Don’t worry, don’t worry. This is not a review of the Harold Pinter play No Man’s Land (although if you want the brief Matthew-review: don’t see it, it’s Pinter). No, no. This is not a theatre review. This is about the transition between Seattle and Portland; between dream and reality; between job and profession. And this is actually being written in No Man’s Land. Or rather, no man’s AIR: I’m on the flight from Seattle to Boston as I type. What better place to write about transition than in transit?
In order to fully understand a transition, one must know the “was” and the “will be.” Here’s where I was: today, or . . . yesterday, I guess (Friday, let’s say), I had my last day of work at Diva Espresso in downtown Seattle. I have worked there for two years (with a six-month break in the middle to go on tour with my friend Bryan), and I have never enjoyed a job more (and I used to work in a HalloWEEN store!). The company itself is amazing to work for: quality-driven but casual (hey, I’m a fan of any place that lets me wear basketball shorts to work!), friendly, and invested. And on top of that, the branch I work at is pretty boss: I was at the Chinook branch, which was housed on the ground floor of a government building. What this meant for me was that I got a regular shift, every morning, Monday-Friday. We didn’t work weekends, and we didn’t work evenings. Heck, we even had holidays off! (Unpaid, of course J) Not a bad gig for the service industry! But even if the perks WEREN’T great, I’d still love that job. I got to make coffee and talk to people, and get PAID for it!
On my last day of work, I received so much support from my co-workers and customers, all encouraging me to pursue my dream of acting and performing. The customers at the Chinook Diva are off-the-charts-awesome. Throughout my two years there, they would ask if I was in any performances over the weekend, ask how they went when they saw me on Monday, and some of them even came to see me perform! So when I informed my customers I was leaving to make acting my full-time job (at least, for six weeks), I received such warm blessings from everyone that I couldn’t help but be optimistic about choosing a career that can be brutally competitive, constantly uncertain, and hardly ever lucrative. But the best part of my day BY FAR was when my coworker Eric (who had to go out of his way to buy basketball shorts to achieve this) and two of our customers dressed up like me! I almost died laughing.
So if that’s my “was,” what’s my “will be”? Well, today . . . or tomorrow, I guess (Saturday, let’s say) I will be landing in Boston at 6am after taking a redeye on the evening of my last day of work. Seeing as I’m already pretty tired after having been awake 22 straight hours (at the time of writing this), I’m pretty sure that by the time I POST it, I’ll be downright pooped. I’ll spend the day in Boston seeing a friend or two, then I’ll train/bus it up to Portland, where I’ll get settled and probably sleep for two years. Well, maybe not quite that long, but I do have Sunday and Monday to recover, because rehearsals for Tribes don’t start until Tuesday. Starting then, I’ll be rehearsing six hours a day, six days a week for three weeks. Then tech and dress rehearsals, then three weeks of performances (more details on those as they get closer).
So until Tuesday I’m hovering in limbo a little bit, preparing my heart for the joy of having my passion become my full-time job, and preparing my head to accept the reality of a dream come true. As I pause for breath at this frenetic crossroads, I give thanks for all the encouragement and support I’ve received, from Diva customers, from teachers and mentors, and from friends and family. One phrase I heard over and over on my last day at Diva was “Good luck, and have FUN.” I’m so grateful for the reminder that while this ride might be crazy, unstable, and sometimes frightening, it’s there to be enjoyed.