Check Yourself.

She’s on a train again. But today she’s heading home from an audition. HURRAH – she’s finally got an proper professh audition (only taken two years since grad).

As much as it would be easier for me to tell you that the jobs just weren’t out there and people never reply (both these statement are pretty true and don’t aid an artists cause), I promised I wouldn’t lie to you and in doing so myself. If you want to audition for things you have to apply.

Funny when you write it down. It’s all much simpler. The simple fact is I was too chicken. I was scared. What if I had lost all my skills? What if I got in the room and failed? It was easier for me not to apply than to apply and get knocked down. Or know I could look back and say that I hadn’t tried my best, hadn’t given it my all and that if I had maybe I would have gotten further. I was giving up before even really trying.

A new year, a fresh reminder that life is too short (see my last post for details) and tiny baby steps have helped pull me out of this rut. I have been reading more (‘Feminist Don’t Wear Pink, and Other Lies’, ‘Conversations with Friends’ and ‘Small Great Things’ are my latest recommendations) sleeping earlier, having good long conversations with some of my favourite people, seeing more theatre and getting outside more. I have applied for everything and everything that I can almost everyday. Because if I want my dream to become my everyday I gotta put the work in everyday.

Slowly I am working to shift my mindset.

I am learning to back myself because someone’s got to in an industry that can be so cold. When you do apply you rarely get a response and we all know how cut throat an actual audition can be. Look out for yourself. But also trust yourself. I have to put myself forward, to take the plunge and if I fail then so what, but at least it was whilst I was really trying.

We studied Comedy at university and, more than any other skill, it taught us to fail. Over and over and still pick ourselves up. Take a risk, make yourself look like a complete idiot, squirm in the silence of an audience and then try something else. It’s only since graduating and facing the big bad world that I am truly beginning to comprehend the value of this lesson. FAIL – first attempt in learning. Maybe it’s for this reason I chose ‘Oom Pah Pah’ as my unaccompanied song for my audition. Bold, I know. Thank you Pat Welsh (if you know, you know).

I have also watched more theatre in the last month, and seen good friends soar to new heights. A few months ago I struggled to separate my excitement and joy at seeing friends rise and my jealousy at not getting anywhere myself. Again so ridiculous when written down as firstly; I needed to be applying for things to get anywhere in the first place. Secondly; the roles my friends have received would never be something I could play (not because I lack the skills but because I’m just not right for that part). And thirdly; because how on earth can I call myself a friend if I cannot celebrate their successes.

You have to check yourself and your behaviour; call yourself out on your bullshit to allow yourself to grow. It can be really tough, to realise you have been in the wrong, made mistakes or even hurt people. But a dear friend once told me I have to be able to own my shit. Learn from it and move on.

Show up for yourself every day, say yes to more and know you’re good at what you do. Dust off your skills and practise them. Help friends. Accept help from friends. Never be afraid to try. Keep going. What’s the worst that could happen?

It’s easy to lose sight of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. To let the dream fog over for a while. But you reach a little crossroads, which I’m sure I’ll meet again, where you have to decide what you want and how much you want it. The truth is; acting, telling stories, creating sets my soul on fire. And I won’t stop. Not for anyone ancd certainly not for my doubts. The fog is dispersing and there, a little closer than before, is my dream. Clearer than ever.

Speak soon, M x

P.S. the picture for this post is work by Florence Given, an incredible London based artist and thinker. The thoughts, for me, extend to men and non-binary people too, any artist in fact, but the art is too good not to share. Check her out at @florencegiven or https://www.florencegiven.com.

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