Live-Blogging a Rejection

“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.

The Universe” –Notes from the Universe

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?
In every great setback in my life, I’ve always looked back later and thought “Thank goodness. If things had worked out the way I originally wanted, I would have missed out on so much.” So I choose to be miracle minded. I choose to believe that there is something else I am supposed to be doing, and its my job to find it/create it.

Overcoming Professional Jealousy

“Fulfillment comes from developing your own talents, not wishing for someone else’s” -Unknown

We’ve all been there. You are sitting in your PJs mindlessly trolling your Facebook news feed and BOOM someone you know has just been cast in that amazing part, at that amazing theatre, doing that amazing play. The entire community rejoices with 57 “likes” and comments. You are super excited and join the congratulatory celebration.

Then you feel it. That twinge of jealousy and disappointment. “Oh man, they didn’t even want to see me audition for that.”  You start to wonder if you’ll ever have an opportunity like that? Then that voice in your head starts whispering “Well of course you won’t get a chance like that. You didn’t go to the right schools. You aren’t talented enough, pretty enough, smart enough…. ”

I don’t know the source of the quote I opened with though I’ve known it since high school. It’s always provided me with the strength needed to silence that nasty voice that pipes up whenever I am dealing with professional jealousy. The only way to overcome professional jealousy is to stop comparing yourself, stop looking at what everyone else is accomplishing and start accomplishing something yourself.

For me, the jealously is only a passing thing. Its my ego wishing that people were impressed with me, wishing I had the security that I imagine other people have. It’s a blip on my emotional radar that is easily remedied by reminding myself of simple truths.  I remember that my love for my friends is stronger than my ego. I remember that no one is totally secure in their talent or job. I can be truly grateful to be surrounded by talented dedicated artists, and learn everything I can from them. I am also thankful that when I’ve been successful in the past, my friends have always been excited and supportive.

I will not succumb to bitterness and jealousy. I will use successful actors as my model, as my example, as proof that a life in the arts is possible and potentially lucrative (or at least livable). Successful friends are living proof that dreams come true. They are walking examples that people with similar backgrounds can make an impact. So I will work harder. I will spend more time practicing, I will spend more time in class. I will develop my own talents rather than wishing for someone else’s.

When I get jealous its because I am operating under the false belief that I would be happier living someone else’s life. Remember that this life is not easy for anyone, even if it seems so. Everyone, no matter how successful, has had their own struggles and disappointments. So stop wasting time wishing are start working.

So you’re not working now? Read more plays, add some new monologues to your repertoire, write more, take some classes. Keep sharp, because you don’t know when you’ll be called upon to be at your best. Also, the more time you spend working on yourself, the less time you have to compare yourself to others. Find creative outlets so you don’t become blocked and bitter.

Remember that what you have to offer is completely unique, and trust that eventually someone will be looking for exactly what you are offering.