On Stage Again

I spend a lot of time backstage. This photo is from one of those times on a date. It’s where all the fun really is. I can watch life’s dramas, emotional exhibitions, and audience reactions safely from my spot without personal risk. It’s not me on stage, after all. And when the show is finally over, the after party begins. Those are the times I like best.

I do not like to go on stage myself. I will help get everything ready and clean up after. Anything, just please don’t call me up there! I have horrible stage fright and will try to run away.


I can’t run away from some stages though. Neither can you. At some point in life, loss makes us all forced performers on the Stages of Grief.

Showtime is always a surprise, and I’ve never been late no matter how hard I’ve tried. Once I entered the venue the first time, I’ve never been allowed to leave.

I perform without a script, switching stages, switching roles, never knowing which will be next. It doesn’t really matter though. The show is never over until it is.

All I can do is keep performing. There is always an audience, even when they’re not watching. Critics, who always seem to forget their own forced scenes on these same stages, start spouting out reviews aloud during my renditions.

I hate it each and every time, but eventually it ends. I know now the final stage always comes, even if I can’t see it. That one is the easiest, but it is a bitch to get to.

There is always some cleaning up to do after, but at least nothing needs to be set up for the next shows. Then it’s off to the After Party, also known as life. It can seem to go on forever before I am inevitably called onstage again.

Everywhere I look, I see stages. My friends, coworkers, patients, acquaintances, and complete strangers all caught up in their roles. I empathize, trying not to be that ‘helpful’ critic, and wait patiently for them to rejoin the party after.


Now my name has been called again, and I have been dragged back onstage. I am usually grateful for the dissociation from PTSD that numbs my stage fright, but it is noticeably absent this time. And as an extra terrifying bonus I found out I am starring not only with that very same PTSD demon live on multiple stages simultaneously and without a net, but that my family will be up here performing with me.

This time audience is much larger, far more public, and the critics can destroy lives. I am fumbling through my first stage direction of ‘turns back on dear, trusted friend’, and I don’t have any idea which stage I am on at all right now. At least my husband and I know it will eventually end, one way or another.

This is Little One’s first show, though. She has no idea she’s going onstage yet, or that she can not really ever leave the theater. She’s being very brave so far for an eight year old here far too many years too soon.

We will get through this. Keep the After Party going, and we will join you when we can. I wish you a long break before you are called onstage.

Amended later:

I came up with a simple summary for those who actually *do* care, and have no idea, who ask what is going on.

“A very dear & trusted friend sexually assaulted my youngest daughter.”

For me, that sums it all up very nicely.

I swear to God I will rip the throat out of the next person that asks, always immediately after that synopsis, “How old is she?”


I told Sir this morning on the phone, and tweeted “Desperately seeking that Anger Stage.”

Too bad the “helpful critics” are always the first victims.

Here’s hoping that anger turns in the right direction soon…

Sinful SundaySee who else is being sinful with me this week.

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