“Having a dream, Erin, is awesome.
Having a dream and showing up every day, even when nothing seems to be happening, is priceless.
But having a dream and showing up every day, while sauntering, winking, and hugging everyone, is when the floodgates begin to tremble.
Whoop. You’ve caught me at a bad time.
There was a role that I desperately wanted to play, and it doesn’t look like it’s coming my way. Usually you just don’t hear back, or you get a rejection email. But as fate would have it, I was privy to the knowledge that the calls were being made. I’m feeling nauseous and still staring at my phone willing it to ring. With every minute that passes I can feel the cloud descending. Troubling thoughts are racing through my head. “If I can’t get a part I thought I was perfect for, how the hell am I going to get any roles at all?/I should just give up and try to marry a rich dude/I am mad at myself for getting my hopes up so high.” Luckily, I have the power to change the story I am telling myself.
I learned a few years ago that it is within my power to assign meaning to the events of my life. My happenings don’t have to affect my happiness. When I am feeling anxious or upset I can choose to channel negative energy into positive creation. This applies to a wide range of events, from a simple rejection letter to a national crisis. For instance, when I learned about the shooting in Colorado last summer, I was heartbroken. I was working at a small summer stock theatre, and I felt like the safe little bubble I had been living in was popped. A cloud of sadness consumed me, making it almost impossible to concentrate during work. How did I make the cloud go away?
I wrote letters. I wrote little cards to people I missed from home. My best friends, my sisters, my parents, even some acquaintances I just admire. I thought about all the things I loved about them, wrote it in a card, and let them know how much I missed them and I couldn’t wait to see them again. Thinking about all those people I love lifted the cloud. I am not sharing this to say “look how nice I am because I wrote cards”. It was a completely selfish act. I did it because it made me feel better.
So here I am staring at this phone, willing it to ring but feeling in my gut it’s not going to happen. I choose to focus my energy on something positive. I’ve writing a gratitude list. A list of all the things I am happy for RIGHT NOW. Obviously I am grateful for my family, friends, and their health. But talking about specifics can be a cathartic exercise that brings you down from a ledge.
- I don’t have to move in the near future.
- I am a healthy young woman with the freedom to express myself in whatever way I choose.
- The Hawks are in the finals.
- I am learning a valuable lesson about humility, optimism, and faith.
- Right now its just me. No husband, no children, no one to answer to but my own conscience, and I like it that way. For now.
- Its summer and I can wear sundresses.
- I get to spend most days caring for wonderful children I love, and introducing them to the world.
- I can play my ukulele ANY TIME I WANT.
- I am going to a dance party on Saturday night, and I plan on wearing a fabulous dress, and dancing my face off.
- In myself, I have the agency to create my own destiny. Perhaps this setback is a catalyst into something better. A push that will help me create my own opportunity rather than waiting to be chosen by someone else.
- There is chocolate ice cream in the freezer.
- Someone invented sunscreen, and therefore I can enjoy being outside as much as I like.
- I live in ‘Merica!
- As soon as Will wakes up from his nap, we are going to bring the bubble-gun down to the lake and go crazy.
- There are always more shows. More auditions. More opportunities. Not getting this role doesn’t mean I can never do theatre again. The next show could be just around the corner.
- I am lucky enough to have a wide circle of friends; College friends, high school friends, theatre friends, random people I’ve met in the last two years who I have become amazingly close to. There is never a shortage of entertainment or love, so who am I to feel bad for myself ever?