Cast No Shadow
Fear. The thing that holds us back. That death grips and headlocks our ambitions and mines the veins of our goals. Fear.
I tell the kids: “Try it. Try something. If you don’t try I will think you’re lazy. I don’t have time for lazy. Be willing to risk and gain. Right now, in this room, you have nothing to lose. Try it again. Like you mean it.” Working with Middle School kids is riddled with pit falls. They are so afraid of everything: of themselves, what their peers will say or think, what they look like, how they will look, what might happen if they fail. They are so stuck thinking within themselves, at many points, they miss opportunities to expand themselves. To think of something else besides how they appear. I always have a hard time getting them to loosen up and explore what is around them. More importantly: What is inside of them.
In many ways the self conscious road of middle schoolers reflects on all of us. How do we act in society? How do we represent our company with out presence? How are we perceived in the world? All though, for those of us outside of puberty, I still find myself afraid for no good reason at all. I fear that I will not be able to give the kids I teach what they need. That I cannot fulfill their needs and wants out of what I do. They expect me to be an all knowing prefect being of exceptional talent. As a teacher, I don’t have the option to fail. I need to lead these kids in the path of the show and gain as much trust as possible even if it is into the jaws of hell. But I still fear that I will not meet their expectations and I will fail them, the residency, my partner, my company and myself. The fear is unnecessary. I know what I’m doing and how to do it. I know that I’m good at it. I know that I go into work everyday without the conscious presence of fear. But it will always be somewhere stalking me, waiting, hungry.
Naturally, for the kids, to have no fear is to show you have no fear. Walk with confidence and have complete faith in what you are about to do. Even if you know it’s the worst decision ever. My clown teacher, Ronlin Foreman, told my class: “You must stop all the wars! You must go into Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, The Ivory Coast and stop all the killing. When they put you up against the wall, ready to kill you. You had better damn well be funny.” That was week 3 of clown. In life, perhaps the game of life and death, there is no room for fear. Fear does not take control. Fear does not cripple you. Fear does not exist. Fear cannot exist. Fear takes us away from what we are doing. Away from our passion, our play, our joy. With no guarantee of success we have to risk as much as possible to take success. Steal it. Be opportunistic scavengers. Life is take or be taken. We must risk. We must try. Fight for what we want without being afraid of not having it. Be decisive, be spontaneous, be anything! Be exceptional.
The kids don’t always understand how passionate I am about risk and I think they take it as me being mad at them sometimes. I’m not mad at all. They need a teacher and I need someone to teach. I need to know where they are comfortable and where I can push them. Make them step farther and father from the safety of shore until they are in the middle of the ocean swimming towards the island in the fog. But not alone. I’m with them. As an ensemble we are never alone. We are always together listing in the tides keeping each other from drowning. The question of death never comes up. We are not afraid together and I am not afraid alone.
With Love, All the Best, Safe Travels,