Steam Heat

For as long as I can remember, I have always appreciated watching talent. Watching it, learning from it, but most of all, being inspired by it. As I observe artists achieving successes, I rejoice for them and recognize that their artistry touches people in so many ways. But lately, I have been feeling another emotion as I watch performances, read news articles, and listen to updates about the creative world. Lately, this feeling has been rising inside of me, heating my soul until it cries out for a release of the tension. I would like to say that I’ve simply got “steam heat,” but I’ve got something much more than that. What I have is pure, fiery passion.

It rises when I watch my favorite movie musicals (White Christmas, The Bandwagon, An American in Paris). It rises when I watch gifted film stars (the Kennedy Center tribute to Meryl Streep–just the tribute alone– had me trembling in my fuzzy, pink socks). It rises when I watch a memorable moment on the stage (Mary Poppins made me want to jump off the balcony and latch onto Ashley Brown’s umbrella). And it rises when I perform.

Whenever I take a small hiatus from stage time, I encounter the issue of trying to stifle this steam, whose only outlet is the interaction with an audience. Distractions such as dance classes, gym time, heavy reading, and incessant blogging do nothing to help the release of this steam. No, I have found that the only cure for this passion is performing.

I don’t know how to explain why this is my passion. Maybe it is because I am a deeply empathetic, social person who cherishes making connections with other people. You can form connections in many other ways besides performing, though. So why the need to be onstage? Do I have a desperate need for attention? I don’t think so. I perform for the simplest of reasons: I do it to bring joy to others. I just like making people happy. I have found that performing, in particular, is my special way of spreading love to others.

When people ask me, “What do you want to do after school?” and I respond with a cautious, “Um…well, I was thinking about pursuing performing professionally and auditioning for various theaters,” I am bound to get some dubious looks. “She’s never gonna make it,” they whisper after I leave the room. Or, better yet, they think, “What a waste. That’s not a career.” Rarely do I ever hear these responses aloud, but I know a few individuals are thinking those exact thoughts. But then I save myself in the conversation by quickly adding, “But my degree will be in Professional Writing & Editing with a minor in Nonprofit Management.” They breathe out sighs of relief, thinking that all those important syllables sound a lot better than a career as an actress, even though writers really aren’t much better off in the scheme of things. Still, that degree does sound like it has weight to it. And I enjoy that area of my life as well…just not as much as the stage.

I have been trying to keep myself as versatile as possible by doing as many different things as possible during my college career. Some of those pursuits are for personal pleasure, but several of them are little insurance policies to be placed on a resume in case this acting thing doesn’t work out.

Until now.

Now, I have realized that I need to fully commit to pursuing my passion. No more shy answers to inquiries about my future. I am going to graduate from college and journey to wherever my passion takes me. Around the world on cruise ships, down to Disney, or straight up to the big city of my dreams. Now, it’s just a waiting game. I’m itching to break free, but I will use this time to prepare myself further for the future.

I have a passion. And it’s much more than diaphanous steam heat. It is a solid, tangible promise.

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