Thursday, March 2, 2017

Why do I Identify with The Waitress?

This is an honest question. I haven't quite figured it out yet. 

Last summer I watched the Tonys. I was excited to see if Hamilton was going to run away with each award. Let's be honest. Hamilton is something of a cultural phenomenon and it deserved every award it received. I was hoping that Sara Bareilles would win an award for her work on The Waitress. I bought Sara's albums of songs from the production, performed by Sara herself. I had a strong reaction to the song "She Used to Be Mine." When I finally got around to listening to the original cast album I didn't like it. It wasn't Sara. I finally gave it another chance.

It's amazing. 

I think that in any year where Hamilton wasn't winning every award, The Waitress would have won at least a couple of awards. Jessie Mueller does an amazing job at portraying the title character. All the characters feel real and authentic. 

Here's the crux of my title question. Why do I identify with a musical about a woman in an abusive marriage and is pregnant with a baby she doesn't want?

She feels trapped in her life, like she isn't in control of what happens to her. It seems as though life will never get better. I know that feeling well. I don't feel it so much anymore, but I did for quite a while.

She doesn't feel like she's allowed to dream. She doesn't dare hope for a better life. That was my life for so long. I felt I had to be practical. That I couldn't pursue anything that I wanted to do. Decisions had to be based on what would be best for my life. Nothing frivolous. Sometimes I feel myself sliding back into that mindset and I have to fight to remember that I'm allowed to dream and pursue those dreams to the best of my ability. 

At one point in the play Jenna asks another character if he's happy. He replies that he's "Happy enough." Jenna finds that interesting, but she wants to be more than "happy enough." She wants to be happy. So much of my life is dictated by what I know I don't like. And I'm glad that I know what I don't like. However, I also feel that life can't be lived by the process of elimination. I need to find what I like. And go for it.

Hmmm, maybe it does make sense for me to identify with The Waitress. 

Good to know.

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