"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive." - J.K. Rowling
Finally got my email from NYU yesterday...I'm going to call it my "release" letter.
An odd feeling came over me as soon as I read these words:
"I want to thank you for applying to the NYU Graduate Acting Program this year. We have nearly finished with our process of selecting the class of 2016, and we are releasing those who, like yourself, were in a pool of people who remained, after auditioning nearly 800 actors."
I have been released.
I AM FREE!!!!
After four years of unwavering focus and effort to obtain a goal that meant so much to me, I am being set free.
I thought that at this point I'd be sad, but I wasn't. I mean, my ego was bruised, certainly. It would have felt great to my ego to be one of the "chosen." But will that ego boost sustain me through the next three years of grad school and approximately $180,000 in debt?....Nope.
And then the strangest thing happened...my shoulders relaxed and I felt energized, excited to be alive. Who knows what's going to be next for me? But I know one thing that will not be happening for me: grad school.
Hooray! (No JOKE.) Hooray!
I knew that I had really given this application process my ALL (FOUR YEARS of my all), trying and applying to make it into one of the top grad schools in the country (NYU, Yale, Juilliard, USD).
And now it is over. It is out of my system.
What I mean to say is...If you haven't already gotten ahead of my train-of-thought here... I will not be auditioning for grad school next year.
Whew! What a RELIEF!!!
And then the negative self-talk starts to speak up..."Oh, man! Am I a total loser or what? Everyone who reads my blog knows that this is the thing that I set out to do...and now I have to admit that it didn't happen...again! What will they think of me? What do I think of me? Am I giving up? Am I a quitter? Ugh! What did I do all this for? Does this mean I have wasted these past four years pursuing this path?"
"Robert McKee says great storytellers often don't hit their stride until later in life because they have to have spent a massive number of house mastering the craft; they also need to have lived enough outside the pursuit of their craft to have something worth saying -- either that or they must have devoted them selves to going deep inside to cultivate what McKee calls a "ruthless self-knowledge" that they can draw upon...It takes years to master a craft, from building a business to writing music. But craft alone doesn't get you there. Genius requires craft plus insight." - Jonathan Fields, Uncertainty
Note to self: these years have not been wasted.
What I have been gaining throughout this process is some f#^ing RUTHLESS self-knowledge. And, right now, I do feel like I have something to say about it. (Hence this blog.)
Life outside of "the craft," well, that's been kicking my ass in ways that (I think) only being a single girl in NYC can. So there's more ruthless self-knowledge there.
As for "the craft," I will continue to study and work and pursue mastery of the craft of acting my whole life, because I love it and because it's fun.
So, for now, I'm going back to zero, to the drawing board, to the beginning, to whatever-you-want-to-call it and starting from scratch again...But not with an attitude of defeat, but with an attitude of HOPE.
I can take all this ruthless self-knowledge and resiliency that I've learned from this four-year smack-down and use it to create some success somewhere else in my life and in my career.
Here are some starting-from-scratch questions for me (for all of us):
What do you want to create?
What if you succeed? What would that be like?
What does your new story line of success look like to you?
"See it, feel it, touch it, smell it, taste it. Make it as sensory and alive as possible. Picture yourself in that place. What are you working on? With whom? Where are you? What does your day look like? For some it's possible to get very specific. For others, especially in the earliest stages of an endear, it's more about bigger-picture qualities. If you feel compelled to create great art, you may not have a clear picture of the vehicle or medium quite yet, but you can imagine how it will feel to create and present art that moves people...If you're and entrepreneur, you may not know what you're going to crate or how you're going to solve the problems of the marketplace, but you can envision what it will feel and look like to have crated a solution that blows peoples' minds and changes their lives, to have created an organization steeped in mentoring and compassion and a culture of joy, innovation, and energy. You can imagine where your workplace will be and what it will look like once you've accomplished what you dream of doing. Paint the picture. Make it real. And make that your predominant story line." - Jonathan Fields, Uncertainty
Thanks for reading and for all of your support and encouragement through this entire (crazy) process.
Hope your next chapter is filled with every imaginable joy and...
All the best,
P.S. For those of you that are still trying to figure out for yourself...if you want to stick it out or if you are ready to move on, I'd like to recommend Seth Godin's book The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit (And When To Stick). It won't give you any answers, but it'll ask you some AMAZING questions...and the answers you will find inside yourself.