I see them pretending to fake fall over one another, laughing as they speak in funny accents and trying to run across the stage in too high heels. They are full of joy and life, teenagers who have forgotten that they are supposed to be moody, temperamental. Teenagers who are playing as if their lives depended on it; and who knows? Maybe they do. High school can beat you up, and for a few hours every day after school, these kids just play.
I wouldn’t have envisioned two years ago when my husband retired after 21 years of Army life and we settled into this quiet East Tennessee town that I would find so much freedom and joy directing theatre in a space full of teenagers, but I am. They constantly remind me that if we just let go of who we think that we are supposed to be and step into who we actually ARE, creative freedom follows.
In middle school and high school when our insecurities begin to bubble up and close off our creativity, these kids are in wide-open freefall play… and it is so damn inspiring. Inspiring, and reminding me that my body might house extra pounds and wrinkles, but is still strong enough to moonwalk across my kitchen floor; that my tired brain can still remember every lyric to “Hanging Tough” as soon as it comes on the radio and my overflowing heart will still sit and break wide open when Johnny and Baby dance at the end of “Dirty Dancing”, and through it all, I can still create. I SHOULD still play and create. I can write and dance and sing off-key and color outside the lines too. There is not an age limit on creativity. We were built to create.
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