But I knew I was about to step into a training season. I wasn't performing, I was managing. And I wasn't even managing the fun part (the show itself), I was managing the boring and stressful part... the box office and all the finances of the show. It was a huge responsibility, and I was not excited about the mundane nature of the job. As a performer, I was very torn. But I went anyway, telling myself it was only three months and it was a fantastic opportunity to learn something new. I wanted this knowledge for future endeavors.
The day I was set to leave, I was so nervous I vomited in a public restroom. (I won't tell you which one! ha!) But the day I decided to go home... was not nearly as difficult.
We were had just played Corsicana, Texas the day before. We had all spent the night on the lot because the next day was a travel day and we all so desperately needed sleep. There was a lot of questions about the show within the staff and performers, and we were all waiting for answers before we moved on to the next town.
I had been over the job for the better part of the last week. I wasn't sleeping because the jumps were so long and we traveled every night. I would get to bed between 2 and 3 every morning and have to wake up by 7 to be at work by 8. I was barely eating, because we were only given two small (though delicious) meals a day, and I didn't have time to cook for myself in between. I was alone at the box office. I was never given a staff, and I had to sit/stand there from an hour and a half before the first show through til about an hour after the last show. I would have to ask permission to use the restroom because I couldn't just leave the office unattended. I lost weight from all this, plus the strain of working under a stressful show owner and all his demands.
I was very unhappy.
My mother felt I was being abused, in a sense. I wasn't making enough money for all the stress. I wasn't training my own skills and I had no free time at all. There was also the constant question if I even WAS going to get paid, due to an issue with the marketing company and low ticket sales. (I did, in the end, take home about 95% of what I had earned. I'm not going to stress over the two days and small percentage I'll never get paid for.)
And though on paper, it seemed like such a no-brainer to leave, I still struggled with it. I am no quitter, and didn't want to leave just because it was "hard." Plus, other than the show owner, I loved everyone else on the show. The performers were all lovely people and I was getting on well with them and all the crew. I didn't want to let anyone down. There was no one else to run the box office.
But at the end of the day, mental health won out and, after a tearful 2-hour chat with the show manager (also a good friend of mine), I left the show. That night, I drove about 3 hours back towards home and stayed in a truck stop to sleep in the trailer, free and clear.
And in the end, it was the best decision I could have made. I immediately felt like myself again, no longer under the oppressive weight of the show or all I carried there. I felt free. Sometimes, you really do have to take care of yourself first, because if you can't take care of yourself, how can you expect to take care of others?
And I regret nothing. :)