Sometimes something happens and it creates perspective, however unfortunately it was a sad event that occurred last week that really made me think.
A man who was instrumental in creating and producing theatre in Scotland passed away a few days ago and this man will be sorely missed by a huge number of people. When people talk of him, it is with respect, admiration with fond memories. However I have discovered that you will also hear the same phrase uttered again and again from those who were lucky enough to work him: ‘He gave me my first acting/directing/writing job’.
I include myself in that statement. Like so many others, David MacLennan was one of the first people to give me a chance and cleared the pathways for me to get my first professional theatre job as an actor and continued to hire me for future productions for Oran Mor’s massively successful A Play, A Pie and A Pint seasons. He was a decent, hard working, passionate and talented man and my heart goes out to his family and friends closest to him.
During these times there are feelings of sadness but also fear. Life can be frightening and feeling your mortality is always a scary prospect, yet I feel there is something to be learned through the fear. Maybe it’s purely a reaction to counteract the unpleasant feelings, but I also have a strengthened urge to seize the day and live life to the full. As much as it’s hard to admit and face the truth of it – life is short and it needs to be lived.
Sometimes I think back to those days, months and years of self-loathing because of my eating disorders and I think of what a waste. I should have spent less time obsessing, hating myself and taken more advantage of my early – mid twenties. Yet it would also be completely ridiculous and redundant to beat myself up about my past when I should be concentrating on enjoying how wonderful my life actually is now and not get distracted by things that truly shouldn’t matter
For example, today I felt a bit of the summer fear creeping in. The weather is beautifully warm and sunny which is something I love but it also fills me with slight dread because that means less clothes and more body on show. Suddenly there’s a louder than normal voice in my head worried about how I look and will I look fat in that and why didn’t I do more exercise so I would look better.
Writing this today has brought me to my senses because why would I want to waste another day being paranoid and anxious about how I look when I can be enjoying all the great things that lie ahead. I’m going to London for a few days this week, it’s my birthday soon, I have 2 weeks holiday then I start a new job – these are all things that need to be celebrated and made into great memories – not associated with negative feelings because I had fear over how I looked. It’s time to start practicing letting go and making the most out of life: do something spontaneous, do the thing you’ve always wanted to do – for me I’m no longer listening to reasons why I shouldn’t book that dream holiday with my family. It might require a lot of saving money but it’ll create wonderful memories and I can’t put a price on that.
Life is short. Live it.