Musings of an Irish-American

Sometimes I think about stuff, and then I write it here…

Monthly Archives: December 2011

scared

With Christmas and the New Year approaching, I wish you all the warmest regards for the holiday season.

Although I thought I’d have a lot more time to post here as a post-grad, I was wrong, but I also feel I’m sticking to my original intention of only posting my thoughts on here when I feel I can offer up something insightful from my own experiences rather than a weekly, obligatory “here’s what’s going on in my life right now” kind of post. Now is one of those times, because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my future as I complete applications for my second attempt at going to graduate school for an MFA in Acting.

I’ve been reading (and re-reading) Audition┬áby Michael Shurtleff, both in anticipation of my graduate school auditions and for (as of yesterday) a callback I received from a local theatre company for their Spring production. He talks about how it is the actor’s job to create a heightened reality for the audience because that’s what performance is all about; it isn’t (at least not usually) about the humdrum, everyday things in life, it’s about important moments and events that are filled with drama and conflict. Within this discussion, he makes a brilliant point that really resonated with me:

“People live for their dreams, not for the oppressiveness of truths.”

The moment I read that I had one of those moments where a light had been shone upon something that I knew was there, but didn’t realize was there. I sometimes have those moments of clarity, as I’m sure all of you do, where someone says something and, for you, something clicks, it all lines up and you go, “That’s weird, I feel like I already knew that”. And that’s because, in some way, you already did, but it took the insight of that other party to connect the dots for you.

The concept of living for your dreams speaks to me very deeply because I have come to the conclusion that, well, life is too damn short to be doing something that makes you unhappy. Now, this demands a certain amount of long-term perspective because, if I were to take stock of my immediate life and assess it in those terms, I’d be pretty ticked off at myself. That all said, I feel what I’m currently doing in my life (impersonating Buddy Holly, dealing blackjack, taking acting and dancing classes) are all part of my journey and are molding me into the person I’m supposed to be, so I’d say I’m doing an alright job of getting there.

So why in the hell is this post titled “scared”?

Well, since you were so kind to ask (although I’d ask you to mind your language in the future), it’s because of another quote related to one’s dreams that a friend of mine who knows exactly what that’s all about recently posted on her Facebook from Lowell Lundstrum:

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

This quote hit me because of an experience I had on my way home from a dance lesson earlier this week. I don’t remember what I was doing exactly besides sitting on the train, but, all of a sudden, I was struck by this unexplainable sense of fear, thinking to myself, “What if I can’t do this? What if I’ve been fooling myself this entire time? What am I, an idiot? Who thought this was a good idea? This is all your fault; why didn’t you just tell that insensible creative side of yourself to clam up so you could do something more reasonable with your life, you dope?”

Well, I don’t know if I thought all of those things, but allow my artistic license to entertain you at least a little bit. My point is, I had this brief moment of terror and then I read that quote and immediately thought, “Well, I guess they are big enough.” I guess I’ve realized that, for all of the dissent I’ve faced or am going to face for my current choice of career path, the only one who’s truly going to figure out if this is going to work for me is me. I know I’m going to fall flat on my face multiple times, and (God forbid) the time comes when I don’t want to pick myself up, I’ll know then that I gave it a valiant try and won’t spend the rest of my life resenting and regretting the fact I didn’t give it a real shot.

My point: if you have a dream, go and live for it and let it scare the crap out of you. If you don’t, I at least hope you find a sense of contentment and accomplishment in your life that makes you happy because, to be perfectly honest, that’s all that really matters. We don’t get to spend, in history’s perspective, a whole lot of time on this Earth, so as long as the positives outweigh the negatives by the time you leave it, I think you have to have done something right.

Happy Holidays!

-MJH