Lately, some personal regrets have been piling up about my creative life. This type of thing has happened before, but, probably because of the virus stopping a lot of interesting activities, it feels a little more intense this time. It’s a stress that is not foreign, but is rarely so pronounced.
More specifically, I’ve been annoyed with my past self’s ignorance and refusal to participate in theater, particularly in college. In high school, there was a lot of peer pressure to NOT do anything having to do with the arts, especially in the theater. I would’ve had to sacrifice whatever popularity capital I thought I had accumulated in order to be on stage. In hindsight, I should have accepted that trade-off.
There’s really no good excuse for my missing out on the college theater experience. No one cares what you do at a college that has Division III sports, so I wouldn’t have been waging a critical popularity war. Not to mention, the college crowd is somewhat more tolerable of artistic expression when they do recognize it, so that was a big advantage as well. If I was any good at anything in the theater, that talent could have been embraced and appreciated.
The real tragedy is that I was always on the cusp of being involved. My two best professor friends in college were both heavily involved with the theatre program (in fact, one of them was the head of the department). I was being encouraged to help out around the theater, and I just … did not.
First and foremost, it was my fault for not opening up and playing along with something that I most definitely would have enjoyed. I was rather busy during the college era, but I absolutely could’ve worked a show into my schedule during my senior year, either on or behind the stage.
The reason why I didn’t feel completely comfortable with joining up must be rooted in the fear of being called out by someone from both the high school days and before. Being made fun of. These are such teenaged concerns that I think held me back creatively. It’s also entirely antithetical to a major philosophy that I’ve preached regularly: Everything you do needs to be a step toward where you want to be. If I practiced what I preached, I would have been in the theater.
I wouldn’t take anything I’ve enjoyed out of the equation. I would still listen to music. I would still watch sports. I would still go outside and enjoy nature. I would, however, try to block out that noise that told me not to express myself creatively. Because, sometimes, I feel I may have set myself back and sold myself short. Now there’s a feeling of needing to catch up.
Sam Zavada is a copy editor with The Standard-Speaker in Hazleton. He previously served as the news clerk at The Standard-Speaker, working with the obituaries and the community and lifestyle pages. Sam’s work in print dates back to his time at King’s College, where he spent two years as the editor in chief of the school’s newspaper, The Crown. Earlier in his time with The Crown, he worked as a staff writer and the entertainment manager. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.