Everything I Am Becoming, I Already Am

The current projects folder on my new mac is full of half-written essays. Reading over these unfinished missives, it’s clear they are trying to say the same thing. Only that unalienable truth, that kernel of wisdom, is evasive– a mystery to my conscious mind, swimming just below the surface.

Heads Up started as an idea, a seed. Kyle and I dreamed of a home where artists could create meaningful work, make a life and, eventually, make a living. Seemingly nobody wanted to work toward making this dream a reality. Some people claimed it was because Heads Up was our dream and not theirs. We told these people that Heads Up could be whatever they wanted it to be– the dream didn’t end with us.

I got frustrated. I was trying to cram square pegs into circle holes. I was trying to force people into owning something they didn’t want or weren’t ready to own. I was holding firm to ideas about things should be, and the tighter I grasped, the faster the sand slipped from my hand.

Then Kyle and I took a 6-week road trip around the west. We came back invigorated, ready to work. But our merry band had dispersed to other projects. Just as we feared, we lost momentum. The same darkness that enveloped Kyle engulfed me. Except, in my case, it swallowed me whole. I lost myself to drugs, alcohol and every vice imaginable.

During this time, Heads Up disintegrated.

I spent so much time believing that the company was this other entity – something outside of myself or Kyle– that I didn’t realize WE are Heads Up. Not because we are supreme dictators, but because we are the ones who take ownership. This is the exact opposite realization of having a child. The parent spends so much time wrapped up in his child that he forgets the little ball of flesh is, in fact, a totally different entity with a completely different set of ideas and dreams.

It follows then, that Heads Up is a sort of cipher. Instead of taking on a life of its own, the company has been guided by our whims– our ups and downs. It marks our growth as artists and serves as a mirror for self-reflection. (Self-reflection is easier when you don’t have to look directly at the self.)

Recently, I met with a journalist who writes for my hometown newspaper. She’s writing a piece about my success story for the folks back home. (It’s a whole 20-minutes away and all.) Her opening question for the nearly 2-hour discussion that followed was something along the lines of, “what does Heads Up do?” I felt overwhelmed. The rest of the interview was oriented around trying to answer that simple question.

Though Heads Up was started to produce plays, I’m glad we went with “Heads Up PRODUCTIONS” and not “Heads Up THEATRE COMPANY.” The latter would have limited our possibilities.

Much like a person, the company is multi-faceted and isn’t easily put into a box. Much like a person, some of its facets work together and some stand in stark contradiction to everything else. Much like a person, the things it was so sure of in the past– things that are published as essays or articles on its webpage– no longer hold true in this moment.

But no matter how much Heads Up has changed, it has, without trying, remained true to a core tenant, maybe even THE core tenant, behind it’s founding– to help ourselves (everyone working with Heads Up) and our audiences reach a more fully realized version of self.

Our first performance piece in our “Be a Hero” campaign.

But the company’s been suffering from a lack of vision. I’ve been suffering from a lack of Vision. My dreams, my hopes for the company– everything I had been working toward– is not possible to realize at this point in my life. It may never have been. It may never be.

How do I proceed in a world that has let me down? How do we forge new visions? How many times can we say, “Heads Up Productions is moving in a new direction?”

To answer those questions, I can only offer an anecdote: Several friends and I have formed a mediation group. Sometimes one guy in the group gets under my skin. He says things that I find to be absurd. For example, after one morning of freeform movement improvisation, he said, “I don’t need to do that anymore. I got all I can get out of it.” Normally, I would try to argue with him, showing him the error of his ways. Instead, I just let it go. He’ll figure out what he needs to figure out, when he needs to figure it out. If somebody decides they’ve gotten all they can out of the mediation group and leaves, I’ll just let it go.

I am moving from an inorganic way of dealing with people to a holistic way and, thereby, the company is moving in the same direction. People will join us on a trail marked “Heads Up” as they feel the need to journey with us. When they see a new path that they decide they must follow, then they’ll depart.

Personally, I’m planning to undertake a vision quest later this month. And I hope to find not a vision but Vision– with a capital V. I want to learn to see clearly. Much of my life has felt shiftless and disconnected. However, things from the past– old thoughts, old interests, old knowledge– keep resurfacing in my life. So I know that nothing was wasted or pointless. Yet I don’t always see how things are connected or what they’re building to. I yearn for authentic experience and feel like I’ve rushed through so many things… not mastering a single one. If life is an education, I’ve majored in dilettantism.

And before I can help fulfill our mission of helping others, I must help myself. I must get some clarity.  I must find Vision.

-Benjamin Rexroad
Managing Artistic Director


  1. […] Heads Up is no more than an extension of me, this loss of Vision for the company had some pretty dire effects on my psyche. It began with the […]

  2. […] Monomyth “The treasure you come back with…is your story.” What is a “rite of passage”? Everything I Am Becoming, I Already Am The key to becoming more articulate: experiencing the lows Benjamin’s Vision Quest Affection 101 […]

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