Sobbing through the smile, smiling through the sobs

I’m a crier. On a good day*, any number of things will bring me to tears: the adorableness of my kitties, a story on NPR, the sight of a little girl with her mom, a particular song, any old song, the Moth podcast, a lost bracelet, rain, wind, sunshine, autumn leaves, ice cream. Tears of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of frustration: crying is my go-to method of expression.


This weekend is a rough one; going forth I expect it always will be. Joy and sorrow are to be found in equal measure. Nine years ago tomorrow, September 26th, my dad passed away. It was not unexpected; he’d been ill and in decline for some time. Being prepared made it no easier. The date also marked my parents’ wedding anniversary. This year would’ve been their 53rd.

Joy has been restored to that date in great measure, though, as my sister chose it for her wedding. Tomorrow she celebrates her first full year of marriage, and I could not be happier.

We lost mom very suddenly a year ago this March, and while this time of year is not specifically tied to that, it was always important to our family. In addition to my folks’ anniversary, both of their birthdays fell within a week: Dad on the 28th, Mom on October 5th. My own anniversary falls on the 27th. 18 years in, and I’m feeling like we crazy kids just might make it.

Then there’s the Renaissance Faire.We’ve been at it every weekend since the end of May, and many of us put in time before that, as well as weekdays throughout. I’ve never had so many crazy stress dreams as I did this season. I fretted over every scene, fight, weapon, cast member, every minute detail. I was exhausted and nervous and full of self-doubt. Fortunately, I was surrounded by an amazing group of performers, combatants, choreographers, and friends. All of the stress** faded away once we opened, and the last eight weekends have been both challenge and delight.

*photo credit: Richard Jones*

*photo credit: Richard Jones*

Two days remain, and here’s where the tears threaten in earnest.

Physically, I’m done. I’m ready for a rest (though none is in sight until the end of October because two weekends at MDRF, travel to Florida, uke gig, work: all good things, but yeesh). Emotionally, I want to keep going. I want to swing swords and be heroic, to sing and laugh and flit through the woods. I want to be someone who’s cooler than I’ll ever be, to make theatre with people who inspire me, make me strive to be better. I’m not ready to let the Greenwood fade into the mist.


Give me a week or three. I’ll be fine, excited to have time to read, to work out, to hike, to cook, to stack firewood for the coming winter. For now, though, I’m going to cry. Happy, sad, nostalgic, hopeful: every tear will be all of those.

* Full disclosure: the week before ladytimes is the worst. Everything is filtered through a lens of hormones and ridiculousness. I can see it, I acknowledge it, I feel it all the same.
** well, most of it.

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