This weekend was a big weekend for me. You may think, PAH! You, dressing up as a Tudor, performing? Difficult? Noway! But I swear to you it’s true! Performing yes, comes naturally to me but TSW really knocked it out of me and for a year I’ve been hibernating like a tortoise in my little Victorian terrace shell!
To put myself out there on the stage allowing everyone to stare at me, judging my skills as an actor is something I’m used to. Having people judging me because of the way my skin looks is also something I’m used to but combining the two really turned up the pressure. Pressure= Stress. Stress= ITCHING!
It was a weird little feeling. I was so excited to be back doing what I love more than anything but terrified of throwing myself out there for all eyes to see. What if I can’t do it? What if I have a flare up and need to have a scratching fit? What if I start shedding skin everywhere? What if I’m just not ready for this yet? So traumatic.
The stage isn’t a place whereby you can fade into the back ground going unnoticed. I will be centre of attention, I will have everyone focused on me, judging my ability to act. Little would they know just how hard acting would be for me this time. Not only am I Suzannah Shakespeare, but I’m also performing as a different me. The professional, confident actress with no troubles in the world. How inaccurate. It wasn’t my ultimate best performance I’ve ever done but considering the circumstances I think did pretty well.
The anxiety I felt the night before heading down to Stratford-Upon-Avon kept me awake, which was rather a good thing considering I was on a 12 hour night shift.
I know you all say I’m so strong to get through this with a positive attitude but I still get the same insecure feelings as you all do. I still get worried, anxious, upset. I certainly felt all of this whilst on the journey down there. It was going to be the first time I’d have saw the wonderful people at Tudor World for over a year, what if they don’t recognise this new me? So much has happened in the last year that I feel like a completely different person and what if they don’t like this new Amy-Lou?
Turns out all of this worrying was for absolutely nothing because as soon as I took the first step onto the original 16th century cobbles that lead up to the museum I felt like I’d come back home and I was so relaxed. I felt inspired, rejuvenated, alive!
It was amazing to once again get stuck into rehearing and to be working with my awesome colleagues again! I was so busy it really distracted me from my itchy nightmare. My colleagues made me feel so at ease, even getting changed in front of them just wasn’t an issue at all. It literally took so much man strength to squeeze me into my dress. I’ve put on a whole stone since I last tried to fasten up this little number. I’m pretty sure that’s down to not being able to do any exercise since TSW because sweat and eczema do not get on! If you could have seen me trying to get into this dress I guarantee you’d have been on your back laughing!
Once in that dress, I felt amazing! I felt like me again! The ‘me’ that loves performing, that loves making an audience laugh and loves being complimented. I DID IT! I finally, after 11 months of TSW got back on that stage! I am so proud of myself for it! If we can get through all the pain steroids have induced on us and still stay positive, we can do ANYTHING!
I spent a day having people take my photo, calling me beautiful because of the dress and I loved every minute of it! My skin looked great and I felt great! When you’re smiling no-one even notices your imperfections because smiling is so contagious. I was at no point questioned about my eczema and for once, I felt normal. People didn’t want a photo with me because I was the girl in the paper for having a skin condition, I was just a girl playing a character in a Tudor costume anonymous to the general public and I couldn’t have felt happier.
I still stick by not pushing yourself too far and accepting your limits but sometimes you’ve just got to get out there and start living again! Challenge yourself! Whether that’s leaving the house, getting out of bed or even just making a cup of tea, try it. It is just such a rewarding feeling when you’ve successfully achieved whatever challenge you may have set yourself. It will be worth every ache, pain and effort to just feel proud. Just replacing that feeling of failure with success will pick you up if you’re having a down day. It will make you feel positive, it will make you realise you can still live life, and it will give you a taste of what life may feel like when you get to the end of our super dark, itchy tunnel. If you don’t succeed the first time, get up and try again, don’t give up. What’s that song about getting knocked down and getting back up again? There’s no such word as can’t here, if I can do it, you can do it. We are all in this together and together we will beat this!
What challenges have you set yourself? What challenges have you already successfully completed? Or what are you currently trying to work towards?
I want to hear all! 🙂
PS. If you like ‘The Terrible Tudors’, you will love ‘The Falstaff Experience. Tudor World’. Check out the website for up and coming events… http://www.falstaffexperience.co.uk/