This week I had an audition. As a trained actress that in itself doesn't sound like something too radical or scary but the context is that I have been out of the 'loop' for about 4 years and added to that this audition required me to Rap. Yes you heard it - RAP!
Anyone that has met me would say I am about as far from being 'Street' (if that is still even the cool term) as a Country Lane! Needless to say the thought of walking into a room of people watching me and having to have 'Swagger' (had to Youtube that to know what it was) whilst speaking very fast, musically to a backing tune was enough to turn me into a Tena user.
Interestingly though, I didn't respond to the email with a 'No' rather a funny thought entered my mind, it was the image of me dancing and singing in my living room to Rhianna and various other very cool artists. This idea that I could, maybe for that moment be something that I would not normally allow myself to be in public excited me. My secret fantasies of being a cool, rhythmic goddess took over my better judgment and I procrastinated, that and I could not think of a good excuse to refuse that didn't look totally wet. After 2 days and being chased for an answer I oddly said 'Yes'.
That was the beginning, from that point on I started to think about reason, excuses I could give to get myself out of this pickle I had created. Then it dawned on me that I may actually have to do this and I set about learning the lyrics. After 2 children and 6 continuous years of sleep deprivation, words don't stick in my mind like they once did, especially when I have no idea of what they mean.
I read and listened for a day. Then it was time to walk over. I was petrified but also wasn't really thinking about the reality of what I was about to do, potentially make a complete fool of myself at my only audition so far this year. As I walked to the Casting Studios, my knees and legs were shaking but I kept walking, unable to think of a good enough excuse to turn round. I walked up the stairs, signed in and waited.
Other actors arrived, clearly up for the same part. They knew all the words! I felt myself comparing my inadequate learning effort with theirs and again wondering at what point it would be respectable to say I had to leave as I had been waiting too long. I re-read the lyrics and berated myself for not bringing headphones so I could prepare fully.
Then I had a breakthrough. It dawned on me that what I was scared of was what others would think of me but more importantly what I would think of myself. I had always been a bit clumsy and had a gait throughout my teens, whilst other girls had natural grounding and the seeming ability to hold their space with confidence. I had been shy and awkward and I was facing that aspect of me and asking myself if I could show something else, another me that only came out when I thought no one was looking. I was ultimately facing my own limiting beliefs about myself and asking myself to step out of the box of 'me' that I had spent years creating - 'this isn't me' I told myself as I looked for excuses to abandon my challenge but today I was going to own it and it was going to be Me. I was going to give up my self-criticism, self-consciousness and self-limitations, I was not that excited about keeping all of those anyway.
I took a breath and embraced all those feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, as well as potential and realised that I owed it to myself to be the coolest queen I could be, no matter what anyone else thought because I was the one who had something to gain. I had the ability to give myself confidence, opportunity and a sense of pride that I gave it my best and overcome every self-critical thought that was running through my head. I decided to let go and if I could do nothing else, then I would give the best of me that was available that day, so I could be proud of me.
And I did. The music came on and the nerves came but I gave those moves everything I had available at that time. I felt like I was in my living room, no one watching and I was free to imagine, pretend I was a musical goddess with a body that just flowed with the sounds around me. Words hardly left my mouth but it didn't matter.
I have no idea how it was received, someone said "I really liked that" which was nice but ultimately I didn't care. I walked out pumped; I had overcome a fear, a limitation in myself and for the next day I felt invisible. I was terrified and I did it anyway, with everything I had. What self-criticism could I give myself for that? I gave myself a gift of challenge, pride and resilience.
That feeling didn't end there, taking that little step to do something that scared me, changed me. I have felt much more confident to express my authenticity since, in my voice, behaviour and intentions.
So I invite you, do something that scares you a little, however small that may be but to ask yourself to overcome some limitation and congratulate yourself for taking action. It could be the start of something magical...