Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Adventures in my Hometown

A few weeks ago I made my way up to my hometown to see my sister perform in a community play.  She played Beauty Rose in Beauty and the Beast.  I know what you're thinking: isn't her name Belle in Beauty and the Beast? Well, this was not the Disney version.  In fact, this particular performing arts group is headed by adults who write their own original scores and scripts for popular play titles.  I could spend all day talking about how much I think they SUCK at writing and composing, but this isn't about but let's not get into that.
Let me tell you, despite having to say/sing terrible lines from a terrible script, she was fabulous.  I wasn't allowed to take pictures during the show, but I managed to get a couple of shots of her in her outfit after the show:


I took this right before her smile fell off.
 I was very proud of her performance!  Her voice was beautiful, and she actually acted without being super corny and over-animated like some of the other kids in the cast.  Of course all of the kids did well, but she was a mile above all the others when it came down to it.  I was a little shocked-- this was my little sister, the one who likes to stick her feet in my face when I'm sitting on the couch, the little sister who I still think of as dorky 10 year old I left behind when I moved out of the house.  There she was, on stage; she was a whole different person.  She had poise and grace, she was mature and talented, and I felt conflicting emotions when I saw her perform.  On the one hand, I was so happy for her and proud that she was so talented.  On the other hand, I was saddened that it wasn't me.



Let me explain, and this might make more sense.  My sister and I are alike in many ways: we both sing, we both act, and we're both pretty good at what we do.  As the oldest child in my family, my talents were noticed first-- I was in plays first, I was performing first, etc.  It makes sense because we are 7 years apart-- when I began singing in my middle school choir, she was still in preschool.  I feel that I was pretty successful in my middle and high school years as far as the performing arts goes; I made it into our high school's most advanced choir my junior year (which is not something everyone can accomplish), I performed in Color Guard (if you don't know what that is, google it- I will say that it involves dance, music, and throwing flags and rifles in the air, although that is a simplification of the amazing sport it actually is), and I was considered by my peers to be pretty talented.  Flash forward to present day, and you see my sister head-first in the performing arts as I was.  Here's where we differ:  I fell in love with choir.  Being a part of an ensemble really filled my soul, and being in choir was something I was very passionate about.  I could talk about choir for days (and I might make it a focus of a later post); I breathed it.  My sister, however, is more into performing on her own, as a character in a play.  It displays her personal talents while still working with a group.

My regret is that I did not explore the stage arts when I was still in school, because as a performing arts family, being on stage is a huge sign of success, drive, determination, and talent.  I enjoy being on stage and acting, but my passion for choir was more important than dramatic performance, and I feel that my family doesn't fully appreciate my art as they do my sister's.  When I was in high school, it was rare if my parents came to any of my choir concerts (and forget color guard- out of 4 years, my father saw maybe one peformance my senior year), but they see almost every play my sister is in, even though this is the first performance in which she has a lead role.  I desparately wanted to take lessons to improve my voice but my parents never mentioned wanting me to pursue lessons; there is lots of talk of finding my sister a music teacher.  Their particular attention to my sisters endeavors and their lack of attention to mine has made me feel a few things: I feel as if I have let my parents down because I never did solo work as a teen, I feel that maybe I'm not as talented as my sister, and I feel like any talent I did have is of no use now that I'm out of high school because I'm past my prime.

Maybe it's possible that if I had been part of the drama department instead of the choir department, my family might have taken more interest in me.  Maybe it's possible that my ideas of my talent are unfounded, and my sister is already beyond any talent I could have possessed, making her success more important to my family than my success.  Maybe I could have been successful at one point, but that point is long gone, and I have to live my life wondering what could have been.  I don't know.  But all these thoughts fluttering through my brain made for a rough day for me.  I spent my time in my hometown either praising my sister or lamenting my lost talent, wallowing in self pity for not being a success before my sister, for not leading by example, for not being the Jessica to my sister's Ashley Simpson.  My sister is talented, and for all I know she could be discovered by some big time talent agency and be famous.  It's hard being a sibling to a famous person, I'm sure, but it's probably even more difficult when it's a younger sibling who shares the same talents as you.

Being a big sister is rough.

One more picture for the road? Okay:


My sister and I (plus my cousin peaking through in an attempt to photo bomb)
 Am I past my prime? Is it too late to be a music/performing arts success? I don't know the answer to those.  Perhaps one of my readers will be able to answer those questions as they get to know me through this blog. We shall see.

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