PIVOTING WITH ... EMILY VAN FLEET AND NATHAN JONES
Prolific local actor Emily Van Fleet met husband Nathan Jones while students at the University of Northern Colorado. They have been married for nine years.
A conversation with the creators of 'Twice as Less Not Perfect: A Messy Marriage Podcast'
What are you doing to pivot? The idea to create 'Twice as Less Not Perfect: A Messy Marriage Podcast' really emerged from this place of searching, self-reflection, and a need for authentic connection with ourselves and the rest of the world. With a career on hold, and no way to work through things creatively, we found ourselves asking: “Without theatre, who are we really?” We were forced us to take a hard look at ourselves, inside and out. The idea for the podcast came out of this abundance of time to reflect on our relationship, where we’ve come from and how the hard things we go through in many ways set us up to better handle this unprecedented event. If we can model authenticity and vulnerability in our relationship, maybe we can encourage more authentic conversations and find connection with others during this time of collective isolation.
'I have found such freedom in finding myself here, in this moment in time, without a character to hide behind.'
Why are you doing it? When we got married, we had this false sense of security of how awesome we were because we believed we were good at “handling” life. Then we’d hit these major roadblocks in our marriage where every day was a question of whether or not we should try again tomorrow or cash in our chips. And in those moments, we both felt really alone. Our single friends didn’t get it, and our married friends seemed deeply afraid to talk about marriage difficulties – as if talking about our messy marriage might expose some cracks in their own relationships. Social media only really shows us the “perfect” parts of relationships, and we felt like anything less than perfect was off-limits to talk about. We began to wonder if it would be helpful to use the hard lessons we’ve learned in our relationship to model vulnerability and just let people know that they’re not alone. Marriage isn’t either perfect or terrible. It’s this constant middle ground where every day you have to make a conscious decision to go forward with this person. It’s scary at first, but it’s also freeing and it’s exhilarating. And getting through the hard stuff with the person you love the most can be so rewarding. And many of the issues we’ve faced are universal. They apply to all relationships, romantic or platonic, across all races and backgrounds, no matter your sexual preference or gender identity. We hope we can give people the courage to confront the messy parts of their relationships and know that they have a couple they can lean on to give them a down and dirty version of what it takes to contend with life and a partner at the same time.
'Marriage isn’t either perfect or terrible. It’s this constant middle ground.'
How can people find you? Our website is located at messymarriagepodcast.buzzsprout.com. From there, folks can subscribe anywhere they get their podcasts. We really want to create a community where people can interact with us and let us know their own victories and messes, which they can do in the following ways:
We’re also very excited get suggestions and feedback via our email: Lessnotperfect@gmail.com
Words of encouragement for others who are now pivoting their way through 2020:
- Nathan: "I think right now we all need to remember to give ourselves grace. We’re all doing this whole pandemic thing for the first time and it is a constant barrage of new emotions, strange reactions and stressful realities. As we explore new avenues and opportunities, it can be exciting one moment and hopeless the next. That’s OK. I love the idea that actions are votes you cast for who you are going to be, and I’ve found a lot of comfort in the stoic philosophy of controlling what I can and letting go of what I can’t. Turns out, with so little in my control, I feel free in a way that I have not in a long time."
- Emily: "This moment presents us all with an amazing opportunity to reflect on ourselves and our choices as individuals and as a society. Who are we without the hustle and bustle, the multi-tasking, the masks of success or ambition? Who do we want to be moving forward? I for one, have found such freedom in finding myself here, in this moment in time, without a character to hide behind. It’s just me. And I want to continue forward as authentically me as I can possibly be. If I can model that, then maybe others will be encouraged to do the same, and maybe they’ll encourage someone else, and so on and so on. The world needs compassion and empathy and acceptance. I believe this time of immense conflict can provide the perfect conditions for a collective shift towards those things, but just like a relationship we must choose it every day."
Compiled by Senior Arts Journalist John Moore
"Pivoting With ..." is a new, ongoing series talking with members of the Colorado theatre community about how they are adapting to changes in their creative and personal lives as the COVID pandemic continues. Are you pivoting? Email John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: Emily Van Fleet in 'The Wild Party.' Photo by Adams VisCom