I always dreamed of being an actress. I used to stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom and strike poses, and invent characters. I used to imagine myself wearing the most beautiful clothes, and being noticed. I would imagine myself standing up in front of people, being poised and confident, and never forgetting my lines.
I wanted to be a star. Or at least, I wanted to shine, to stick out, to be noticed, to do something great.
In reality, all I had a couple of bit parts. We did an ensemble piece based on Marlo Thomas' book, Free To Be .... You and Me when I was in high school and I had a couple lines of narration. It was great to be part of the team, even though a small part. I loved the musicals, but I flunked dancing, so I never got any further.
Until my last year of seminary, when I got my fifteen minutes of fame, playing Eliza in a church production of My Fair Lady.
I didn't lobby for the part; the church asked me if I would audition. It was given to me.
That's always the way I thought it should be. I could be a leader, in the center, the star of the show, the one calling the shots -- but only if they asked ME. I couldn't reach out and take it; I could only receive it. Because, deep down, I thought it was wrong to stand out, to call attention to myself. Today, someone questioned the wisdom of that position. "If you want something," she said, "sometimes you have to reach out and take it. You can't wait for someone to give it to you."
All I want is a room somewhere
Far away from the cold night air
With one enormous chair
O, Wouldn't it be Loverly?
Eliza was braver, and better than I thought.
She had a dream, and she reached out for it.
She took a risk. She let her light shine. She was a star.