Your Passion or Your Husband by Alretha Thomas
“If your husband told you he needed you to stop pursuing your passion because he was feeling neglected would you?” This was the question my sister asked me during one of our many daily calls to each other. Her question gave me pause because I could never envision being married to a man who would ask me to choose between what I love to do and our relationship. I have truly been blessed in the husband department. Not only is the love of my life a great guy, but for the past 16 years he has supported me wholeheartedly while I have been chasing my dream to become a successful writer. But…but…yes, that three letter word. But, even nice guys have limits and this year I have truly pushed the proverbial envelope. I need to take inventory of the myriad activities that stem from my creative endeavors. I must find balance and that’s definitely easier said than done.
Earlier this year, I received a phone call from a man who was instrumental in a play I had written (Sacrificing Simone) several years ago being produced at a church in Pasadena, California. He informed me that the church wanted to bring the play back to the stage. I was thrilled. However, I remembered the previous production and decided that this time I would need to direct to really give the play justice. My request was greeted with elation. After concluding the call, my smile morphed into a frown. It suddenly dawned on me that the play would open in October this year. It’s the same month that my latest book is slated to launch. Moreover, I would be heavily involved in the editing process of my book, promotions, attending book club meetings, and staying active on all my social media accounts. How was I going to do the aforementioned and direct 15 people in a play that requires six weeks of rehearsal? OMG! How was I going to tell my husband that I was going to be missing in action for six weeks or more? Yikes. To make matters worse, I have a day job that requires me to drive 350 miles a week. I have to get up before five each morning so that I can go to the gym and make it to work on time. How in the world was I going to balance all of this?
Well, the play opened to full houses the week of October 10th. My new book was released October 21st , and I am still on my day job, and, yes, I’m still married to my wonderful husband. When I look back over the past six weeks, I can’t believe I accomplished all my goals. It was not easy. My husband is a natural born protector, so my late nights at rehearsal took a toll on him and we did have very intense discussions about me being out late at night. “Why are you going down the residential street to get to the freeway? Go down Fair Oaks,” he said. “But it’s quicker this way,” I countered. “Why are you so stubborn?” he asked with exasperation. The next night I began taking the main boulevard. He was right. It was safer and that was the least I could do for a man who was going without home cooked meals three times a week, going to bed alone and waking up alone.
Then a week later I received a text from him. “Why are you not available? I can’t reach you. What if there was an emergency? Why can’t you just check in before you start rehearsal?” I read the text, sighed, rolled my eyes, and then admitted to myself that he was right. Why didn’t I call and let him know I had made it to rehearsal? But he and I both know that once I get to the theater, I’m in a different world. I’m like a little girl in her doll house. I am so fulfilled when I’m directing, creating. It’s the same way when I’m writing a book. There’s no such thing as writer’s block. Once I get started I can’t stop. But I have to stop because there’s someone else in my life that needs my attention. I have to remind myself of the days I used to cry to God asking him why no man would love me, why I couldn’t manage to have a successful relationship. I used to lament that I had an easier chance at winning the lottery than I did finding a husband. So now I have a husband, a good one, and I don’t want to lose him. Yes, my creative endeavors bring me immense joy, but they can’t hold me at night. They can’t sooth me when I’m in pain. They can’t wipe away my tears. They can’t share in my triumphs. Yes, I love to write and create, but God forbid something happens wherein I can no longer write. Then what?
The show is now over, the book is out, the year is coming to an end and Thanksgiving and Christmas are on the horizon. Now that things have settled down, I’m glad that I compromised. I’m glad that I listened to my husband and was sensitive to his concerns because I would dread celebrating the holidays without him. I would dread not seeing 2015 come in without him. My books and plays are my babies, but my husband is my all. Thank goodness for balance.
Shortly after graduating from USC with a degree in journalism, Alretha Thomas soon realized her interest in her major was not heartfelt. Instead of writing news stories, she wanted to write plays and books. Several years later, her church gave her an outlet to fulfill her writing desires through their Liturgical Fine Arts Department wherein Alretha penned twelve theatre pieces—the community response was overwhelming.
This led to plays outside of the church, including Alretha’s One, Woman Two Lives, starring Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show), directed by four-time NAACP Image Award Best Director recipient, Denise Dowse. The production garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences.
In between plays, Alretha’s first novel, Daughter Denied, was launched in 2008. In 2011, Alretha launched Dancing Her Dreams Away. Her third novel, Married in the Nick of Nine, spawned a four-book series that has been acquired by Soul Mate Publishing. Married in the Nick of Nine, was released July 2014, the sequel, The Baby in the Window will be available on Amazon on October 21, 2014. The third and fourth books in the series, One Harte, Two Loves, and Renee’s Return, will launch January and April 2015 respectively.
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