Last week, I ran into a college professor at a local coffee shop. Actually, I saw her from the back of the line, stared into my phone, and prayed she didn’t notice me.
Suddenly, I had a full on flashback of our last conversation. It was my senior year of college, and I had just handed in my final. She walked me out of the classroom to say goodbye, and asked about my post grad plans. I explained how excited I was to be an actress. I had taken every acting course my college offered and had never felt an adrenaline rush greater than when I was playing a character. The further away from my own personality the bigger the rush.
Since I was graduating, I could focus on auditions. I’d probably find a part time job to pay the bills and do what I already knew I loved.
Her response? “That will be hard, but good luck.” It seemed harsh at the time, but she was sincere in her well wishes, and she was right. It would be hard.
Snapping out of my flashback, I realized where all the avoidance was coming from. If she were to say hello to me, today, I’d have no great stories of failed or funny auditions, the work that I had booked, the successes the failures, the learnings. I couldn’t even say “well, tried that, not for me.”
I didn’t even try.
At the first sign of failure, I traded the grind of acting for a steady paycheck where I could safely learn to rise and
I wish I could tell my 22 year old self how necessary, important, and ultimately, inevitable those failures would be but there’s a lesson to be learned in everything we do — or in this case don’t do and it’s one of the most important lessons of all, for me.
It will always feel better to fail, learn & grow than to have never tried at all.
Completely unrelated to fear, I no longer have aspirations of being an actress but I do have aspirations.
Big ones — and I won’t allow myself to say I didn’t try.