Cast in the Wrong Role
December 18, 2014
Recently, I volunteered for a Christmas show at my church. The guest director had heard I was a good singer, but had no idea of what kind of singer I was (pop, jazz, Broadway, opera, country). He cast seven other people in this show, having heard and worked with all of the others. As each cast member got his/her beautiful solo, specifically chosen for his/her voice, I listened intently for mine. When the director came to me, I was told my song was a raucous country song, arranged by Toby Keith, who couldn’t be less like me than a piece of coal is to a cut piece of glass.
As the temporary music coordinator at church and a volunteer for this show, my job has been to undergird the production in a way that is helpful and useful. I have learned all of the songs for the chorale. In fact, most days in rehearsal I’m the one who has his part memorized before the music director ever plays it on the piano. So, I spend most rehearsals listening to the music director painfully pound out parts for the non-music readers.
I’m told I am supposed to begin this show on stage by myself, before the chorale enters the stage. As you can probably guess, I have little confidence that I can be someone I’m not. I have spent my entire adult life teaching the principles of living an authentic life and feel vastly uncomfortable doing 0therwise.
What should I do? I ask myself. If I go to the director six days before the show, I sound like a whining diva. If I simply bite the bullet and sing the song, I put the show in jeopardy, because I simply can’t pull off starting this show the way it was intended. After rehearsing the song for my mother and sister, who are always supportive, they said, “You are not going to sing that song at church, are you?”
I just moved from Nashville where I had coached 100s of country singers for almost thirty years. I know what a country singer should sound like. I am not one of them. Country is not in my blood. When I would try to demonstrate for one of my country singers, I would have to mimic what I thought the song should sound like. In other words, there was no real place of authenticity to go to get to the sound I needed, so I had to play a role for which I would never be cast. As I would listen to myself or hear myself on rehearsal recordings demonstrating, I would always cringe listening.
Many people play parts in life that they simply were not cast for. I see this most often with family men in their mid-thirties to fifty. Most of the guys I have seen over the years for life coaching were younger men when they got married in a time when marriage was a given, especially in rich cultural instances.
After having a family, these men don’t have the ability to pursue new work, because they can’t chance not having an income for their young families. They often can’t move somewhere else on a whim. They certainly wouldn’t leave the wife and kids, because they no longer want the responsibility. So, they simply feel stuck with the cards they had dealt themselves.
In a world where most young people don’t get married till their late twenties and thirties, now, the older men look with awe at the young people taking time to discover themselves and their passions. Depressed men in the late thirties to fifty range are in epidemic proportions. We don’t hear much about this depression, because no fathers and husbands are willing to admit it to anyone, not even their wives. They would much rather immerse themselves into sports, addictive behavior, philandering, and simple emotional negligence, than abandon their responsibilities to their loving families.
In some ways, you have to applaud their fortitude. In six days, my commitment to this project and being cast in the wrong role will be over, and I’ll go on my merry way, trying not to get stuck in the same situation again. Helping men find hope for their lives who have chosen paths outside of their passion is the hardest place a coach has to go, because not many choices exist for these men.
Lack of options is usually why most people get depressed in the first place. So, a good life coach tries to help a depressed person find healthy options and new ways of looking at old paradigms. Most times, I have asked the men to take time out for themselves and do something selfish and impassioned. But, even then, a lot of men don’t have the extra time or money to do anything more than what they already do to keep the family and home running appropriately, working on the house and the yard on their time off from a fifty-hour work week and wearing clothes from the Thrift Store, to have the money to buy their children school clothes and books.
The one bit of advice I can give to anyone in this situation is to get real and stay real. Be honest with the people around you, if it’s at all possible. If you don’t find honesty is a possibility, find someone who will listen to your gripes and help you see a brighter future ahead, even if it’s just a friend. Sometimes, just getting to voice your thoughts helps extinguish them. Often, one of those fathers will hear the sound of his child saying, “I love you, Daddy!” and everything will feel better for the moment. They realize that the bigger picture is not completely about their own happiness.
Depression about life is often lifted when a client does charity work or feeds the poor. You can get a true perspective on life when you get out of your own comfort zone and look at the bigger picture. Know, too, that most commitments have an ending. Look toward to that end and know that eventually you will be able to make stronger choices for yourself, even if your time is years away.
I had one fifty-five-year-old single father just marry off his last son. He told me that, finally, he was going to sell his house, get a condo, and begin to search for a suitable mate. This was a guy I dated in the midst of his large responsibility. I remember that I never got to be first in his life. As a result, I moved on. The guy he chooses now will be lucky to have this man. He is a great person. Without the burden of children and a home, I’m sure he will be a much better companion and mate.
A Cookbook, a Novel, a Self-Help Book, a Yoga DVD! All great gifts from your friend—Bo Sebastian. Simply go to this link at www.Amazon.com or type in my name. Find great gifts for your family members and friends and support another friend in the process! Thank you and happy Holidays! –Bo
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Chosen to show his new hypnotherapeutic techniques on The Learning Channel (TLC) and also given the opportunity to teach at the world conference for Learning, and received the award of excellence for Helping Overcome Obesity in Nashville, Bo Sebastian is the writer and director of Finding Authentic You and Uncommon Gay Spiritual Warrior. Go directly to Amazon/Amazon Kindle to buy any of his wonderfully inspired books: ]