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Whoville dispatch - one month in

It's hard to believe that we're already one month into this 10-week tour. I think I've gone through every emotion imaginable - at least 10 times. It's been quite the experience to tour again.

Awe - every time I step on the stage for sound check, every time we're introduced to a new venue, every time I hear the chatter of the audience as we gather for our huddle before the curtain rises, I have a feeling of awe. What other career is like this? We step out into a space that's full of imagination, magic, and wonder, and people silently watch us and react. We connect with each other as actors, as characters, as people: at least three alternate realtiies happening simultaneously. Layers upon layers of existence. It's absolutely unreal, or as my fellow cast mates say, it's just stoopid how cool it is. And then it's over. We take off our costumes, our wigs, our makeup, and head back to our hotel rooms to rest and prepare for the next day's journey.

Self-doubt - seeing that it's been 15 years since I last toured, I have been experiencing some extreme episodes of imposter syndrome. How do I make friends on tour? How do I take care of myself and replenish my energy while not missing out on what the group is doing? Am I catching on to the choreography as fast as my fellow cast mates? Am I singing the right vocal parts? And the biggest question: Can I keep up? I experienced this last feeling rather acutely while hiking with a group in Lake Tahoe. After our first hike (during which I resorted to sliding down the icy descent on my frozen butt because I didn't trust my knees), I thanked my fellow hikers for showing me grace and not leaving me behind. "Natalie," one of them exasperatedly responded, "We all needed grace during that hike." It made me realize that the stories I'm telling myself in my head are not true. I am worthy. I am capable. I am enough.

Gratitude - I can't believe how fortunate I am to be doing this tour. I am getting paid to travel to amazing cities, meet phenomenal people, and do what I love most in the world: sing and act. When I start to spiral into self-doubt, gratitude is the friend that pulls me out of it. It's hard to be down when gratitude allows me to vibrate at a higher frequency. And the people on this tour! Each of us have been selected for our talents, our experience, yes. But most importantly, I believe each of us have been selected because we have big hearts and are truly kind people. The show demands that of us. We are all grounded, heart-centered people, and I feel so fortunate to be included in this group.

PTSD - My first chapter of my career was phenomenal, I'll say that first. I was a lead in a national tour that employed me for 5 years. However, I was a heavy drinker, and set myself up to fail many times. There's a part of me that likes to blame others: the company managers who would post negative reviews of me on the callboard, the ensemble members who would snicker if I cracked on a high note, the tour boyfriends who were cruel. I like to think of this tour now as my second act, a chance to start over and do it right this time. However, that ridiculously high expectation is another way for me to self sabotage. If I'm so preoccupied with doing this time "right" or "perfectly," I am setting myself up for failure once again. As my sweet, old-soul, 22-year-old tour roommate gently reminds me, I don't need to be "perfect," or "right", I can just BE.

Open-heartedness - I have cried so much on this tour. On opening night, I missed my mom so much that my chest hurt. I connected so strongly with other cast members who have lost loved ones, to whom we dedicate each show. There are such feelings of vulnerability - I've put myself on the cliff's edge emotionally, physically, and creatively. I have gotten so frustrated with myself that I've cried tears of anger. I've cried tears of wonder and beauty while watching the sunset over Lake Tahoe. I have felt every cell vibrate after a show, or an incredible adventure. I've learned that solo exploring is amazing, but exploring with a group is life-changing and life-affirming. I feel ferociously connected to each and every person on this tour, yet, I have felt unbearably lonely at times. My heart has grown three sizes!

Tour is a microcosm of life. And this tour is going to be over before I know it. I want to breathe in each moment and treasure it. Each interaction I have, each note I sing, each step I take, each vista I marvel at - each moment is precious. As the Dalai Lama once said (I'm paraphrasing), "This is my favorite moment!"

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2 commentaires

❤ live all of it! Good, bad, ugly, phenomenal, breathtaking moment! Life is once, enjoy it and do you. Your mother would be over the moon for you, she's watching every day. She sees it all and watches lovingly knowing you feel her. Love you cousin ❤ keep metaphorically "breaking a leg" I'm proud of you.

Natalie Buster
Natalie Buster
22 nov. 2023
En réponse à

I love you so much. Thank you!

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