Falling With Style: All I Do is Win Win Win, No Matter What

Helen Laroche on her reaction to the Tony Awards this past weekend.

I’m still reeling from the Tony awards. I mean, if you watched the opening number and weren’t moved, even a little bit, by the sight of so many talented people working in tandem to deliver a mind-blowing spectacle, then you might be dead inside.

Didn’t Debra’s slack-jawed look of childish wonder speak for all of us?

Didn’t Debra’s slack-jawed look of childish wonder speak for all of us?

And yet there was a teeny-tiny piece of me that refused to enjoy it, and instead was jealous. Jealous of the dancers, who are so much better than I’ll ever be! Jealous of the singers, who have the drive to get to Broadway! Jealous of my many fellow CMU graduates who swept the Tonys! If I hadn’t intervened, that little voice might have ruined my enjoyment of the whole thing.

I find myself hearing that little voice a lot when it comes to performance. I hear about others’ achievements and instead of feeling pride, love, or awe, I feel jealous instead. Sometimes (and I’m not proud of it) I take some happiness or solace knowing, for example, that an oft-hired female of my type was not cast in a particular show. It’s as if I’m operating under the assumption that either that person can achieve, succeed, and be happy, or I can. Their loss is my gain, and vice versa.

But the gains I make by listening to that little conniving voice are hollow; the losses, utterly devastating. And worst of all, I miss out on enjoying other people’s heartfelt artmaking.

I’m reminded of a mantra I’ve heard many times in the past few months, first at the Theatre Bay Area ATLAS program and many times since: “A rising tide floats all boats.” Instead of listening to the little voice that hopes others lose in order for me to win, I’d like to focus instead on rejoicing in others’ big art-making achievements. Some days, that’s easier said than done … but I’m a work in progress.

If you’d like to join me in my visualization, picture this: your mortal artistic enemy (the guy that keeps getting cast over you; the gal whose play keeps getting slotted while yours languishes) on a podium accepting the Pulitzer-Tony-Oscar for Best Artist. And just keep sitting there until it makes you smile!

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