Push Your Limits. Unless They're Walls. Those Don't Move.
I am exhausted. More tired than I should be. But the nice thing about that is I write best when I’m tired. So yay.
I’m recovering from a cold right now. Carter (my roommate) and I both are. I’ve been eating well, taking my vitamins, drinking my tea, etc. in an effort to fully recover and get my full voice back soon.
The majority of the population—when they get sick or lose their voice or vitality or whatever—they continue on with life until they eventually recover.
The issue with being a performer is that our bodies (and by extension, their ability to perform) are our jobs. Singing, dancing, maintaining high-energy, etc.—these things aren’t optional as they are in most other jobs. (that being said, if you decide to start singing and dancing down the hallways of your office or retail job—I am in full support. Please send me a video) They are requirements. If I lose my voice and can’t sing, then I’m useless. If I get injured and can’t dance, then I’m re-cast. There’s no “fight through it” option. There’s only a “fix it” option. So you learn how to “fix it.” Showbiz is no joke. And if you wanna know more about how to beat sickness or injury quickly and effectively (and likely without the use of lots of medicine)—hit up a performer friend. Particularly one in the world of musical theatre. No other group of people is as good at “fixing it.”
One of the most revolutionary lessons I learned in college was the importance of self care. I’ll be honest, for the majority of those four years, I was really bad at it. I bought in to the horrible fad of glorifying overexertion and kept pushing my limits in the hopes that they would go away and I could wear the metaphorical SuperWoman cape. I’m stubborn and I wanted to believe I was invincible. I tried to be invincible for four years. But the funny thing about being a normal human is: you can’t run through walls like a superhero. You can keep trying, but chances are, the wall will continue to be an unmoving wall. And eventually your body will not thank you for its many bruises. Spring semester of my junior year I had a chronic cough that stuck around for 3 months, I got approx.. 4 hours of sleep a night, I was taking 20 credit hours, was in a show, and I worked four jobs.
Spoiler alert: that was too much...
I truly do not remember most of my spring semester junior year.
But I also think it was what I needed to go through in order to learn. I needed a good hard reality check: I can’t will myself into invincibility.
All that is to say that I’m better about it now. If I don’t get enough sleep, I skip my workout to do so. I don’t starve myself in an attempt to lose weight for a show or event or whatever. If I’m sick, I don’t go out to the bars with my friends. I have learned (and continue to learn!) that health is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Maybe Susie can be sick, go for a run, and still be fine to sing that night. I can’t. And I’m learning that Susie’s consistent ability to do so has no bearing on mine.
(side note: this goes for general health and fitness too. Just because your neighbor can eat a box of poptarts in one sitting and remain a size 4 doesn’t mean you can. Just because your cousin can run a half-marathon without training for it doesn’t mean you can. Stop getting frustrated because you don’t have the abilities of other people. Come to terms with the fact that you aren’t those people. You can lament your boundaries or work within them. But no amount of whining and comparison ever helped somebody accomplish their goals. Mini pep-talk over.)
So now that I’ve spent a large chunk of my night lecturing you on the importance of self care, I’m going to go ahead and confess that it’s past my bedtime and I’m now looking at less than 8 hours of sleep so….
Signing off. So that I can attempt to practice what I preach.
Take care of yourself today,