A couple of weeks ago I woke up bright and early on a fine Tuesday morning excited and ready for a musical theatre audition I’d been preparing so diligently for. There was a touch (okay, maybe a lot) of nervous energy flitting about my system as well as some confidence, determination and eagerness. I’m not delusional, I did not think I’d get the job but I was determined to do a great audition and at least get a callback. So, with all these feelings and logical thoughts set up in my brain, I got myself ready and went to my audition. The waiting room was pleasant, people seemed nice so I was relaxed. It came to be my turn and I was keen to get in there and sing. I sang my song, albeit I was still feeling a touch nervous. A normal nervous not a crazy anxious hyperventilating nervous. I sang the second song and hoped the response from the audition panel was positive, it seemed positive. I walked out and felt like I’d done my best and hoped it was enough to get a callback. That was my goal, to get a callback. I stood back in the waiting area, other keen auditionees around me being nice, giving me looks of hope and smiling pleasantly. Someone came out and was walking towards me holding a sheet of paper that would decide my fate. They lowered their voice and said, ‘Thank you, that’s all we need to see today’. I smiled and almost too loudly said, ‘Great thank you!’. I grabbed my stuff and walked out, still smiling, until I got out of the building and that’s when it hit me. Rejection.
I can’t tell you why that particular experience of rejection hit me the hardest but it did. My heart was telling me enough is enough. So naturally, I called my husband and cried as I walked to the car. I didn’t even care who saw me walking the streets in a mini skirt, heels and crop top crying my eyes out. I got in my car and continued to cry. I mean whatever, I feel like it was a completely normal response (haha). I drove myself home, in tears. For twenty minutes I drove and cried. I got out of my car and walked inside still crying. I saw my husband waiting for me, a look of pure sympathy on his face, which only made me cry even more. I went to the bedroom and took a look at the trainwreck that was my face in the mirror. I had mascara running down my cheeks, chunks of foundation missing, lipstick everywhere and a bright red nose. I decided then and there that I was sick to death of waiting for someone to tell me I was enough. That I was enough talent or enough ANYTHING.
For the past few months, I’ve been receiving weekly bouts of rejection. In other words, I’ve been ‘getting in the room’, seeing casting directors or auditioning for musicals. I’m grateful that I’m getting the opportunity to audition for so many things but I’m also a little over the constant ‘nos’. I’d say that I have a pretty thick skin. I can let it slide and laugh it off and joke about it all being part of the job. I can rationalise situations and truly see that the rejection is not a reflection of who I am as a person or an artist. I can understand the way this industry works and take personal feelings out of the equation. Or so I thought. I had hoped I was this highly intelligent and evolved being but I suppose that day I reached my breaking point. I was angry, annoyed and over it. Why should I bother working so hard only to get rejected? Why should I bother waking up in the morning, bother trying to make myself look decent and bother wasting 3-4 hours of my day to be told no? When can I finally get enough ‘yeses’ so that I can truly call myself a professional? The real question I need to ask myself is, ‘Why am I still allowing myself to be defined by the opinions of others?’.
Whose job is it to tell me when I’ve ‘made it’ or when I can really call myself an artist? Mine. It’s my job to tell myself who and what I am. Really, I’m in control of myself, my actions and my choices, therefore, I am in control of who and what I am. Yes, outside factors play a part in all that makes me, ‘me’. However, I am not an innocent bystander watching despairingly as I slowly lose control of what I want and who I want to be. These ideas seem so simple and easy to follow. I mean, what the hell have I been doing this whole time!? But alas my friends, it is never that simple or easy as I’m sure you already know. I feel like the more we try to force ourselves to be ‘strong’ or indifferent to feelings of hurt and rejection the more we set ourselves up to implode. I’m talking about emotionally imploding and then inevitably exploding into a combustion of tears and makeup, of course. So what can remedy this predicament I’ve placed myself in? It seems to me that I need to no longer feel powerless. I need to find ways to take back the power and assert myself as a meaningful contributor to our artistic society. Or perhaps, to society in general. It seems like the more I seek approval from these supposed ‘powerful’ career deciders the more I chip away at my self-worth. To be quite frank, I’m bloody sick of it!
The point of this long-winded ramble? To share thoughts and feelings I’m sure we all have in common. How do you deal with rejection and what stories can you share that have made you stronger because of it?
Let me know in the comments!