I went to see Cyrano de Bergerac at the American Shakespeare Center last night. It was a fantastic production which included a performance of a lifetime for ASC regular actor, John Harrell. I was so moved by his portrayal of the role, the beauty of the play’s translation by Anthony Burgess and the subject matter of the plot that I awoke crying. Please know that I am rarely thus moved by a play but some of my emotional outburst has to do with my own frustrating, debilitating insecurities about relationships in general but primarily romantic ones.
The title character, Cyrano, is in love with his beautiful and intelligent cousin, Roxanne. Though he is an exceptional wordsmith with a lightening wit and phenomenal swordsman, he feels that because he has an unusually big nose, that she could never love him. So instead of putting himself out on an emotional limb and pursuing his dream girl, he agrees to woo her with his words for the handsome, Christian (a fellow soldier) with whom Roxanne is infatuated. The soul bearing beauty of Cyrano’s words win Roxanne who marries Christian while believing he is the master of expression. The two men are instantly sent to war and Cyrano writes gorgeous letters to Roxanne on behalf of Christian which make her fall even more in love to the point of realizing that the soul of this man exceeds any possible physical beauty . Too late does Roxanne come to learn that she really loves Cyrano and everyone is sad for the loss of joy that could have been between them.
In many ways I am like Cyrano. It is so obvious that he must take the risk to experience real love and yet despite his gifts and bravery in battle, he cannot bring himself to claim the love that is being offered him. He is a big ass chicken. His insecurity about his looks prevents him from taking the risk and therefore both he and Roxanne suffer.
I am a big ass chicken too. I am so fearful of rejection and pain that I put up walls of judgment that keep people at a distance. At least this has been my historical behavior. I have worked hard and continue to work to become a better person in order to be confident enough to learn to identify and invite the right kind of people into my life. I can only do this by taking relationships slowly, having healthy boundaries and striving to express my needs, thoughts and desires in clear, respectful ways. This does not sit well with all people but then that makes it easy to weed out the type of person who should remain on the outside of my personal relationship wall. I am not perfect at this but I am at least trying.
What has triggered this burst of emotional turmoil? I have been seeing someone who has a great deal of potential to share a long term relationship and I am moving from a space of whining about wishing that that could happen to the possibility of actually having someone in my life so I AM FREAKING OUT. A perfectly normal reaction to such an adjustment I am sure. And most likely all I needed to do what write this blog and get it out of my system so I can continue to inch forward.
One thing I am sure about though is I don’t want to by a Cyrano in terms of being my own worst enemy when it comes to a love connection so I must learn to take the risk one way or another. Wish me luck.
PS: If you like theatre or even if you don’t and you like a good story, I strongly encourage you to make your way to Staunton, Va to the American Shakespeare Center to see this production of Cyrano de Bergerac. For information click here.