• Kiarra Donnelly

If I Were Never to Act Again

Updated: Aug 7

I would be grateful.

Art by Stacy Jackson

If I were never to act again...

I would be grateful.

I would be grateful, because I am more creative for it.

I have transcribed text on a page into an abstract mural in my mind. I have improvised dances to unheard melodies. I have chewed on a word and relished in its shapes and sounds. I have trusted my instincts, and I have tried on their antithesis for size. I have carved a new world from a single instruction; I have taken another’s instruction and interpreted it for myself. I have learned to love asking the question {why}, and finding the answer within. I have rejoiced in a symphony of celebration, “I am a creative.”

I would be grateful, because I am braver for it. I have stood before thousands and shared my soul. I have put my heart on the line for the sliver of a chance that a role could belong to me. I have chosen material that challenges me, for there is no growth in the comfort zone. I have spoken up when my body trembled, and have stood tall when my voice craved shelter. I have united the two when I thought I might burst into a dust ball of insecurity. I have learned to find the light, and stand in it unapologetically. I have time and time again chosen the bravest choice of honesty and vulnerability in my work and daily life.

I have whispered again and again to my soft, resilient soul, “I am brave.”

I would be grateful, because I am more self-aware for it.

I have learned that my voice is vital. I can tell a story in a way unlike any other being. There are some there that will relate to my storytelling above any other. I have learned that words are a scaffold to inspire hope, beauty, and worthiness. I have seen that words are a weapon of cruel dismissal and shackled shame. I have misused. I have learned. I have reframed. I now know that intent and impact are different things. I take responsibility for the results of my actions. I move forward, better for it. I walk through the world with a galaxy of scars, mercies, victories, defeats, hopes, and disappointments contained in my being . I claim

self-awareness, and I humbly state, “I am still learning.”

I would be grateful, because I am more sensitive for it.

I have discovered that every ounce of human expression is sacred: a sigh holds the precious expression of a thought; a tear is a particle from within escaping to breathe new air. Shared breath is the universal language. The ability to make another laugh reveals our inner-medics. The ability to be laughed is the greatest gift. To listen is to love. To meet eyes is to know. To seek authenticity is to live. I have embraced my power of expression with care and pride, affirming with gratitude that, “I have an oh-so-sensitive soul.”

I would be grateful, because I am more empathetic for it. I’ve been taught that every character believes they are the “good guy” in their story. There is no bad behavior for the sake of bad behavior. We act out in response to our experiences, our environment, and our belief systems. We all have life objectives, year objectives, day objectives, minute objectives, and second objectives. All humans are made of the same stuff. We desire safety, connection, and happiness. We all know deep pain. We all know glittering joy. We are all afraid. We all want to be understood. I seek to understand you. I seek to understand. I seek. “I am seeking empathy.”

If I were never to act again, I would lose the most beautiful community I have ever known. Slowly, my sense of childhood play would drift on. With it, the belief that I could craft a better world with my art. The "house lights" would dim on the dream of my adolescence. New dreams would take its place. I would leave my mark in a different way. I would still be enough. But, nothing could ever erase the theatre’s crimson-curtain-red mark on my heart.

I believe I will act again.

But if not, I will be grateful to have acted at all.


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