…to be what you might have been.
I could have been a dancer, if only my parents had ever had the money to send me to lessons like they’d hoped.
I could have been an actor, if only I’d chosen drama over other “extracurricular” activities.
I could have been a singer, if only I’d followed my childhood dream (yes, I’m that old) of auditioning for ‘American Idol’.
Luckily for me, it’s never too late.
I did return to the stage last year for the first time after many joyful experiences as a child in the theater world. I was fortunate to be part of the cast of a musical written by my father in law, which seemed like a natural point of re-entry and was as comfortable and casual of an experience as possible for a novice like me.
When the opportunity arose recently to try for a role with a respected local company in a Christmas musical (and as buddy the elf would say, ‘Christmas is my favorite!’) I did a really good job of talking myself out of auditioning in the weeks leading up to try outs.
For those or you who don’t know- and maybe I’m not as good at hiding it as I think- I am a long time sufferer of low self esteem and high self doubt. So in the final hour, I turned towards those I trust and respect to give me some honest advice.
I was overwhelmed by the positivity of my family and friends and their ability to believe in me despite my disability to believe in myself.
With a supportive friend in tow, I made my way to auditions two nights ago. Surprisingly, I felt my nerves calm when I walked in and felt pride in the accomplishment of just getting myself there!
Looking around as the night went on, I inevitably thought how others were more good looking/better singers/better dancers than I, but when it came time for me to take center stage, I felt the sentiments of those who had encouraged me carrying me and lifting me up as if I were an untouchable cloud floating high in the sky.
I chose to sing “If Only” penned by my father-in-law, a song that my character sang in an expression of hope for a world where everyone can be who they want to be/really are. Searching the faces in the crowd, I could sense that even these complete strangers were cheering me on and when that voice in my head seemed to recognize it was the only one on its side, it seemed to silence itself.
By nights end, I was, to my amazement, cast as the second lead. I know I have much to learn and lots of hard work ahead of me.
But I think I am finally ready to be what I might have been, if only.