Happy New Year to one and all. I hope 2010 is already proving to be a good year for you.
For those of you who follow the Broadway theater scene (like I do) you have most likely heard of the acclaimed musical, “Wicked.” If not, it’s a show that inspires people to be authentic. The musical is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, written by Gregory Maguire, and while the book is a very different journey, it is still very insightful.
Recently, I was in NYC for a performance of my own which I was quite excited about. I got a random email from an old friend whom I’d known was living in NYC and performing in the Ensemble of “Wicked” on Broadway. I had known that she was understudying Elphaba, the lead and that she had only gone on as Elphaba once or twice in the year and a half she’d been with the show. But while I was in New York, my friend Chelsea got the call at noon that she was going on as the famed Green Witch. She remembered that I was coming to NYC that week and sent me an email asking if I was already in town and would I like to see the show that night. I jumped at the opportunity and was witness to the performance of a lifetime from this sweet young woman.
As I watched this amazing talent on stage, I was again reminded of how gripping this storyline is: the poor, green child born into a world that doesn’t understand what it is to be different or unique. A world that is afraid of what it doesn’t understand and cannot appreciate “gifts” that are atypical. As I watched Chelsea capture the hearts of a sold-out theater with her portrayal of this misunderstood, powerful, beautiful woman, I was also inspired.
When Elphaba was trying to “fit in” and not show her gifts and strengths, she was unhappy and not very powerful. When she embraced her gifts, she became not only powerful in magic, but in spirit. Her strength and beauty grew from her acceptance of herself and her authenticity. As the story played on, she became less “wicked” than the people around her…..the “normal” people. These people, whom she desperately wanted to accept her, were the ones who were insecure about their own uniqueness and so they tried to cut Elphaba down and make her feel as though she had nothing to offer.
I find that as I get older, I am accepting fewer people into my inner circle. I have unfortunately discovered that people who are unhappy with themselves do not want people around them to succeed. A good friend once said to me “People who are hurting inside, hurt others.” Too true. But, through being with good hearted people, who truly love themselves, I have learned that I can soar with them still beside me. My inner circle is filled with people who love my gifts and are not intimidated by my rather outspoken nature. They understand and appreciate both my musical and life experiences and do not try to push ahead, but instead they push me ahead. They are not hurting, so they do not hurt. I learn from these friends. I learn how to be better at sharing my gifts. I also learn how to be better at helping them soar with me beside them, cheering them on.
So embrace your “green,” your authenticity and wear it proudly because everyone deserves a chance to fly.