Monday evening I got kicked in the face. Or did I allow myself to get kicked in the face? Or did I attack my friend’s boot with my eye socket? Personal responsibility can be rather painful.
Setting the stage:
I was at rehearsal, doing my best to portray demonic Cheryl in Evil Dead the Musical. Cheryl pretty much lives in the cellar, locked away by her brother Ash. On cue, I raised the cellar door just enough to stick my face out of the hole in the floor. I peered forward and for a split second, I saw Ash’s boot directly in front of my…holy mother of…that was my eye or eye socket or some part of my face that at one moment was perfect and then…breathe…crap that hurts…breathe dammit…don’t cry…try not to cry…fine, cry, maybe crying will make the pain stop!
So, yes, it would appear that I got kicked in the face. And crying about it felt good, for about a second.
Here is what a swift kick has taught me about personal responsibility:
- I saw the boot before it collided with my face and did nothing. Doing nothing is never the right answer.
- I had a clear sightline of the boot. The man playing Ash could not see my face and feels like dirt for landing said boot on my face. Look out for your fellow man. Cooperation and compassion hurt less than getting kicked in the face.
- Five days later, I still look like something out of a made-for-Lifetime TV movie, all for the sake of standing in my self-proclaimed spot regardless of consequences or extenuating circumstances. Dark sunglasses and pancake makeup do little to hide my narcissism. One moment of putting my needs before all else has consequences, and unless I like the swollen and purple look, the consequences will not be good.
- I cannot stress this enough: Getting kicked in the face hurts. It is a shocking violation of personal space. My world rattled. I became violently aware of everything and everyone around me. My negligent action (why on Earth didn’t I move?) was magnified in my mind’s eye. And I’m better for it. Everyone should get kicked in the face at least once in life.
So, yes, getting kicked in the face turned out to be quite an educational experience, one that I will never forget on or off stage. I encourage you to consider two questions:
- How have you been responsible for those times in life you were “kicked in the face?”
- Just for funsies, who would you offer a swift kick? (Notice I said, “offer.” I in no way condone any of you to go around kicking people in the face. Unless of course you will smile when someone kicks you in return. We must accept what we give out. Personal responsibility is a bitch we must all learn to love.)
Update! Another painful lesson learned…
Last night, while at Evil Dead rehearsal, a wooden clock fell off the wall and hit me in the head. No, this is not a lesson in wooden clocks and wether it is safe to stand under one. This is a lesson in overcompensation, a common pitfall to personal responsibility. Rather than accept the fact that my performance last night was less than stellar with missed dance steps and a complete lack of oxygen during a solo which caused me yet again to push raspy, caterwauling from my throat, I decided to overcompensate during my death scene.
Oh, sure, my singing and dancing were a steaming pile of something that should be stuffed in a paper bag, lit on fire, and set upon my high school Algebra I teacher’s front porch, but my death scene, I decided, was going to be worthy of the horror flick hall of fame. I positioned myself in the cellar and thrust the door back with such exuberance that it smacked the back wall and propelled the clock from the mantle. Yes, I am positive that the simultaneous “gun shot” and my blood mixed with the fake blood spewing around the stage made for one heck of a special effect, but unfortunately I am now responsible for two rehearsals coming to a screeching halt. This time with literal screeching.
1. Don’t overcompensate for misgivings. Accept your faults and work to improve.
2. Wooden clocks smashing into your head causes a lot of blood and hurts worse than getting kicked in the face. Avoid falling clocks at all costs.