I’m going to tailer this post to acting, since that’s what I’m here for. But really this applies to any of you who discovered your passion and yet are scared shitless to go after it. Especially passions like Acting, Directing, Writing, Comedy, Singing, etc. Whether you’re afraid of failure, or of success, going after what you really want can be frightening.
I’ve been in somewhat of a denial of my dream since the moment I realized it. My mother always instilled in me that the arts were hobbies not careers. Appropriate jobs were Lawyer, Doctor or Architect. For the first portion of my life, I entertained the thought of architecture because it still felt creative to me. I’d draw mock housing plans, elaborate floorplans for imaginary lofts, etc. But then I got bored and realized that’s not at all what I wanted to do. Then the first part of high school I thought psychologist. I loved listening to and giving advice to my girlfriends. And psychology involved science and I felt that would be acceptable to my mother and to society as a “legitimate” career (whatever that means). I soon became disinterested in that as well.
All throughout this time there was this pesky feeling deep inside my heart that said to not give up on acting. And at this point, I hadn’t even tried it! A childhood friend and neighbor (incidentally, now a successful writer and theater director!) had taken a local summer theatre camp, which she really loved. I gathered the courage to ask my parents if I could participate in that theater program the summer before my Sophomore year of high school. They said yes and just like that, I enrolled in Theatricum Botanicum‘s High School Intensive Shakespeare Seminar.
Theatricum’s magical outdoor stage, nestled deep in the heart of Topanga Canyon (LA’s hippie haven), was the first stage I ever performed on. It was doing the balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet. After the show I even had one of the parents tell me it was the best rendition of Romeo & Juliet they had ever seen! I don’t know about that, but I was flattered and I was hooked.
My experience at this camp not only made me fall in love with Shakespeare, it solidified my passion for acting. There was no doubt in my mind that I belonged on stage. The feeling I felt that very first time I performed, live, in front of an audience, was unlike anything I had ever felt in my entire life. I was on a natural high I could not describe.
But that was over TEN years ago! So, why so long? FEAR.
Even after this enlightening experience on stage, I did this “Yes” “No” “Yes” “No” dance with acting. When college rolled around, I got the courage and made up my mind to major in theater. Dream school- Tisch at NYU. (“Yes”) But after a year there, for various reasons, I left and returned home to LA to rethink my college goals. I switched from a BFA in Theater to a BA in English Lit. Perhaps a smart decision, but also possibly moving further away from my original goal. (“No“) When I attended UC Berkeley, I did a lot of plays and student films, resolving that as soon as I obtained my diploma I would return to LA for acting once and for all. (“Yes”) But years went by and I remained in the Bay Area. (“No”) It took a while, but I finally made the move home and thus my journey continues… (“Yes!!!”)