I’ve literally been writing drafts of this post for over 16 months.
Seriously. It says: created on 18th January 2015. How ridiculous is that?
It’s been a tough post for me to write, because it mainly involves me sucking up my pride and admitting I failed at something. Which I’m not really good at.
And not only failed, but gave up. QUIT.
(Dun, dun, duuuuuuun.)
Because it’s not really the done thing really is it? To quit. It means you were weak. You didn’t hold out. It represents failure. You weren’t good enough, so you gave up.
Don’t ever give up on your dream. Isn’t that what they all say?
Well you know what?
I failed. I wasn’t good enough. I quit.
And that’s OK.
I started acting when I was 7 years old. I was a lily flower and a piece of seaweed and a slithy tove in a local production of Alice in Wonderland. (Yes, a slithy tove is a thing. It involved me wearing a grey robe, red deely boppers and a black mask to scare the Knave of Hearts off stage. It was ace.)
I’d been bitten by the acting bug and I knew that acting was what I wanted to do. What I was MEANT to do. Nothing else interested me.
My whole life revolved around whatever show we were working on that term, and all my best friends were from the theatre group. I never even considered a different career path.
Eventually, I came to the UK and studied for a BA (Hons) in Musical Theatre.
I worked hard for those three years. Like, REALLY hard. Not just singing, dancing and acting, but business studies, events management, contextual history modules and even a (totally unhelpful) self-employment course.
14 hour days during show weeks were the norm. I wrote essays at 2 o’clock in the morning, after working an 8 hour shift at the pub in my part-time job. I toured the South East for two weeks as Cinderella in Into The Woods, getting up every day at 6am to travel for hours to each venue, setting up, rehearsing, doing the show and travelling back again to go to sleep at 1am… only to do it all again the next day.
And I LOVED it.
I was so passionate and so determined that this was the right path for me.
I graduated with a first class degree. I spent a fortune on headshots, envelopes, postage, more singing lessons and a Spotlight subscription. I applied to hundreds of agents.
I worked late shifts at a Wetherspoons in zone 6, pulling pints for creepy old men and pouring sambucca shots for loud and obnoxious teenagers. I got up early to apply for auditions, email agents and generally try to get SOME form of acting work. I managed to get a couple of short film gigs. None of them paid, obviously…
I invested EVERYTHING in that dream.
But a few months later, I still had no agent. I was constantly tired, constantly broke and I was sick to the back teeth of the creepy men and obnoxious teenagers. I was getting about three auditions a month on average, had done 2 acting “jobs” (not paid) in 6 months, and my self-confidence was at an all-time low.
I still loved the actual acting, but everything else about “the dream” was making me utterly miserable.
And one day I decided I’d had enough.
So I quit.
I actually called my decision to quit “a break”. For months.
I called it that because I didn’t want to admit failure. I didn’t want to admit that things like having money and free time and being able to go out and eat in restaurants and travel and go to the theatre and meet new people meant more to me than “my dream”.
I didn’t want to admit that, actually, I wasn’t good enough.
I wasn’t. And that’s the hard truth of it.
Which I can now admit quite happily. But at the time, the thought of having to publicly admit failure was just not something I could deal with. You may or may not have noticed, but I’ve got a really bad habit of caring too much what people think about me…
But you know what? Quitting acting is the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
(Seriously. I know I’m prone to exaggeration, but this is not one of those times.)
Within two weeks of making my choice, I’d bagged myself a job as a well-paid receptionist in central London. I found a room in a nice flat in a nice area that I could actually afford. I actually had time to go out and meet people and go on dates. And on my second ever online date (about three weeks after quitting), I met my current boyfriend.
I was able to go to the theatre and out for dinner. I could travel and buy new clothes and work out.
And MAN it felt good.
I was able to start a blog… which lead me to where I am now. Both literally and metaphorically.
Blogging has started out in a very similar vein to acting for me. It’s a hobby that I adore, which might, hopefully one day, become a career that I love.
But I’ve learnt from the past and I’m fully prepared to accept that this might not ever blossom into something more (eurgh, I’m making this sound like a date…)
So I’m going to try my best to make my blog a success. I’m going to work as hard as I can at it, and I’ll either succeed or I’ll fail. But I’m going to keep on trying until I no longer love it and it no longer makes me happy.
Because if there’s ANYTHING I’ve realised in the past few weeks of loss and sadness and fuming anger at the world, is that life is too fucking short to not be doing something you love.
And I’m not entirely sure where this is going anymore, so on that note: I’m off to drink gin and watch Family Guy. Because no one ever told me that baring your soul to the internet was quite so mentally draining.
Merry bank holiday to all, and to all a good night.