Maybe you’ve heard (because I won't shut up about it), but I was cast in a show this summer! After a nearly 10 year hiatus from the stage, I did Godspell with a great company in 2015, and had every intention to keep auditioning for shows…but then life happened. I switched jobs and moved and blah blah blah. I made lots of excuses why I couldn’t do another one, and I ended up stopping again.
I don’t know why I followed through this particular audition, actually. Right time? New job that allows for a bit more flexibility? Who knows. I am just glad that I did…because I feel like something might have changed in me for good this.
It’s actually a good story, if you like a little theater nerd action. I didn’t actually get called in for the part I got. I basically botched the sing and read for that part (damn you, nerves). I was feeling pretty upset, because I had prepared for SO long and was really confident in myself for the part. I kept waiting for them to release me and tell me I could go home.
But then…the director asked me to read as a fill-in during a scene. Apparently I did something the team liked and I kept getting asked to read, and eventually to sing. It went from being one of those auditions where you feel like “well, that was that and I am definitely not going to get the part. This journey is over for me…before it really began!” to “oh wait…I might have a shot at this!” and that momentum shift was incredible. Every actor knows that feeling – the drive you have to muster to fight for something. You want this part. You want this show. You do everything you can to make it happen. You lay it all down and show them I am your girl. I felt alive in this second half of the day.
Something clicked. Something changed within me. Something was not the same. I was through with playing by the rulllllessss (ok, just kidding. Sorry for the wicked-ly bad pun!).
But really. Something happened in that room. I felt like…well…
I felt like…myself.
Which brings me to the point of this blog.
My therapist and I have been wrestling with what it means to be Lauren Rebekah Francis.
There’s the Lauren I’ve been for a long time, the driven gal who was always practical and realistic, sometimes to a fault. She always knew that the logical thing to do was get a degree and find a job that would pay her enough to be a serious adult with a serious adult life. Period. She finished college early and got an internship and then got a real job and a masters degree and landed a career she could see herself in for a long time.
She knew that singing and dancing and acting was fun, and she knew she loved it – but she also knew that was a tough industry and a hard path to follow in the real world. So she decided she’d enjoy it from afar. Watch the magic from the seats and cheer on the people who were living out her dream.
But she realized, over time, that even though she had most of the things she really wanted in her life, there was something missing. She looked fondly back on the times she spent on stage and wondered if those days were truly behind her.
She was terrified they were.
But she was also terrified they weren’t.
I remember post-college, I would spend hours in my room scouring through audition notices online and talking myself out of every single one.
It’s not practical. Your days of performing are over. You’re not ever going to make it at this point, so why even go down that road? You’ll never get cast when they see you haven’t done anything in years. You missed your shot!
It was basically a constant cycle of letting myself get a little, teeny bit excited at the possibility of something…and then shutting myself down.
But as I have been processing life and who I am and who I want to be in therapy, we’ve come to learn that I often talk myself out of a lot of good things in life. I let practicality win over something that could be so wonderful for my heart. I let the possibility of failure and rejection prevent me from taking a risk that could change everything. It might sound like a silly thing, all this from going to an audition for a show, but it’s a huge life realization.
Sometimes it’s ok to do the non-practical thing. It’s ok to audition for a musical because it’s something you love. It’s ok to have to figure out how to make all the things you love in life part of your life. It’s ok to allow yourself to be passionate about things that you thought were not in the cards for you anymore. It’s ok to be a serious adult who sits at a desk and manages people by day – and a singing, dancing, sea creature by night. What does "making it" even mean? Can't you just allow yourself to have fun!?
I didn’t write this to brag about my show or offer some cliché rhetoric that I think you’ll like. I wrote this because I am sick of being my own worst enemy. I wrote it because I needed to remind myself that I’m a multi-faceted person, and I need to attend to those different facets because they are part of me. Illogical and impractical as they are.
And I just have a sense that some of you need this same pep-talk.
Maybe there’s something you keep talking yourself out of that you need to do. Maybe it’s the silliest thing…but it makes you tick. It makes you feel like yourself in a way that nothing else has in a long time.
Get in the room and sing your face off in hopes of a part.
Apply for a new position.
Open the computer and write the words.
Take the class and learn how to do it.
Buy the ticket and travel to the place.
Try out for the _________________.
Whatever it is…allow yourself to go there. I fully believe that we spend too much time thinking we can’t do something instead of trying – and that’s no way to live.
*note: come see me in The Little Mermaid! I’ll be the adorable lady-crab bossing everyone around :)