Friday, March 18, 2011

Lesson #39: "This Ain't No Dress Rehearsal"

By April of 1988, I was closeted, scared, and not sure I was ever going to come out as gay.  I didn't really see the point, as I didn't know any gay people that were happy in their lives, and it seemed it would make my already somewhat miserable high school experience even worse.

Then on April 11th,  Cher won the Academy Award for Moonstruck.  This underdog, this outcast, was finally seeing the rewards for her passion and devotion to her craft.  Furthermore, she came to the ceremony in a unique one-of-a-kind Bob Mackie see-through gown that signaled, "I am here, deal with it."  Later that night she was asked how she had the courage to take so many risky steps in her untraditional career.  "This ain't no dress rehearsal," she replied, and went on to explain that we only have one life to lead, one very short run, and then it's over.  There are no auditions, no rehearsals.  You live your life until you die, and then there are no do-overs.  Her audacious and courageous attitude inspired me to come out no matter who loved me or hated me.  What mattered most was that I was being true to myself, and damn anyone else if they can't handle it.

With that inspired piece of wisdom I set out to live my life with as much passion and integrity as possible.  Some may argue I have gone overboard at times with this.  I would say I have constantly striven to strike a balance between "live for today" and "plan for tomorrow."  But one thing that informs every project I take on, every relationship I engage in, every experience I have, is that this ain't no dress rehearsal.  I'm not going to get a second chance at this so I'm making it the performance of a lifetime.  How about you?

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City. He specializes in issues related to addiction, bullying, caretaking fatigue, grief and loss, gay/lesbian issues, stress management, depression, as well as couples in non-traditional arrangements. He is the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." To have him speak with your group, or to schedule a counseling visit, call 347-227-7707, or email at

No comments: