Tumbling 9/11-- It starts with a conversation

August 7, 2011... 38 years old

I’m having a hard time writing about my experience in New York. It’s not that I’m all emotional or anything…it’s just that it was ten years ago and I’m having a hard time organizing my thoughts and memories. I didn’t keep a journal and I can’t find the calendar I kept then with all my appointments and meetings (which might trigger memories). All I have are sort of disjointed flashes of memory.

But I guess if you don’t at least try to organize your thoughts, they’ll never get out there. So. Let's go back.

1999...26 years old

I was in Actor’s Theatre’s production of “Angels in America” in Grand Rapids. I played Harper. And I remember a conversation I had with one of the actors, Craig. We were in the hallway waiting to rehearse and he said: “Tanya, you’re so talented. I just have one question for you.”

“What’s that?”

“Why are you here?”

I looked at him, puzzled. “What do you mean why am I here? I love acting? This is a great role?”

Then he cracked his big ol’ grin and he said, “No. Why are you here in Grand Rapids? You should be in New York or something.”

I shook my head. “I’m twenty-six. I’m too old. Plus, I’ve got my life here.”

He laughed. “You’re still young. Honey, if I were you I’d pack up and move.”

That little conversation stayed with me. I thought I was so settled, but what did I really have? I worked part time at a music society (St. Cecilia), I waitressed, I was just out of another bad relationship. I didn’t have kids. I wasn’t married. And according to Craig…I wasn’t even old yet.

But it would take me another two years before I’d take him up on his little challenge, but in that hallway, the seed for a major change was planted.

(It’s funny that a little conversation with someone in a hallway could change your life. But I do look at that moment as a life-changing conversation. I guess it shows that you never know when or how you’re going to affect another person. It’s an awesome, beautiful thing.)