We just came back from a week of vacation with my family - my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, and our niece. The next three years are going to be nuts, and I won’t get to see very much of them, so I am thankful we had this time together where everyone was on vacation.
As you probably know if you follow my blog, the last year has been a massive one for me - major health issues, teaching college for the first time, getting accepted to grad school. Lots of change in a very short amount of time.
On the last morning of our trip, my mom said something to me. This is not verbatim, but you get the gist, “I’ve been thinking about what I would have done in your shoes. To be honest, I think I would have taken the safe road, continuing to teach at Florida Southern, and working on getting my Master’s somewhere local. But you never take the easy way, you always take the hard way.” She was telling me she was proud of me, that I was being brave, stepping into the unknown.
I’ve always stepped cautiously in my life choices. When it come down to it, though, I’ve always taken the tough route, the one with the greater payoff, the one that gives me the chance to reach for that infamous Brass Ring. I hate change, but I’m not afraid to take a giant leap of faith, knowing that if it doesn’t work out as I planned, it will still be worthwhile and I can adapt and make the best of it.
That’s what I do - I adapt. I’m good at it. I’m not a chameleon. I don’t change who I am in any fundamental way, but I adapt quickly and well to the circumstances surrounding me. So, I know that I will always find a way to be okay. Makes it easier to leap when the right opportunity comes along.
Maybe it’s all the years of auditioning. Actors are some of the bravest people out there, truly. We put ourselves on the line every day, facing rejection time and time again, usually for a reason that has nothing to do with our talent. We get rejected because of our face, our hair, our skin, our bodies - too thin, too fat, too kind, too pretty, not pretty enough. And somehow, we dust ourselves off and put ourselves back out there the next day and the day after that, knowing that it’s a game of numbers and eventually we will hit the jackpot if we keep training, keep showing up, keep persevering. What that does to you is eliminate the fear of rejection - you either keep getting up and showing up, or you get out of the business. When you’re not afraid of how you’ll handle the outcome, it makes it easier to take a risk. Actors are conditioned to handle rejection and take risks, everyday.
On top of that, I’m not willing to waste a day of my life - there is so much to do, see, experience in this incredible world we are living in. I cannot and will not miss out on it, especially because of fear. (Though some fears are useful - for example, I have no intention of placing myself in a war zone just to say I’ve been there.) I refuse to sit back and let me life pass me by - our days are finite. We all will die someday, and whenever that day comes for me, I want to pass from this life knowing I lived it well.
I am not afraid. I’m willing to dream and then act on those dreams.
As mom so aptly puts it, “You are daring to do something different with your life.”
I guess that makes me brave.