I’ve never been a confident person.
My life motto has always been “fake it, ’til you make it.”
In high school I was quiet. Growing up people thought I was shy. Really I was just afraid to speak for fear of being put down. I hated being the center of attention. I hated having all eyes on me.
When I was in high school, I started volunteering for theatre. Working backstage, moving set pieces in the dark, and painting props was where I started to feel calm. There is still no feeling that compares to the sense of relaxation and comfort I feel when I am able to be working backstage on a production.
People asked me time and time again why I had never auditioned to be in a show. My response was consistent.
“I’m perfectly happy working backstage.”
In the summer of 2013, one of my favorite directors announced she would be directing a musical that I had loved since I was a child. After months of deliberation and people trying to convince me, I showed up at auditions with a pit in my stomach.
My audition was a mess. I sang with a friend, and forgot the words, didn’t hit a single note, and stopped singing halfway through. My dance audition was a disaster. It was like a wet noodle flopped around the stage. I was certain that I wouldn’t make it and was ready to spend another couple of months working backstage.
When the cast list went up and I saw that I had made it, I was unable to contain my excitement.
As the months went by and rehearsals turned into dress rehearsals which turned into opening night, I began to feel butterflies I had never felt before. As the overture started playing for the first performance I told a friend how scared I was.
She looked at me and said, “that’s because you care about this. And if you care about something, you could never do a bad job.”
With that knowledge I walked onto the stage and performed in my very first musical. As the bright lights hit my face, I felt a sense of peace and a sense of pride that I will never forget. When the show ended and we gave our bows, I looked out into the smiling and applauding audience and felt a rush of pure joy, unlike any happiness I’d ever felt before.
It was at that moment I knew I was at my best.