August 22, 2015

The Comeback! Stages of Emotional Coping Leaving Hens on Ice

After my longest hiatus in Hen history, I am back to pecking with a vengeance. I won't waste your time with apologies or excuses, and now that I'm unemployed, let's get clucking!

I've given much thought to exactly how I want to come back, especially since I didn't plan to be absent long enough for a comeback. I'm hopeful this return will be more like a Justin Timberlake or Kelly Clarkson splash, and less like a Jessica Simpson "who cares about her anymore?" Please care about this Hen and tell your friends.
How mature hens bruise.

The big news for this bird: I have retired from Hens on Ice. I know you're thinking that I'm too young to retire as a probably-maybe-maybe-not 21 year old. Well, these thirt...twenty-something bones and feathers don't quite have the spring of an 18 year old (they have learned to bruise nicely), and I decided to walk away with fond memories before ending up in a wheel chair or the bitter barn. Since Hens on Ice has been a huge part of my life for 4 years, it's been an emotional roller coaster to get to the numb, unemployed hen living in denial that I am today. But for future birds who try to leave Hens on Ice, I've compiled the emotional stages of leaving this whacky bird tour.

Emotional Stages of Leaving Hens on Ice:

  • Excitement: I'm free! These 4 years of traveling the globe, while doing something I love and making amazing friends have been hard. Now I can buy a luxury condo and make millions off The Cackling Hen! Watch out world, here I come!
  • Productivity: Just in case I don't secure a multi-million dollar deal, I'm applying to some high-paying careers, like editor-in-chief for The New Yorker or the president of Eckerd College. Maybe I could host my own talk show and be bigger than Ellen. It's good to be realistic and apply to multiple jobs. 
  • Acceptance: I'm not qualified (yet) for such lofty positions, so I'm looking for something I'll enjoy that pays a livable salary. I probably won't have a job lined up right when tour ends, but that's okay because I'll have free time to travel, apply to jobs, paint masterpieces, and write a novel.
  • Regret: I shouldn't have left Hens on Ice! Everything is going so well and maybe I could have gotten a bigger role. Maybe a life on the road is for me. Maybe I should skate until I'm literally broken. Why not?
  • Fear: What will life be like off the road? What will life be like not skating each day? What if I can't land the job I want or afford my own place? What will it be like not seeing my friends from tour everyday? Will I still have friends here? Will I be lonely and unsatisfied? How bad IS global warming? Will I get robbed?
  • Denial: This tour isn't ending. Time is freezing. It's going to be fine.
  • Insanity: I can't keep my dreams and reality straight. I'm mad at people for what they did in my dreams and I forget conversations I had the day before. I'm seeing things. I'm talking to myself. I pace in my hotel room, not knowing what to do if I'm not skating or drinking. I jot
    down any "brilliant" thought I have on scrap paper. Do my friends all hate me? What was with that tone in, "hey?" I want a cat. Cats eat birds. Am I a masochist? Should I get help, become a psychologist, or meet my friends at the pool?
  • Despair: I'm never going to get a job. I'm not qualified to do anything except skate anymore! I'm going to have to work at a fast food restaurant and live with my parents forever, always regretting the time I left Hens on Ice.
  • Nostalgia: Gosh, these have been the best 4 years of my life. Remember that one time at Rusty's? Remember that night at the Dragon? Remember when you fell and couldn't get up? And that time in Estonia was the absolute tops! That first year was so fun. It's all been a blast. I love all the friends I've made and places I've been. Dear diary, it's been great!
  • Pride: This has been such an amazing experience and I like to think I've been a small part of why our group and our show is just great. I'm so proud of this show we put out to countless audiences, and what I've been able to accomplish as a show skater. I'm so happy with the feature roles and understudy roles I've had in the show. Hard work and love for a sport does pay off and I've accomplished far more as a skater than I could have imagined. 
  • Tears of joy: As I skated my last show, I felt such a strong combination of pride for what I've achieved in skating, sadness for it being my last show and for the people I'd miss seeing each day, and utter enjoyment and appreciation for
    what I was doing on the ice for an audience. Thankfully, I wear a mask for one of my feature roles, so the tears could flow as they would, and I held it together to genuinely smile through every second of my last time skating as "Funky Hen."But when I saw many of my friends waiting for me backstage as I exited, I buckled over feeling their warmth and my love and pride for my favorite role. I was so happy to skate my best during my last show. Now, someone give me some tissues and touch up my makeup!

  • Drunk: Well, it's over. As long as I'm having beer with friends, the tour can't end.
  • Boarding a plane: I hate everyone in airports. What do you mean I'm in Southwest's "C" group? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
  • Every emotional stage combined: They're all in there forever. So one by one, they come out at inopportune times, laughing and crying during the same Target visit.

To quote my dear friend SamanthaHen, the best souvenirs I got from tour are the friends I've made. It's been an amazing experience. Thanks, guys.

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