The first time my acting teacher looked at me and said, “You are enough,” I burst into tears. Full blown ugly cry. Here is the truth: while being back on stage filled my cup in more ways than I could imagine, it also swung the door WIDE OPEN for all of the voices telling me: You are not enough.
The voices didn’t stop there. Ohhhhh, no. They quickly took residence in my head and got quite comfortable…like, hunker down, get cozy, bra off, we aren’t going anywhere for a while type of comfortable. You are too old to start now. You can’t dance. You don’t have enough training. You are not pretty enough. You are not thin enough. You are too loud. You will ruin your kids. You will never be successful. They were relentless. RELENTLESS.
I mean, WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU, BRAIN? I didn’t invite these voices in.
Then it hit me. While I did not invite them in, I certainly did not slam the door closed on them, either. I opened the door when I heard them knocking and let them move in without fighting back. It is like a high school party that starts off with a few of your closest friends and then gets totally out of control when a few loud, strong kids come barging in with everyone they know. They feel powerful. They feel in control.
I decided to take back control.
I would like to say that over night I suddenly became wildly confident, but that would be a gigantic lie. Lying in my own blog feels super counterproductive. The first thing I did was have a big come-to-Jesus conversation with myself (can Jews have a “come to Jesus” conversation? I have yet to find a phrase that matches it, so let’s just stick with that for the time being). It sounded a little something like this: If you love this, you can’t shame spiral every time you don’t get a role you want. If that continues to happen, you have to just walk away because it isn’t worth it. I checked in with myself and decided it is worth it. I am worth it.
Then I decided that the goal was not, in fact, to always be in a show – the goal was to always feel like I was moving with forward momentum. That meant starting to show up, put my face in front of people, do the work, and tell the voices they were no longer welcome. I didn’t just tell them – I took steps to show them I am the one in charge. You can’t dance? I started taking tap and then ballet…not exaggerating, it was one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life. I cried every week for the first six weeks of ballet. Now, I am a ballerina. Ha. I am most definitely not a ballerina and will never be a ballerina, but THAT IS NOT THE POINT. I told the voice to shove it and am learning and growing every week. I don’t even cry in class anymore, so that in it of itself feels like a huge win. You don’t have enough training? Now I have four, soon to be five, acting classes from amazing acting studios in the city under my belt and I am still going strong. I cried a lot when I started those classes, too. I’m telling you, those voices are no joke. They tried to convince me to quit. I KEPT moving forward. I KEEP moving forward.
I am not disillusioned into thinking the voices will pack up and never return. Sometimes they pop in for coffee, and I have to remind them that they need to take their coffee to go. So, I guess now it is more like a drive-thru window instead of a door. I might still open it, but it is not large enough for them to come barreling in.
If I can walk out of an audition feeling like I showed them not only what I can do as an actor/singer, but that I gave a sincere picture of who I am and what it would be like to work with me, then the rest is completely out of my hands. I trust I will end up exactly where I am meant to be.
Because I am enough.
Actually, I’m pretty fucking awesome.