Alchemy…

I’ve been on a roller coaster the last two months. Highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It was a blast. I also gained some weight. Fun times. But fear not! A trip to the gynecologist, phone call to a therapist and prescription refill later, we are back in action.

I feel some times like my brain is against me. Like a life long antagonist that’s just along for the ride. My left brain has had a LOT to say in the last two months. Plenty to say when I look in the mirror. LOADS of material when I went on for a principle role for the first time. And she never really stops. My inner critic is also well versed, eloquent, can site examples and creates a clear thesis for everything that I feel is going wrong. When she really gets going, she can make it appear as if the whole world is against me. It can feel like each step forward is met with an equal or greater obstacle, creating a never ending, viscous cycle.

But let’s talk about some good things. I’ve been doing yoga again, which has been an excellent mood regulator. I am the most financially comfortable I have ever been. And I have settled into reading again. I mean, I always read. But when my brain gets quiet enough, she lets me tuck into book after book and escape. It’s great. I finally got around to reading The Alchemist, which a book that I feel most everyone has read except for me. So I picked it up, not expecting it to be a bible or The Secret, as it is often said to be, but just to have added another article of classic lit to my library.

To be clear it is chock full of quotable bits. Sound bites perfect for vision boards and savasana at the end of a yoga class.

See? Great stuff. But what I loved the most about it was the idea of the “Personal Legend”. Doesn’t that sound good? Unlike a “greatest desire”, or a fairytale’s “biggest wish” or a dream, it’s got meat and character. It’s not something that you want, a Personal Legend is something that has been inside you all along. And it stays there, yearning, whether you pursue it or not. It also denotes work and effort. Fulfilling the Legend is not simply gifted to you, you have to seek it. The other big idea in the book is that of “the entire universe conspiring with you” to make your Legend a reality. Can you imagine? The entire universe, rooting you on. Not making it easy, and not forcing obstacles onto your path, but cheering for you to make it past them, and knowing you can do it. The Universe knows that the challenges are essential for leading you to your Legend. One only has to choose to embark on the Legend and not stop until it has been fulfilled. It’s beautiful. Imagine, the Universe on your side. To believe that is the ultimate mute button on a brain that has been persistent in telling you the contrary.

I promise not to use this blog to pontificate on the universe or spirituality. But I must say this: When I was 15, lonely, insecure and scared, I met a woman named Fantine in a musical, and I felt the first small pang of a Legend within. In my eight years as a professional actor, I have auditioned for Les Miserables multiple times. In the dozens. I have sung “I Dreamed a Dream” for more people sitting stiffly behind a table than I care to remember. And they all said “no”. My brain whispering “I told you so!”, time and time again. But I continued to seek, and after 15 years of journeying, I came across my treasure at the foot of the pyramids.

Yes, this can be seen as a story of “actor plays dream role and all is well”. And it is. But, for me, this is mostly a story of knowing myself. Knowing that something that I have inside me is possible. To fulfill the promise that I made to that fifteen year old girl is the biggest gift of all, bigger than the curtain call at the end of the show.

This, my friends, is not a picture of an actor being happy to play a leading role. This is a snapshot of a woman who just fulfilled a Personal Legend.

And it was Divine.

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