Thursday, August 29, 2013

Big decisions!

This is from the summer, but it pretty much sums up a big decision that I’ve made for post-grad life:

Lately, I’ve been talking to a few of my friends about my decision to move to NYC for a while. Of course, the encouragement and support of my parents was very good for confidence building, but to talk to my friends—most of whom are also dedicated actors, singers, and musicians—has been unbelievably affirming.

For me, I never really considered a career in acting or singing, even though I have always known that I was pretty good at it and that it was something that I loved doing. Part of it, of course, was the uncertainty of it all. Never knowing how long it will be until your next role, not knowing if it will be a paid one or an unpaid ensemble role in some back alley dinner theater (nothing against back alley dinner theaters). But I think I was also a bit scared, and a bit insecure. I have always known that I was a good singer; I’ve been singing my entire life. But despite the amount of time I was singing I was never trained until recently (and there for had no true idea of how I stacked up against my peers with similar aspirations) and I was always around people that I saw as so much better than myself. When you are constantly in shows with people who could easily be on Broadway you doubt yourself sometimes. If half your cast is tiny little girls who are belting G6s with little problem it’s natural that you would feeling a little insecure.

I’ve always had that insecurity gnawing at my desire to pursue theater as a career. Even though I never really acknowledged it until recently it’s been there since I was little. I never thought I was good enough to reach that level of success, to go to New York and get cast in anything let alone to make it to Broadway. So I never entertained the idea that it could be a serious career choice.

Recently I had to face the fact that after this year—my senior year of college—I might never step foot on a stage again. My path was taking me to years of law and graduate school, to politics and urban development and nonprofits. I wouldn’t have the same free time I do now, so I certainly wouldn’t able to devote hours of my time everyday to rehearsals and shows. I was preparing myself for my final year on stage, for my swan song of sorts. The very thought made me sob. I could barely keep the tears from falling as I thought about never performing again. It felt as though I was facing some terrible fate and the impending doom would surely rip my soul to shreds. A life without performing? I haven’t known such a thing since I was an infant.

So, as all adults end up doing, I made a hard choice, one that to most people would seem like a poorly thought out and spur of the moment decision. But for me, and for my friends and family, it seemed like the only one that made sense: I decided that after graduation I am going to pursue acting.

I’ve made peace with my decision, mostly, and I have started the planning process. Sometimes I feel like such a cliché, the liberal arts college graduate wasting her degree by pursuing something that she didn’t even study, and even worse, it’s the arts. Moving to New York and struggling to achieve a dream that for most people never comes true was definitely not in the plans. But other times I remember the feeling of going to an audition, that feeling in the pit of your stomach, the butterflies, the excitement, the adrenaline and thoughts racing through your mind and body. Or the feeling of getting the casting call or being on stage and how it makes you feel like the most important and invincible person in the world. Those are times when I remember why. Why I don’t care that I’m going to be a cliché, why I don’t care that it’s going to be hard or that I might have to subsist on a diet of ramen until I find a job, and why I don’t care that I may not make it to Broadway or win a Tony or become a star. It’s because I couldn’t possibly live without it, and if I didn’t try and see where my passion and drive could take me, I would regret it.

And with that, I am preparing for a long journey. This year will be one for the books, I have already auditioned and been casted for a play that is currently being written by a visiting professor at CC, I am auditioning for Company, and Angels in America at CC and then going to audition for shows in the community. I’m continuing voice lessons and building my musical theater repertoire and also taking some acting classes. I’m going to be working toward my Actor’s Equity card and saving money for the big move. This is all on top of class and finishing my Honor’s Thesis. I know that this year will be tough, and sometimes I will just want to quit, take the easy way out and get a 9-5, but I have to do this, and I will.

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