Those of you who read my previous blog will remember my howling about under the Blue Moon last Friday night and expelling from myself “embarrassing” truths, all my truths, in an effort to own them, to be bigger, and to “let go of being small.” You will remember my feeling of exhilaration and self-ownership and silliness. You will remember my expression of accomplishment, a mature releasing of old patterns, a sense that from here on out, I will not shrink in the ownership and embodiment of my truths. **insert Xena Warrior Cry**
Therefore, it would come to you, as it did to me, as a complete disillusion as I drove home from an audition two days later in near-tears in reaction to the obviousness of my total and utter diminishment of self. **insert the raspberry sound of a balloon deflating**
I thought we’d fixed this, Moon/Universe/Life? WTF.
When one enters an audition room, one must go in with a confident demeanor. One must own the room. Pull focus. Be big. And yet, as soon as I opened the door on Sunday and walked down the aisle into the theater before the auditors, I could feel the shrinking coming over me like a storm-threatened cloud, obscuring myself, my truth, and therefore my voice.
I didn’t bomb the audition – I know what that feels and looks like! – but I didn’t do well. I felt insecure about whether I could move out of the light that was on the stage in order to do my monologue and song (Do I have to stand in this one spot??). I felt insecure about the movements I had recently added to my song (Is this totally cheesey, maybe I shouldn’t do them?). I felt insecure about the delivery of my monologue, having rehearsed it one way but a recent audition asked me to deliver it smaller to match that character (But, shit, Hair isn’t a small show – this isn’t the right delivery!)
I barely said hello to the auditors when I walked in, I was so overcome with nerves and fright. And I barely said goodbye as I left. What an impression for an actor to make, eh?
I knew immediately, no matter the outcome of the audition, that this was unacceptable to me – this was SO OLD, this habit of shrinking and being small. I mean, why do you think I banged a damn tambourine at midnight to get rid of it!!
I drove home, went straight to a room of like-minded women and cried really hard about how powerless I felt over this knee-jerk reaction to being seen. About how awful it felt to become such a shadow of who I truly am – and of who I am onstage when I’m not in auditions, when I’m actually acting and cast.
The next morning, in a funk and emotional hangover, feeling numb and reeling from my abandonment of self, I took some pointed action.
I called one of my good friends who’s an actress of many years, and said, “I think I need an audition coach. Who can you recommend?”
Because although the habit of shrinking is based on internal beliefs of self and need to be worked out on an emotional and spiritual plane, that doesn’t mean that I just sit in meditation and hope it fixes itself! That doesn’t mean that I shake a tambourine at it and believe it will just be relieved. It also means that I must take action in the practical reality realm to help alleviate myself of these habits that are causing me pain and sincere distress.
Therefore, the highest recommendation for an audition coach in hand (and now with a salary that can support these efforts), I have an audition coach. As I said to her on the phone for our consultation, I need to stop feeling embarrassed to say, “I want to be an actress.” Because that shame is part of what keeps me from really committing to it. Part of what makes me only cram for auditions the week before they happen, scrambling to find a “good” monologue, emailing people two days before my audition saying, “I don’t think this song is right, what should I do?,” calling up my vocal coach in need of an emergency lesson.
If you (ahem, I) really want to be an actress, I have to admit that to myself most of all, and to the world/others by taking the actions someone who wants to be an actress would take. As with the other truths I shouted under the moonlight last Friday, I need to begin to own them aloud if I am to achieve them.
As I further said to my new audition coach: Look, I don’t even know what kind of actress I am. If I’m a mediocre actress, then I want to know that, and I want to be the best goddamn mediocre actress I can be. If I’m meant for ensemble roles, then I want to kick the hell out of them. And if I’m meant for other roles, then I am ready to accept the help and do the work that it takes to get those. I have no idea where I am on the scale, because I’ve never fully given myself over to embracing my passion and truth. And because my mirror (like many other people’s) is clouded with self-doubt and self-judgment.
So, come, professional helpers, and help me see what I can’t see. Help me admit what I cringe to admit, “embarrassing” (silly, inconsequential, flighty and ridiculous) as my fear tells me it is:
I want to be an actress.
And I want to be the best goddamn actress I can be.