I’ve been living in a bit of a bubble for a couple of months. I had the opportunity to dust off my character shoes and my grey hair spray for a production of Bye Bye Birdie. To say I was resistant to getting involved is an understatement. I had not set foot onstage in 20 years, and if I wasn’t confident then, I was even less so now. My voice was rusty, my headshot was 22 years old and I was downright terrified. There was no way in Hell I was setting myself up for that kind of failure. And I hated Bye Bye Birdie. Yeah, that’s it. That’s why I didn’t want to do it. I loathe Bye Bye Birdie. My sister-in-law, Janie whom I met in the MFA Theatre program at Pitt, was stage-managing and she kept pointing out how great it would be to work together again after all this time. I wavered back and forth, always coming back to no. No. There are so many reasons I can’t do this. No. Until I realized that I was just scared. Scared I didn’t have it anymore. Scared I never had it. Scared of rejection, failure, all the things that made me walk away from the business 20 years ago. So I said Yes. Yes, I will audition. I don’t have to do anything more. Yes, I will try. Yes. And I beat out 6 other biddies for the part. And I got up there on my somewhat wobbly stage legs and I chewed up the scenery and I smiled and glowed and basked in the praise and I had the time of my life. And now….? What happens now? I’m still terrified. Maybe more so than before. When the dream was just the past, it was easy to look back with regret and sigh, “if only…”. With every word of praise, “you need to keep doing this”, “you’re amazing”, “This is what you should be doing”, I feel more pressured and more defensive. Like everything I’ve done for 20 years is really just marking time until I do what I’m supposed to be doing. And maybe that’s true. But maybe it’s not. I’m no different than others who have dreams, but can’t seem to figure out how to make them real. But it doesn’t mean the life I have lived so far is just what happened until my real life starts. It’s what has made me who I am, someone who might be ready to pursue the dreams. It’s like Pandora’s Box. They’re out there. They can’t be put back in the box. The dreams are loose. Do I have the heart to follow them?