happy to have found your blog, and your story--will continue to stop by and see where life takes you next.

Heather (@dontcallmedotty) said...

Hi, this is Heather stopping by from A Bloggy Mom BlogHop!

I'll be back again real soon, but in the meantime please come visit my blog too! I'm having a really cute giveaway right now :-)


Tired Mom T├ęsa said...

Good for you! I'm so happy to hear it went well and you are ready for when the opportunity presents itself again. Isn't it amazing how life works itself out sometimes?

Betty Manousos said...

Your call is to be awesome, Tracie, in every level.
Thanks for sharing your story.
How great is that! Good for you. Keep at it.
Wishing you all the best, my sweet friend!!

B xx

Andrea said...

Oh wow. WOW. First off, this post threw me for a bit of a loop there, as I was in NYC back then, as well. I didn't expect that trip down memory lane, but I thank you for sharing this with us. With me, personally. I'm so glad you have had a recent opportunity to touch upon something so special and important to you. For me, I am hopeful that my true calling is writing. With a touch of helping people, too. ;) So maybe someday I'll be able to combine both.

Mama-Face said...

I love learning this about you! I love that you didn't give up on your dream. And I'm so proud of your husband-and you for supporting him.

I'm gushing! I just loved this post-you are one talented lady. :)