You know what I think is funny, that one second you can feel so secure and then one moment later, poof, it disappears. I hadn’t really felt that until one minute I’m getting strapped in a harness almost ready to fly, to be in my happy place, and the next minute I’m packing my things from my theater dressing room, never to return. Right before California put over 40 million people into quarantine, I was in a show called ‘Fly’ at the La Jolla Playhouse; a well-known, regional theatre in San Diego. As a local sixteen-year-old professional actress, I was living The Dream; my dream. I was going to the theatre every night, being in rehearsals during the day, and not having to go to school. I would wake up in the morning in my warm soft bed having control over my life, my schedule, and my choices of doing what I adore to do; rather than being ushered around high-school by bells and teachers. Although I did miss my friends, there was this sense of independence I had gained. Being with adults and in a professional environment, I felt a new sense of purpose, and pride in what I was doing probably for the first time in my life.
Prior to the day that Fly closed, we were told in a staff meeting that the La Jolla Playhouse will most likely not close, and we will be able to continue our show. That is why when Danny, a cast member, started reading an email in rehearsal a few days later about how our show was coming to an end, I truly thought he was trying to prank us or tell a really terrible joke. I did not believe it. I did not want to believe it. As Danny continued to read the email his tone became more and more solemn as his voice went lower and lower, and finally started quivering. I could feel all this independence and strength I had gained during the last three months begin slipping away. As my independence slipped away, the tears started coming; I bawled. I had not cried that hard in a very long time as the salty tears rushed down my face wiping away all the work, and all the hours I had put into manufacturing and creating this show. I came to realize, the show, my show, the best show of my life was over.
I thought about with ‘Fly’ closing, that I would have to return to what I remembered as “normal life”; living in a little box house in the suburbs, surrounded by the same looking houses with people doing the same thing. Little did I know, the life I believed as normal, would not be the life that I was returning to. I would still be living in a little box house in the suburbs, surrounded by the same looking houses with people doing the same thing -- staying inside, literally 24/7.
Recently, on a drive to my grandparent’s house, I passed the theatre where I left so much behind. It was and still is a bittersweet feeling. I think of all the fantastic times I had there, all the new friends and memories I had made. Just thinking about it all makes me so happy. Then this looming feeling of melancholy returns, enveloping my body like a wet cloth. At first, it made me sad, thinking I wasn’t able to finish what I had begun. Then the anger and resentment towards this horrific virus take over; why me, why now, how come the best show of my life so far had to be ripped away from me. Then I inhale and exhale, take a step back. I come to understand that although my life was turned on a dime to despair, I am a mere sideshow to the true trauma being inflicted all over the world to people who do not have a little box house in the suburbs, surrounded by the same looking houses with people during the same thing. This
terrible virus isn’t hurting me, isn’t hurting the ones that I love, but is hurting innocent millions around the world.