“Step, kick, kick, leap, kick touch. ” That verse from “A Chorus Line” is forever embedded in my brain. It’s one of my favorite musicals to date, and the only play I was ever in! I wish I had VCR footage to share. My debut performance in 6th grade was sadly my last. The play, however, is one of the top ten laughable memories among my friends and I! It was just that good (or painfully bad).
I never pursued plays further because of my tone deafness. I can’t carry a tune to save my life. The thought of singing in front of a live audience still makes me cringe. I, did, however, love to dance. I started dancing at the age of 3, but didn’t develop a passion for it until many years later. I vividly remember taking a summer workshop at the age of 12. It was during this intense program that we learned the ins and outs of auditioning and performing. By the end of the course, I was hooked. A few weeks later, I found myself auditioning for the dance company at my studio. It was undoubtedly, one of the best decisions I ever made. Dance taught me so many valuable life lessons and I forged everlasting friendships with my dance teacher and fellow dancers.
During my years at the studio, I learned the true meaning of hard work, dedication, commitment, and teamwork. Through competition, failure and resilience went hand and hand. I didn’t always win, but I never let it hinder my dreams. I knew I wasn’t the best dancer on the stage, but I loved the way it made me feel. I went on to audition in my 20’s. Throughout that process, my inability to sing haunted me. Dance wasn’t enough. Singing and acting played an enormous part in the casting process. I luckily landed a gig as Blue in the Blues Clues Live Tour. After I came back from the tour, I made the painful decision to give up on auditioning and my dream. I had accepted my fate. I now look back on that decision with sincere regret. I wholeheartedly, however, believe it is the reason why I pursued Stay at Home Stylist. I wasn’t going to let my fears and insecurities get the best of me again!
You may be wondering what brought this revelation and walk down memory lane to the forefront. It’s simple. My daughter Gianna. For those of you who don’t know, she has been singing, acting, and dancing since birth. Her first sentences were a recitation from Hairspray and the majority of her toddler days were spent performing for anyone that would listen. At the age of 4, I decided to take her on an open casting call. Fear ensued. While I knew that starting young in this business was crucial, I wasn’t sure if I wanted my little girl to experience rejection at such a young age. Ultimately, Gianna made the decision for me. The next day we were on our way to NYC. A few days later the agency called asking to see Gianna in their office. A week later we had an agent! We went on tons of auditions over the next few months, yet, never booking a job. Thankfully, Gianna was young and unfazed. After about a year, she was losing interest. The unpredictability and driving was taking its toll on me too. We took a hiatus from auditioning. In the meantime, she still acted in school plays and added competitive dance to her resume. A few years later, however, the acting bug returned. A more mature Gianna was determined to become a star!
Fast forward to the present and my 10-year-old has been taking classes in the city and auditioning for regional productions. She is a small fish in a very BIG pond. She’s becoming more cognizant of all the negatives this business offers, yet she still craves more! Most recently, she auditioned for a role in the production of Annie. This is her favorite musical and she wanted a part more than anything. She was so determined. At the audition, tons of young girls donning pigtails eagerly waited to be seen, all vying for a part. Gianna danced and sang her heart out. She came out happy and very positive. A few days later we were notified for a callback. Gianna was now ecstatic. After the callback, however, the positivity suddenly vanished. The moment we got in the car, the tears rolled down her face. In between her whimpering, she mumbled the words “messed up”. After gaining her composure, it was evident that she didn’t feel overly confident about her performance. In her mind, she was never getting a part and was no longer good enough. She wanted to quit this process entirely.
My heart ached for my baby girl. Watching her cry herself to sleep and feel this kind of pain made me relive my own experiences. A part of me blamed myself for subjecting her to this madness. After reflection and encouragement from friends and family, however, I knew this ordeal would only make her stronger. Every life lesson is ultimately a step in the pursuit of happiness and success.
The next few days, we eagerly waited by the phone. We would be notified by Thursday if Gianna got a role. Thursday night came and the phone never rang. Gianna went to bed sullen and defeated. Friday morning I woke up early and went through my emails. To my surprise, there was an email from the casting director. Gianna was cast as the role of Kate. Needless to say, it was a happy morning.
I wonder if Gianna would have really given up on her dreams if the outcome had been different. I certainly wouldn’t let her! I will do everything I can to help her continue to hone her craft and achieve her goals. I will wipe away her tears, lift her up when she falls, and push her to persevere. I vow to raise strong, independent, and self-assured women who value their worth and settle for nothing less.
No dream is too big. It may have taken me 36 years to realize this, but better late than never. I am finally courageous enough to be living out my own dreams. My life lessons serve as reassurance and motivation for my girls to do the same!
“Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart, and strong enough to live the life you imagined.”
Stick out your chin and grin and say: “The sun will come out tomorrow.” Congrats Gianna! Proud is an understatement:)
Photo Credit:Ruffles and Trains Photography
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My Blouse was generously gifted to me by Love By Design and can be found at your local TJ Maxx