I find it interesting to see what certain people get attracted to. I’m not talking about men and women here with relationships, I am talking about things that for some unknown reason a person feels this magnetic pull towards. Nope, not referring to drugs either.
For Example: I know that for some weird reason I LOVE BROADWAY. I love the costumes and the music. I love theater seating and getting dressed up. I love the chandeliers and the heavy red velvety curtains. I love the choreographed dancing and the belt-it-out singing. That having been said, I hate being on stage and performing myself and yet, I have found myself in this position one too many times. Once in sleep-away camp (shout out to Sprout Lake!), we were putting on a play of sorts. I don’t remember the name of the play but part of me thinks we sang words to the tune of Aquarius. I had a part, small as it was, that was a poem. We were Bogrim, the oldest kids in camp (8th graders rock, dude) and it was Sat. night. The whole camp was watching as I started my poem and with that blaring light I could not see ANYONE. Of course, that’s all I could think about. Why can’t I see anyone???…totally had no clue what part of the poem I was saying and stopped, got all caught up in the fact that everyone was watching me, standing there clueless about what to say next. I heard some whispering from behind me, it was my counselor, I think, trying to feed me the next line. I wanted it OVER, ugh. I was mortified. I think this may have even been where I got my first kiss. Pity kisses? Not great as first ones go, I imagine. That guy must have felt so bad for me…uch that made it all worse.
I remember even at a younger age I was meant to sing a solo on stage at an old age home. My friend Andy was at the other side of the stage and we were front and center ready for our solos. Those bright lights are awful, it made me so nervous I wanted to cry. Andy, the love of my little life, saw that I was flipping out nervous and crossed the stage to hold my hand, (collective “awww”). It was great and I finished my solo and let the soft wrinkly people pinch my ample cheeks.
But the one thing I felt myself to drawn to at so many various stages of my life was working on some level or connecting with children suffering from disabilities. In high-school I had a chance to interact many times with students in YACHAD at school or in NCSY. I had family friends with children born with downs syndrome and when I studied in Israel I worked with children at SHALVA.
Six years ago when I was offered the chance to work with girls studying in DARKAYNU I immediately said yes. I have so far worked with 5 young women plagued with various problems that have come to work beside me 1-2 times a week to gain some work experience. These young women are so determined and enthusiastic and have added an extra perk to my workdays when they are beside me. They are all so super and cool and tech savvy, I am Facebook friends with all of them. This year though has been super special.
I was getting a chance to have 2 things that I love pull me at the same time.
I was invited to Darkaynu’s play. They girls put on a rendition of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I laughed and cried – just like any good Broadway show. They sang beautifully, and their choreography was fabulous, and they danced like pros. They remembered and read their lines, they connected with the audience and I smiled even through my tears throughout the whole show. I was so proud of my student. I felt like a proud mama, I took pictures and jumped up and down for her. It was the best day ever. I loved it. I will cherish this day forever.
There is something I do when I want to remember a certain day, a moment, a feeling. I repeat it in my brain, I stare at it over and over again. I’ll close my eyes and blink a few times so I can see that thing again the same way. I imprint it on my brain so that I can go back whenever I want, to that place in my mind, to get that same feeling of seeing it for the first time and remember how happy I was.
I keep tabs on the girls and am excited that some are married, some are finishing up college, some are getting new jobs. My life has been changed for the better and I encourage anyone who has ever wanted to do something that may seem like a challenge too big for them, to make the effort.
I hated the stage, the light, the front and center aspect. I felt really good after finishing each task, well, except for the play – that was painfully awkward, but I was relieved when it was over. Gradual acceptance of your limitations and challenging yourself to overcome those limitations can only bring reward. I encourage you all.Finding these moments are precious. We often get caught up in our daily routine that we forget to ‘stop and smell the roses’. I was so honored to be invited and share in this amazing day. I feel blessed to have her in my life. As I watched her on stage, I blinked a few times. Now it’s there forever, stored away for a rainy day if life gets me down. I am smiling even as I type this. It’s a really happy place.
I love being a part of something bigger than me. I know that I am better for the experience, that I learn more than maybe what some of these girls walk away with, perhaps because we joke around a lot. I often get reprimanded for slacking off by some of my students, that I shouldn’t be so goofy. I was asked not to embarrass her at the play, I told her I couldn’t promise anything and did my best to be supportive, in my “I’m wearing my most embarrassing outfit possible” way, of course.