“I also love Blanket Forts because they create a physical boundary for my self-care time, because no one wants to fuck with the adult woman hanging out in a fort. Thank you.”

Light applause, and then…

“You have more time,” comes the voice from the back of the room.

“Oh, okay!” I say, springing up from where I was crouched beneath the blanket fort I’ve just built in a class within one of the most prestigious drama institutions in the world.

“Another common issue with blanket forts is the drooping ceiling —”

“And that’s time.”

Light applause again mixed with some uncomfortable laughter, as well as a sea of hands performing the “applause” sign from British Sign Language, a habit our cohort has carried over from the previous year, when there was a student who was especially sensitive to sound.

A smile appears on my face and I focus on breathing and allow myself to move slowly as I fold up my blanket and put away the chairs. I’m inside my heart beat, I’m feeling the soft blue of the blanket in my fingers, I’m gently lifting chairs and moving them to the side of the room as the next student prepares to teach.

2 minutes. We were asked to prepare a non-theatrical thing that we could teach in two minutes. I chose, “How to Build a Blanket Fort Anywhere,” and I came up with a funny little acronym and a prepared speech. I giggled a lot while I was rehearsing, and really enjoyed this persona I was creating of the very serious expert teaching about blanket forts.

But there’s a difference between teaching to your couch and teaching in front of 18 other teachers you’ve only just met.

Teaching in front of teachers. Oh my goodness. It’s a terror I’d never really thought about before, but dear god, is there anything more terrifying than trying to teach for folks who are continually scrutinizing your teaching?

We’re all students, yes. But we’re all here to eat, sleep, and breathe teaching. When I get up to practice in front of the class, I’m not teaching for acting students. I’m practicing teaching in front of a group of fucking brilliant teachers that, like me, got accepted into this school.

I’m shaking a little as I sit down. I try to stay engaged as I watch everyone get up and deliver their 2-minute teach, with varying degrees of success.

The last student goes. Our course leader reminds each of us to breathe as we “take the stage”, and she reminds us again now.

We’re given a full 20 minute break to do some reflection. Writing, recording into a phone, drawing, walking, it’s all welcome, she says.

I slip on my jacket and I grab my notebook and my phone and I hurry down the stairs to the main entrance. I’m outside the doors and I find a little spot on the stairs, the ones with all the freakin’ names of famous people on them, and I sit down and I pull out my phone and I open my voice recording app and I press record.



ME: Hello…

just taught, “How to Make a Blanket Fort” and I wasn’t…


for pretty much any of it.

Can’t stop…


I am wondering…

where was the joy?

Over the last couple of days I have felt so…

I just think I’ve really been trying to present a Best Self,

and then trying to sustain that Best Self is so exhausting

it’s so exhausting

I can’t sustain it.


I just can’t sustain it.

I’m so tired.

And worried.

[ footsteps are heard. the sound of something like a child’s rattle, and then a child’s voice: ]


[ a parent’s voice responds: ]

PARENT: Ah Choo Choo, Ah Choo Choo!

[ I laugh a bit. More rattle-like sounds as the kiddo shakes his toy. ]

ME: That feels fitting somehow.

[ the child’s voice fades into the distance, “ah CHOO CHOO, ah CHOO CHOO…” ]

[ a pause. the wind blows. ]

ME: I feel reigned in.


if I show a bigger louder version of myself

I feel like all my old demons will come back.

And there’s kind of a beauty right now where it’s like a fresh start,

everyone can just think I’m calm and thoughtful and good.

[ a long pause. the rattling, softly in the background. the wind. ]

The teach, yeah…

Didn’t actually go over my Acronym so it wasn’t actually useful in any way

Didn’t ever show the piece of paper

Didn’t actually take any joy or delight in this thing

which does actually bring me a huge amount of joy and delight

Don’t feel comfortable being myself yet.

I don’t think I said my name

or pronouns

[ a pause as a pigeon, definitely not a dove, appears ]

Hello, there’s a dove


[ I laugh a bit. That ridiculous head waggle… ]

[ big ]

[ long ]

[ sigh ]

I just thought…

Maybe I wouldn’t have to wrestle as much with old demons


I could just be my super Mindful Self all the time

and then by doing that I could just avoid —

I don’t know.

It’s just –

Also I swore.

I – I said Fuck

And it didn’t seem like it reverberated that much at home

but then here it really seemed to like

it was like a I dropped a hammer

So that’s interesting.

[ big sigh ]

[ long pause ]


They’re gonna have to see all of me.

Or most of me.

‘Cause otherwise why am I here?

I love teaching.

But I did not enjoy what I did today.


Because why?

Because the time constraint maybe?

I didn’t love what I did today because I was trying to be good.

I was trying not to mess up.

I wasn’t actually present.

I did all the motions of breathing and fucking power posing and —

but I just

[ big sigh ]

[ the wind ]


So Caity-Cait…

[ a breath ]

You gonna share your joy with them?