July 31st, 2018
Went into an audition for a musical today- the first real audition I’ve had in over 2 years. I’d prepared, practiced, prayed, focused on staying positive- ALL those lovely ‘p’ words. I marched into that building head held high- angel baby in tow- handed him to his Aunt Amy, sat down in a chair to wait, and proceeded to feel my confidence (or whatever was posing in its place…slippery, elusive little sucker) evaporate in under 7 minutes.
STILL- I thought- I got this. This is where the preparation and muscle memory kick in, right? Wrong. I walked into the room (a room filled with truly pleasant people) and showed them all precisely why they should NOT hire me. I wasn’t grounded. My hands shook. I forgot words. My voice was weak, and I’d- once again- all of a sudden forgotten how to breathe. But the biggest ‘we’ll pass on her’ offense? I was so concerned with all of it, I forgot to tell the story. There’s no point if you’re not gonna honestly tell the story.
Sounds like the account of someone going into one of their first auditions, huh? You’d never guess I’ve been in ‘the biz’ for almost 20 years. And this is just the last in a LONG chain of auditions that have gotten increasingly horrid due to nerves. I’m supposed to be the seasoned singer- the older actress who’s been through it ALL and doesn’t even remember what it’s like to have her knees start to shake under her skirt while trying to appear perfectly calm- the belting ‘Broad’ with the dry, witty, been-there-experienced- it-all energy. So, where was SHE? Why doesn’t SHE ever show up? It seems to me she skipped town and sent her sickly, indecisive, ah gee, milk-toasty third cousin to cover for her.
I survived the songs, slunk out of there- a walking apology- tried to shrug it off in a chat with my sister, changed Rex’s diaper, and thanked him for shining away some of my disappointment with a smile that reminded my heart what it beats for. And I told myself- ‘Self, you’re in a new chapter of life now.’
And the thing is- it’s the best chapter of my life. By FAR. I get to be a Mommy, and OH how I love it! Rex is my miracle, and I’m savoring every single moment with him.
But I let myself down today, and the disappointment was heavy. So, I continued the chat (while my little man was dozing off in his car seat) the whole drive home: ‘Self, maybe this happened so you’ll know how to comfort your baby when he falls short. Maybe you needed to be seriously humbled. Again. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, or your song choice was crap, or the air was too dry, or you shouldn’t have watched the news this morning, or blah blah blah..’
But what felt like the truth- after all of it- was that it might be time for me to stop trying to sing in public. For a while anyway. And I don’t say this in the self-flagellating, pitiful, ‘someone get me a pillow and a cookie and a fainting couch while you’re at it’ kind of way I’m sure it’s coming across as. I have gotten to sing so much beautiful music with so many incredible people for decades, and I’m forever grateful! – Today was a fail, but failure IS a great teacher. I’ve been taught by it every day of my life, and I’m sure it will continue to prod me along til the day I die. – I’m not advocating walking away when things get hard. I can do hard things. I have DONE hard things. And I will teach Rex that he can as well. But this time- at this point in my life- it felt different. It felt like an honest-to-goodness sign. Like a gentle but definitive ‘shove with love’ right out the backstage door.
I do still have the desire (in abundance) to share all that’s in me in some sort of creative way. Maybe I’ll land a straight play at some point. Or discover I’m actually a VERY late-blooming prodigy at oil-painting or origami. There’s no deadline…I’ll figure it out. And maybe that confident old belting broad will show up eventually. But for now, I’ll keep singing private concerts at home..in the nursery..at 2am for an audience of one little VIP.