all together, with feeling now

Rising from the quicksand.

It’s 1.49am, and I can hear David Attenborough on the telly explaining exotic birds’ mating rituals. I am also half-listening to the damp, cool silence outside the window – and cars in the distance, making their way someplace. I can make out taxis, trucks, cars, and I imagine their individual journeys as they pass by on the wet roads below.

Peace is nice.

I wish I could sleep and forget this day, but I can’t.

I had an audition today, and it didn’t go so well.

I had worked very hard over the past few days to do well at it. In fact, I worked at it and attended it despite some personal stuff that’s been going on in the background. But it seems I tend not to do so well at auditions because nerves and self-consciousness take over. Perhaps it’s also the beginners’ grind (stuff that gets better with practice and you just have to keep at it till it gets better). It still sucks though to disappoint yourself. To throw away 3 days of work in just 3 minutes, well. It hurts.

Auditions are funny things.  They are inherently awkward situations, where within 5 to 10 minutes, these people need to evaluate your performance, understand how you’d be like to work with, and see if they think you could play the parts they are looking to fill. It’s often in a room that is too bright (harsh fluorescent lights), and an odd shape (long rectangular rooms, curvy rooms, giant function rooms, tiny cubby rooms – seen ’em). You will be one of many they’ll see that day. You stand, feeling naked, vulnerable; while the auditors sit behind desks. You exchange pleasantries, sometimes you get offered a handshake – but most times within 1 minute of getting into the room, you will be entering into a song or a monologue.

I hope there’ll be a day when I no longer find them nerve-wracking, but for now, the auditors’ eyes – and the always-present, ever-watchful video camera standing in the corner of the room – drill holes into my composure. Clearly – and fatally – I care too much about what they see and think (when what I should do is just enjoy the moment and know “I got this”).

It also didn’t help things when I found out just before entering the audition room today that a fellow actress – who has beaten me to several roles now – has been pinned for the lead role. There’s something about knowing you’ve been trumped before you’ve started that trips you up – it could trip you up in a good way, in which case it’d have taken the pressure off doing well – but in today’s case, it seemed to only stoke my anxiety further. I do try to keep it together, but then shit happens and the fear or nerves get to me and my voice doesn’t quite cooperate and it cracks. Or I trip up on a phrase. Ugh. And so I endure the humiliation as best I can, and try to finish my monologues in one piece (they were fine. Thank goodness. My one saving grace that prevented me from crumbling to my knees and crawling backwards out of the room.), say my thank yous and goodbyes with a brave (if not embarrassed) smile, and walk out, still shaking a little.

Hours later, having worn out the temporary distractions of grocery shopping and dinner and TV, it still aches to have put in such a poor show of what I could do.

It’s now 2.43am.

And I am having a realisation as I type this – that as tempting as it is to agree “Yes, I’m just not good enough; there are ones far better than me” and simply give up in shame, I’m too stubborn for that. I’ve worked so hard, and I want this too much to give up now.

So I must accept the weaknesses I have and embrace the mistakes I’ve made, and keep finding new and creative ways to overcome them.

I must believe in the possibility that I may be better – and braver – than I think I am or ever can be. No matter how ludicrous that possibility may seem at the present moment, I just have to.

I must also acknowledge that who I’m actually competing against isn’t other people – that stuff’s out of my hands. Worrying about others is merely a giant red herring. Continuing to grow and improve is the key challenge here, as is overcoming self-doubt.

It’s funny how sometimes this road I’m trundling down can feel so lonely and dark at times. But yet somehow in the process of typing out my thoughts, I have found some answers too. Life’s funny like that, isn’t it?

Good night and thanks for reading this. x

Zee – 3.17am.

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2 thoughts on “Rising from the quicksand.

  1. jo says:

    aw man! sorry to hear babe. you’re one of the bravest, most driven people i know and i do hope you feel better soon. big hug and sending much love your way.

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