I’m in rehearsal for a Christmas show. Well, that’s how I like to say it. But the people working with me will say that I wrote and designed a Christmas show and now I’m directing it. Difference of perspective, I suppose.
So the other night we were rehearing, and started at the top of the show. It starts with O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and everyone sings together at the front of the stage in a line. It’s not particularly weird that the whole cast is female. It’s not even particularly weird that they’re all light-haired. But what I noticed that night about my whole cast blew me away: they’re all amazingly beautiful.
Now, let me explain: this was a Tuesday night. It was drizzly outside, and windy. Everyone had been at work all day. Most of them had taken their shoes off, and we’d just eaten big plates of Thai take-out. No one was wearing makeup. You could say that we were not exactly dressed for the prom. And yet, as I stood there watching them sing, I was struck by how beautiful they are just they way they are.
At a time when the world is talking so much about bullying, and when culture is so focused on how we all look, this moment was refreshing to say the least. As I get ready each morning I frequently find myself caught up in the conventions of perfection – hair, make up, clothes – it feels like every time I go out I have to look like I’m on parade. To see these other ladies shining after a long day, a commute to the rehearsal space, and a hurried dinner gives me hope, and a resolution to remember what we’re all told as children: it’s not the wrapping paper that shows the quality of the gift.