Friday, August 2, 2013

Ghost

I am feeling rather sad today.  Maybe not sad... I'm not sure what the emotion is, really, nor can I pinpoint the cause.

Camp is happening.  I freely admit I don't like camp.  I accept that it is part of my job, and that it is useful for the campers, but I truly do not enjoy it.  It takes almost all of my mental energy to figure out what to do to entertain and occupy children for 4 hours a day, four days a week, nine to eleven weeks a year.  Part of it is that I don't really remember being a child, and what I do remember enjoying was, well, weird.  I have, and always have had, odd interests.  I didn't understand what makes other people tick then, and I don't understand it now.

Camp is also exhausting socially.  I'm a pretty hardcore introvert, and interacting with people (even young people) drains my energy.  I find regular school-year programs to be less exhausting, because they're less like a social interaction, and more like a performance.  In two hours, they usually can't figure out how to press my buttons, and there's usually a teacher or parent there to keep the misbehavior in check.  It is rare that I have a school group that can drain me like campers do.

The fact that I do Pageant doesn't help things, as it's another demand on social energy and time, but I really do love it.  I am good at it, I enjoy being involved in a theater atmosphere, and it is something of a creative outlet.  It is the one thing in the summer that I look forward to doing.  It helps offset my camp dread.

I should never have given up theater.  If I could go back in time and smack 17-year-old-me, I would.  I loved it.  I loved performing, I loved backstage work, I loved all of it, but I was convinced that I needed a sensible job and a sensible major and that theater was just too impractical for further study.  Hotel management?  HAH.  As if there were something I was LESS suited to!  I got three years into it before I realized how much I hated it.  Parks and Rec management was my desperate attempt to graduate with something....ANYTHING.  Ending up in the environmental ed field was equally as accidental.  Work has consumed my life, and I still barely make ends meet.  Hell, it took me 10 years to get health benefits, and I still coast into payday on fumes.

Today we had a staff meeting.  We discussed something that would require a theatrical bent, and I felt such an unexpected whirl of glee.  I felt hopeful.  I felt excited.  And it would have to be done by next Friday.  It's a Pageant week, and a camp week.  I can't do it.  I would have loved to steer this project, but I just don't have the time or energy.  Camp eats 90% of my brain and waking hours, and Pageant gets the other 10%.  I had to decline.  It broke my heart to do so.

Maybe I'm feeling regret.  I try not to regret anything, but I think this is regret.  It is a deep, pressing sort of feeling, a silent-tear feeling.  I had something I loved, a passion, and I abandoned it out of fear.  I have been a ghost for almost half a lifetime.

What have I done?

6 comments:

  1. It breaks my heart a little to read this. Firstly, I completely understand that camp is sucking the life force right out of you. I could never be sociable around kids, or adults for that matter, for that long.

    Secondly, I feel sorry for you, and I also relate. I used to love performing, I was involved with a theater group for several years - before I discovered boys. I was also quite the artist - until my parents told me creative things were only meant as hobbies, nothing you could make a living off. And why don't you go outside instead on your free time, play, socialize, BE NORMAL?

    *Sigh*

    Maybe when things quiet down you can try to get involved with a local (adult) theater group?

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    1. I am going to actively pursue rebuilding my theater skill set in my free time. I am also going to actively pursue having free time. I have a very poor work/life boundary right now.

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  2. I completely understand when you say that dealing with others is draining. I have made a serious effort in the last few years to force myself to be more social, because I am so incredibly lonely. I've learned to play the game better, but if I'm around more than two or three people (unless they are very close friends), after a few hours, I will just abruptly stop talking and withdraw. I can't carry on much more than that.

    I have found that children are sometimes easier to deal with than adults (for me, at least). I would guess it's because their emotions and reactions are genuine. You don't have to constantly wonder if someone is telling the truth or just saying what they think you want to hear. Of course, it helps that since I'm not their parent, I can just give them back and walk away. This is why I'm an aunt and not a mother.

    I would also suggest getting involved with a theater group.

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    1. I find children to be more tiring than adults. They need a lot of behavior policing, because they have no sense of boundaries yet, and I spend a LOT of my energy trying to behavior-police MYSELF. I'm a terrible disciplinarian, and I'm too tired to want to get better at it. I'm doing good if I can go through my day without behaving inappropriately, making OTHERS behave appropriately is monumental.

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  3. You're so creative, Tante F. It would be such a shame to let that part of you wither and fade. A theatre group sounds like it might be just the thing!

    I wish my 17-year old self had chosen an art major rather than an education major/art minor because it was more practical. I might have actually finished the damn degree instead of dropping out when I realized I couldn't possibly stand in front of a group of high school students and teach without hyperventilating. :P

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    1. I feel as though my high school guidance counselor failed me. I am staggered (STAGGERED) that nobody tried to talk me out of it. I couldn't find my ass with both hands and a map at 17, what on earth made anyone think I knew what I should be doing?

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