Chelle Summer


Challenging Myself

Michelle Rusk

I always say it would be easier to stay in my box and not challenge myself. However, I know myself well enough that I get bored and that if I want to live life to the fullest (and make it more interesting), I need to continually challenge myself.

Over the past few weeks I feel as though I've stretched my brain and that I now probably need to give it a few days to catch up. 

It started with making a quinceanera dress– as close to a princess/wedding dress one can get. When I married the first time, a friend had made my dress and I had made all six bridesmaid dresses so I really didn't think it was impossible. What turned out to be tricky, however, was the fact that the pattern didn't include one piece in the directions (or the pattern pieces for that matter) and that Hannah wanted a tulle skirt. And I added a lace overlay for the bodice. I tried to stretch it out over several weeks (including a "rough draft") so that I had time if anything went badly.

A weekend ago I had planned to rest but found myself running behind and spent Saturday making a diaper bag that Saturday for an upcoming baby (another first– following the rough draft) and then working on the netting of the quinceanera dress on Sunday.

Then on Tuesday I went over to a former neighbor's house and she taught me how to make flour tortillas. She had showed me some years ago but I had long forgotten and I thought it was time I learned again, this time vowing that would practice at least once a month so they eventually look like circles and not the state of Texas.

After the tortillas had been eaten, the diaper bag arriving to a happy mom-to-be in Wyoming, and the quinceanera dress in the arms of the almost fifteen-year-old, I spent Friday on the television set of "Graves" doing background work.

To say I was exhausted that morning was an understatement. I felt as if I needed some rest but I also knew that rest was around the corner (although I didn't realize it would be fourteen hours later). I ended up with several "jobs" we'll say in the filming, but in one particular part I would be walking directly in camera view, queued by the production assistant– who was watching on a screen around the corner– when to go both times. As I stood there waiting to go with a clipboard in hand (after all, I am a doctor but I play a nurse on television), I found my mind drifting off a bit. I thought about how easy it would be to mess up. And how easy it would be not to be there. If I hadn't accepted the call, I could be home in bed, not worrying about tripped over a cable as I walked across the hallway in the hospital.

No no no, I reminded myself. Then what stories would I tell? How would I grow? And so I walked across the set in as many takes as it took, probably equaling the number of challenges I've created for myself over the past few weeks. It was well worth it.