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  • Writer's pictureRenee Padgett

I'm a performer

Updated: May 24, 2023

In my young adult years ages 19 - 25 I worked as a paraprofessional in preschool and 2nd grade classrooms. I studied at New England Actors Theater in New Haven, CT. I was part of an improv troupe called Laughing Stock and we played mostly company parties, and a few theaters. I also did a bit of stand up comedy which I really wasn’t ready for (today I write bits with the intention of getting back at it someday). I performed in dramatic plays at local theaters and I commonly jumped on stage with various local bands to sing a cover song or two. All of this performance experience came before I visited San Francisco in August of 1999, saw a funk band (Stymie and the Pimp Jone Luv Orchestra) in an outdoor concert in Duboce Park, the sun was warm the music was bumping and the smell in the air, let’s just say, it wasn’t dog poop. I returned home to CT, came out as a lesbian and said and I’m moving to San Francisco to join that band. I sub-leased my apartment, sold my car and my motorcycle and with my Dad, rented a car, packed it up, and drove to SF arriving on September 29th 1999, my dad then flew back home. I spent 6 years singing with Stymie, we were a Bay Area local sensation in and around the year 2000. We won music awards and performed with some of the biggest names in Funk music. Also, during these years, I started my own band called RYP, worked in a traveling theater company Called Imagination Children’s Theatre Company, where a three person cast (sometimes two) traveled around Northern California and performed educational and entertaining plays “in the round” at elementary schools. I worked as a singing waitress at Max’s Opera Cafe on Van Ness and after a hard year and a half of that I ended up going back to teaching preschool as a day job. I attended the necessary schooling and became a teacher and continued my career in early childhood education. I also wrote and release my first children’s music album in 2005 and started a small business providing music classes to preschool classrooms. In 2006 I moved to CO with my partner while she attended Law School and there I taught preschool, I provided music classes for preschools, I was a music / PE teacher at a private elementary school, and I sang on stage as often as I could with my children’s music and with the student band at the law school. After returning to the Bay Area in 2008 I returned to my preschool music classes, and released my 2nd kids album. I also got a job teaching performing arts at a private elementary school where I wrote plays, organized talent shows and taught electronic music during summer camps. I started my band back up, started signing with Stymie again and then in 2011 I had my first child, and after that, everything stopped.

I went from being in and a part of everything around me to being a provider and caretaker, a mom and wife. I opened a daycare in my home, I didn’t like it. To go from being everywhere to never leaving my home was too much of a shock to my system. I went back to school for a little while studying electronic music and then started teaching again, this time at my son’s preschool. I ended up becoming director of that school and again, I didn’t like it, it took me away from the kids too much, and left me no time for performing. My wife gave birth to our second child in July of 2017, she was and is very busy in her career, I felt like our family needed me to be home. So I haven’t really had a job since 2017, and I was doing ok but after a couple of years I was feeling the trauma of being home too much and I started making plans to re-enter the workforce and get back on stage. Then Covid hit and lockdown ensued and everything stopped.

At first I did ok and I was a fun mom and being a teacher I had great ideas for busy kids. But, as it did to everyone, it got to me. Oh yes, I created something I’m really proud of but the minute it looked like we were reemerging as a society I lost 30 pounds and hit the ground running. I coached my 10 yr old’s little league baseball team, I joined a band, I started doing studio recording work for other bands, produced my 3rd kids album, was about to go on tour with another band, and then everything stopped, again.

I injured my knee. On the last day of Baseball I dislocated my knee cap and it took 16 weeks to heal properly. Though I had already started gaining weight before the injury due to menopausal anxiety (the struggle is real), in the end, by the time my knee healed I’d gained 50 pounds. Since the weight gain I’ve been in serious pain, everywhere really but mostly in my feet, back, and hips, and some weeks it seems like every day. Other days or weeks I feel better. I’m certain its stress related and menopause related and its the pain that carrying this weight around inflicts and also the stress of not performing. So, I’ve been in my home, again, mostly because I’m working from home now writing and putting together my live performance, but also kind of, because it hurts to go places.

But, there’s less pain if I move than if I sit still all day, and though my intention has been to focus on writing and working on my live show, what I’ve learned about myself through the years is I need to be busy, out in the world, producing something. I’m more productive when there’s little time to spare. I needed something else to catapult my productivity, and my kid’s elementary school talent show came just at the right time. I jumped at the chance to organize it. It took a lot out of me, it was really physically painful and it even took time away from my work. But it reminded me of the things that make me happy. It reminded me that I do know how to get things done, and that I need all of it.

So I’m going to start that cover band, and get that literary agent, and assistant coach T-Ball and get back to work performing and storytelling for kids. And here’s to our family being complete, to no more debilitating injuries, and no more pandemics. We creators need to keep it moving.

Stick with me through this I may discover some secret to happiness along the way.

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