Photo credit: Casey Gardner Photography
As we approach the closing weekend of JUMP, I’ve been thinking about ways to say goodbye to Fay (my character in the play) and this experience. The last two months have been both slow and fast, a whirlwind of emotions and an absolute dream.
To start the process of saying goodbye, I want to take a look at what I’ve learned.
I am worthy. I spent most of the rehearsal process worrying about whether or not they got the right person for the job. The script is NOT easy, and it didn’t come to me automatically. It took work, and it took a team to bring it all together. I didn’t find my confidence until opening night. Once the show opened, I found that confidence, my voice, and I took wings! I’m doing just fine. Thanks to this project, I refuse to second-guess myself on the next. If I do the work, take direction, stay open to new ideas and depend on my God, I will always be fine. I was worthy before the job, and I will still be worthy when it’s over.
Protect my soul and my body. I took vitamins daily, got plenty of rest, drank lots of water and said ‘no’ often. I knew going into the rehearsal process that this show would take a lot out of me, and I’m proud to say that I took care of myself the whole process. One week I even turned down auditions, so I could finish memorizing my lines. I didn’t allow stress or negativity into my personal space. If something popped up, I handled it quickly and got refocused. JUMP can be emotionally draining, but thankfully, I’ve had plenty to give every night. Having the stamina to pull this off gives me hope for my future in this business.
Anger is a healthy. There is a moment in the show when Fay gets angry. Every time I approached this moment in rehearsal, I would feel hurt, confused, even sad, but never angry. Our director eventually talked to me about it. We realized that anger is almost foreign for me. After years of training myself to work around my anger and control my emotions, I almost forgot what it felt like to express it.
When I first started working on it, it scared me. That feeling of being out of control scared me. But once I got through it, I felt a great sense of relief. Holy crap! It felt good to let it out. I could think more clearly once it was out. I didn’t have to suppress it or control it. I just needed to express it, and everything was okay. I’ve been angry about quite a few things in my life and suppressed it. I can see now why it took me so long to work through it.
I wish I could go back in time and tell myself it’s okay to find a safe space to scream, curse, stomp, and throw stuff. On the other side, I breathe better and think clearer. Just let it out! It’s healthy.
This can be my life’s work. During this run I’ve handled my business. I managed my personal and professional life well. I didn’t miss a day of work. I was on time every day. I did a play and an episode of television, and neither conflicted with the other. I was able to do both! My home didn’t fall apart, and I am happy! I decided about six months ago to make acting my professional focus. Now I know I can do it.
I’ve gained so much from this experience, and I’m confident I’ve given something of value as well. This show has been an absolute dream, and I’m honored to be a part of it. After we close, I’m going to take a few days off to celebrate my hard work and a successful run. If you’ve seen the show, thank you so much for going on the crazy ride with us. If you live in Atlanta and haven’t seen it, catch JUMP before we close! You won’t be disappointed.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Prov. 27:6
This week I hurt someone really close to me, and the next morning I felt like trash. The night before, I confronted a dear family member about something that I wanted. We disagreed about how to make that happen. We both spoke our truth. We handled each other with gentle words, but my final decision hurt someone I care about. I can’t fix it. It sucks.
At the beginning of my soul-care (self-care) journey, I didn’t know this would be a part of it. When I sat across from my therapist for the first time, we talked through my personal issues and patterns that I needed to grow past. We knew that I was dealing with depression and anxiety, but I didn’t know what was triggering either of them. By the end of the session, we came up with two goals for my growth: learning to trust my instincts and learning to enjoy my life.
My instincts and I have had a very interesting relationship over the years. I’ve always been hyper aware of what I believe the Spirit of God and my intuition are telling me. I KNOW what my spirit is telling me to do. I’ve been like that at least since I was twelve years old. The problem is that many times my spirit will tell me to do something that is in direct opposition to what someone I love wants me to do. When it comes to my inner circle, I’m a people pleaser. I want to have my family’s support at all times and at all costs. As a result, I’ve often violated or completely ignored my spirit, my gut instinct. And that’s costly.
For years, I’ve chosen to honor the people in my life over that gut instinct. Hence the depression. I was constantly suppressing my own voice for the voice of others out of care. The problem with that is that my spirit has never steered me wrong. I don’t really understand it, but it’s true. When I listen to it, I’m amazed at how spot on it can be.
So, for the last eight months I’ve been practicing slowing down, listening to that inner voice and then honoring it. I do what it’s telling me to do, even if it feels scary. The results: the circumstances of my life have blossomed in the most beautiful way. My marriage is the best it’s ever been. I’m enjoying motherhood after years of frustration. I’m finally working consistently as an actor on projects that I’m passionate about. Overall, I have more peace and joy, and it isn’t because I’m grinding harder. It’s because I’m finally honoring that inner voice.
I started with small decisions like whether or not I should attend an event. Now, I’m working on the bigger questions about my relationships and life’s work. This past week, I had to make one of those decisions. I prayed about the decision before having the conversation with my loved one. I took time to sift through my emotions. I sought out a ton of counsel, so I wasn’t out just making a decision without perspective.
I made the decision based on my truth, had the conversation, learned that my loved one was hurt, felt like trash, got quiet, then took care of myself. By the end of this cycle, I was better. I was even proud of myself, not for hurting someone I loved. That’s never the goal. I was proud of myself for honoring my needs, telling the truth and speaking with gentle words. I was proud of myself for having empathy for someone else’s pain. I was proud of myself for taking care of myself. And that night, I went to the theatre and played the lead of a great show.
Self-care sounds cute. It looks sexy on paper. But there are some days when self-care means being a grown up and confronting things you would much rather avoid. I’m learning that now. Only time will tell if I made the right decision.
I may have made a mistake, but strangely enough, I’m okay with that. I’d hate if that mistake was made at the expense of someone’s feelings. But mistakes can be fixed in time. I’d rather fail forward than go back to being a person who lies to herself, ignores her spirit and pretends with others to avoid pissing someone off.
There is also a chance that I made the right decision, and we’ll both be better for it in the end. I pray that it works out that way.
But for now, my reality looks like this:
This week I hurt someone I love. I pray that we both heal in time. This week I also grew up a little by speaking my truth. For that I’m proud.
About me . . .
I'm Cyrah Hill. I'm a woman of faith, an actor and an everyday black girl.