I have been lucky, lucky to have touched a few individuals. I have been lucky to run 14 rounds of a program with participants who were engaged and I felt like I was making a difference.
This is my 15th round of Relationships 101.
Next week is the final presentation.
I have a guest list of 60 people.
I have a county official coming.
I have guest choreographers.
I have a group that is like no other group.
I have a group that is detached, hard to motivate, unmoved, and so incredibly broken that next week seems as far as the moon to me. I am not worried about the presentation because theatre is my language. I speak it well and I will make the show happen. Well, maybe I am a little worried, but not really.
This group challenges everything I believe in and actually, they make me think that nothing can change. Maybe some people’s hurt is so deep there is no place to heal. I could never do the work I do and believe that.
This is the first group where my armor is cracking.
I have lost patience.
I have felt dislike.
I am frustrated beyond belief!
Most of all, I am tired. This group is pulling me to my limit. I am frustrated that THIS is the group I am filming! At first I thought this is happening because of the filming. But, alas, with some groups it is just the luck of the draw. I wasn’t so lucky this round.
Today I was pulling teeth to get them to be, to participate, to engage. One said she “learned NOTHING in my group.” The other one read a magazine and said she doesn’t need to look at me to hear me. I was edgy and impatient. I tell them the show can and will be as good as they will make it. I tell them we don’t have to do it. “One email and I can cancel the entire thing.” I can’t believe I actually said that, but I did.
This group is not my lucky group.
But this group is making me think deep and hard. This group is challenging everything I believe in. This group is making me speak their language. To be honest, this group has got me on my knees. But this group will rise up next week, as will I.
At one point today I repeat my endless explanation of this being an opportunity for them to have their voice heard; that next week we have an opportunity to tell people who they are. I said to one girl, “I read your I Am poem last night. (On the first day the girls write a poem about themselves called I AM ) and I cried as I typed it. I want people to hear you read that, so they understand better.” She picked her head up and looked at me. “People need to understand,” I said again. “Our society needs to change and it is your words that will help that change happen.” My eyes are tearing. I think it is from pure exhaustion more then emotion. She looks right at me, and the girl who is all over the place and has a 2-minute attention span looked directly at me.
Her eyes, too, filling with tears. I expected her to say I am not reading what I wrote, but she didn’t. For 5 minutes she was present. She was with me. She heard me, and what I said. I looked at her. “If they hear your story, where you have been, about your hardships, then they can understand.” In that moment she heard me. She got it. I exhale and know the show will be fine next week.
The moment passed and I struggle to move forward. The class is over and I am so done. My camera woman asks gently if I want to talk about today. I pull off my mic and am abrupt. “NO!” And I walk away.
Now it is time for quiet. Time to accept what is. Time to be content with the five minutes I got and not the hour and a half that I didn’t. Now is the time to make the show happen. And if I am lucky, it might actually be one of the best shows we have done. Because what makes this group challenging is what is going to make the show amazing.
So maybe I am lucky.
And maybe this is my luckiest group.
And maybe, just maybe, they need me more than all the others.
And that is the lesson and the test--and the luck of the draw .
And maybe it really isn't about luck at all .
It really is just about perseverance .