This morning I woke up from a dream that still has me thinking about how I get in my own way in regards to theater and my capabilities as an actor.
The dream was one of those that changes scenes here and there, but one particular part that remains vivid is that of a talent showcase, where I ended up as one of the top five contestants left standing. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last long, for when my name was called, I was neither at the showcase or conscious (I was asleep in bed, seemingly having forgotten about this opportunity to further prove myself).
When I go back to the talent showcase, it’s before I find out the blunder from the guy MC’ing the event. Being familiar with people running things behind the scenes, I sat and chatted with them as they were setting up early for the final contestants. One person that stuck out like a sore thumb: Lin-Manuel Miranda, sitting in the front row as a stage manager and I caught up with one another.
She and I discussed what happened, and while I was disappointed, I didn’t seem or feel full of dread. In fact, I made light of the situation, blurting out lyrics from a song from Hamilton, not realizing Lin-Manuel was sitting yards away. It wasn’t until he said something that I or the stage manager noticed.
Me: *singing not all that great*
SM: Oh, man, I love me some Hamilton! You should audition for it!
Me: Eh, even if I did, I’m not that deep into Hamilton, and I only know one or two songs.
Lin-Manuel: You know, I could bring you some hot tea and you could perform the song.
Me: Well, I don’t know…
Lin-Manuel: Don’t think about it. Stop THINKING about it!
Me: I know! I know… *before waking up*
I know thinking too much about something means that something is not getting done anytime soon, if at all. But I think back to this moment, and all the other moments I’ve had to myself, doubting myself, ready to ‘throw away my shot’ if I hadn’t already. I’ve already given up NaNoWriMo this year, but mainly due to stress and having prior obligations taking up my time. Of course there’s no excuse, for I could easily set aside time in the day and write roughly 1,667+ words/day. But my heart wasn’t in it this time around, which makes me question whether I really wanna write as much as I did years ago. But just giving myself the permission to admit that to myself was a step forward.
As for acting, I’m always browsing audition notices of local theaters/troupes, skimming through productions of their season & the character breakdowns, figuring out what parts I could try out and prepare for. Sometimes the self-doubt seeps in, but I’m always telling myself, “You’ve done this before. You’ll be fine.” I set up an appointment for the audition, I prepare, I go to the audition, do my very best, and leave. After the audition is done, what’s left is out of my hands and in that of the people making the decision.
Up until an hour or so ago, I though of the whole process as just… an actor’s way of life. In-between auditions and productions and performances, life goes on. But then I thought to post about my dream in a GroupMe chat with friends I met through Tumblr & the BBC Sherlock fandom; one of those friends reminded me not to throw away my shot, and that I can do it! Me being the realist that I am, I reminded her that it was just a dream, but had been on my mind since waking up.
Dear Friend: Do not throw away your shot, DeDe. You can do it!
Me: I mean, it was only a dream, but I’m still thinking about it and how it applies to my life. So many shots I could take, but too scared to take them because Fear of Failure. Or just Fear in general.
DF: If it helps, I think your theatre work is amazing. Tbh you helped inspire me to go back to Taekwondo. You didn’t throw away that shot, when you auditioned, and you helped me not throw away one of my shots.
*send each other virtual hugs back and forth*
I was on the verge of tears, but my body is programmed (sadly) to hold back that emotion. You’d have to be Toy Story 3-level emotional for me to break down into sobs. But that hit me like a ton of bricks, and really humbled me. It’s something I never thought about, didn’t think I was capable of. Inspiring someone else to take a leap of faith of their own while I’m scared at the very though of doing such a thing…
I guess the lesson I am getting out of this is to keep working towards your dreams, especially if it’s not only something you like to do but have already done several times already to the point of it being like breathing. Theater, something I’d told myself in the past WASN’T FOR ME, is something I always look forward to and get excited about whenever I do it. I mean, it’s community theater, but it’s acting, something I’ve wanted to do since childhood, something I saw myself doing, and am doing now. Also: learn to appreciate what you love to do, whether it’s a hobby or a career, as well as appreciate those who support you along the way, because you never know who’s watching or how it affects them & their future.
Anyway, that’s my blog post for the time being. May be a while before I post another one, so subscribe to look for it in your inbox. And if you’re feeling generous this holiday season, feel free to drop a tip in my PayPal or Cash.Me links. Again, thank you for reading, and have a wonderful Turkey Day!