When I was quite a bit younger, I remember hearing the story of the "red string of fate." It's a Chinese myth which explains how we come to know the important people in our lives. According to this legend, the gods tie red strings around the ankles of all of those we are destined to meet, and our lives are just the red strings getting shorter and shorter. I don't remember exactly when I first heard this story, but it has stuck with me ever since. I love the image of it, and it's something I think about a lot.
As you know, I am a professional actress and I am incredibly lucky to have been quite successful in the years since graduating from college. I love being able to do what I love and am passionate about for a living (and true, I still need a survival job for in between gigs, but I love my job and the people I work with so I am not complaining). But if we're being honest, the hardest part of this career is not the periods of unemployment or staring into the abyss of "ok the show is over NOW WHAT DO I EVEN DO?" It's the falling so deeply in love with so many people and then having to say goodbye over and over again. This has been on my mind lately because Into the Woods has come to an end and the fact that the holidays are coming up. This year will be the 4th Thanksgiving I have been in a completely different place (Lexington, Lanesboro, New York City, and now St. Pete). I also have 4 of the best friends in the world who all live in different cities (Chicago, Decorah, Lexington, Tampa). That's tough, ya know? But the idea of having strong red strings attatched to all of the incredible people I have met in my life makes it so much easier.
I could totally let myself get down in the dumps about the fact that I feel like everyone is always leaving me/I'm always leaving everyone else. It's probably the number one trigger for my depression. But instead of focusing on that, I imagine the red strings that are now spread not only all across the country, but all across the world! I wouldn't trade my career for anything. I have always felt like a bit of a gypsy (thank you, Mom and Dad, for forcing me to move to Austria when I was five...I've never looked back since), so moving around a lot in order to do theatre has never felt wrong. What feels wrong is how deeply connected I get to people only to say goodbye a month later, but because of this unnatural lifestyle, I could pretty much go anywhere and feel like I'm home because of a friendly face smiling back at me. The world is so big and so small at the same time, and we are all connected by those incredible red strings of fate.