As this year comes to a close, so does a 10-year journey that completely changed everything about my life. This is that story.
After spending 10 years studying, learning, improving, exploring, and trying to master the arts of stage combat, I started a new journey. At the end of 2009 I decided to give up my career in Information Technology. I was making good money, but I was completely miserable with my job. I had started working at a university as adjunct for their stage combat classes on the side. At this point in time, I had run my own studio for about 10 years. A mentor of mine suggested that I refocus my life, and I did. I packed up and sold my house, moved to a new town and decided to pursue teaching as a full-time profession. Except it was not that easy. Although I was offered a position within the first month of moving, I was not qualified for the job, as I did not have a college degree, much less a master’s degree.
So there I was, moved into a small crappy apartment, in the arts district, and unable to get full-time employment. Yes, I was teaching as adjunct at two universities, and it paid well, but not a career. So I made the choice to go back to school, with the focus of getting my masters degree so I can teach, and eventually run a department. Step one, move, step two, enroll in college.
Going back to school, or for the first time in my case, in your 30’s is a bit daunting. Everyone in your classes seem so young, and although you get along with everyone, you really don’t bond with them in a way you would someone your own age. I was fortunate to have some great instructors, and with hard work, and a lot of hours, I was able to finish with my BFA in Performance in two-and-a-half years. So here we are in May of 2013, and I now have a degree. That’s great and all, but not what I need to teach full time, I need a terminal degree, a masters. Fortunately, every graduate school I applied to had accepted me. Now it was just a mater of deciding where to go. My wife, who made the decision to go back to school herself, was willing to follow me wherever I went. So one day, I put flags on a map and asked her where she wanted to live. New Orleans was her selection. So off to Louisiana, and the University of New Orleans, to earn my Master’s in Arts Administration. Well, after the first semester I realized that, 1 – I love Arts Administration, 2 – It only offers an MA, not a MFA or Ph.D. so I switched majors to Theatre Directing, which offered a MFA, a terminal degree. A job degree. So three years later, in May 2016 and now with a piece of paper in my hand fresh off the printer, I am now a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Theatre. And jobless. Yup, jobless. It would take another year of resumes, CV’s, applications, job hunting, phone calls, interviews, and all the other work that goes into job hunting at the college level before I would land a job. Yet one day in June of 2017, as I am driving through Denver heading to Central City, CO where I am on my second year teaching at Central City Opera summer program, I get the call I have been waiting for, I was offered a job. Yes, I am now an employed teacher!
And after my summer work, I drive to Kansas, get an apartment, then drive back to New Orleans to pack my old apartment up, and move to Kansas. Where I start work at a community college. I enjoyed working there, and cutting my teeth in academia, which let me tell you, is considerably different from just being an adjunct. So much more than just teaching. So Much! The school soon became a toxic work environment for many employees. My second year, I was the only fine arts staff that remained who wasn’t fired or quit. By the end of my second year, I was keeping an eye out on the employment boards. And fortunately, a nearby university was looking to hire a chair of theatre, and instructor. I figured why not apply. Why not? Well, turns out it was a good thing I did. And after another summer in CO, I was driving back to pack up an apartment and moving to Joplin, MO, and in August of 2019 I started my new career as a department chair, and all the new world that goes into that.
So, it’s been an exciting 10 years, but those years are done. I no longer need to fight and struggle to pay bills, or to fight and struggle to stay on track. I am on track, earlier than planned, as being a dept chair wasn’t in my goal list for another 3 years.
Here I am at the end of my 10yr plan, and I have achieved success. Now I am going to set a new 10yr plan, but this time focused on me and my inner self. As the title of this site suggest, I have been a bald man fighting for many years. Now it is time to settle down with myself, and rediscover me and my art.
This website was conceived a year ago while still living in Kansas. It was going to be something to help me pass the time and get away from the boredom of a small town. Well that never happened. This site has sat on the sidelines like a gift exercise bike. If it was a solid tangible object, I promise it would be covered with laundry. With my focus changing, I am going to revisit this site, get it up and running, updated, and try to post on it weekly.
For all of you who have gone through your journey, congratulations, maybe some of what I have talked about rings a true for you. For those of you going though your journey, enjoy it, go with it, and keep focused. Focus is easy to lose. Especially when it seems everything is going against you, or that your efforts are getting you nowhere. Just keep at it, keep focused, stay determined.
So this is where I am at now. I invite you to go on this journey with me. I have no idea where it is going to go, as I have so many projects I am wanting to work on. However, I still have a full-time job that I love, shows to direct, and work to do. So let’s get started….