Monday, 15 September 2014

Fickle Focus

We all tend to do it. I have spells too, although I try to be upbeat. Sometimes we all focus on the negative and forget all the small, positive things that keep us going. And it shames me to say that I have been doing that for the past few months.

My career hasn’t been going as well as I would have wanted. I try to be pragmatic. I know it takes time, and the kind of career I want is a work in progress. I have a fantastic agent, and I’ve been going to a lot of auditions this year. I just haven’t been getting the parts. My "go-to" student production that I’ve been part of for the last three years has changed and become something new entirely, and I'm not part of it anymore. And although I’m technically still a student my Masters is coming to a close, and I know it’s time for me to move on. I can't be part of it anymore. I need to move on from doing university-driven work. I know this, but it doesn’t make it easier. And while I carry on trying to make a career out of what I do (I’ll focus on making a living later) a lot of the people around me are carrying on with their lives. It’s rarely said in as many words, but I’m often asked how much work I do, if I’m able to look after myself, etc.

And I’ve been focusing on that. I’ve disregarded the fact that I wrote the script and lyrics for a musical, and co-wrote the music. I’ve disregarded the fact that for the last two years I’ve been writing a dissertation, creating new research. Without any provocation, and in my own head, I’ve been worried about my agent not wanting to keep me on his books as I am nearing a year with them. 

I auditioned for an Afrikaans South African Soap Opera two weeks ago. I received feedback from my agent, which rarely happens, that I did not get a call back for the show, but I could be proud of my audition. He signed off the email with:

“Onthou: Aanhouer wen!!” which roughly translates to:

“Remember: Those who persevere win” with a double exclamation. Those three words meant the world to me.

And then I went to a wedding this weekend. I met with people I haven’t seen in more than ten years. People who were surprised about my chosen line of work since last seeing me as a 13 year old, but were sincere when saying that it was a brave move and that I should keep at it.

And then it hit me. Literally.

As all the ‘Single Ladies’ entered the grassy dance floor of the outdoor wedding I was standing in the back row. I looked up and said to my friend next to me:

"We're standing under the umbrealla. There is no way that the bouquet is going to reach us."

As I checked the placement of the large garden umbrella to validate my statement the bouquet decided to prove me wrong by hitting me on the collar bone, drawing blood in the process. A bunch of proteas and fynbos exceeded my expectations. I was thankful that a bridesmaid bouquet was thrown when given the actual bouquet which was much larger.

The Bridesmaid's bouquet which was thrown,
and the much larger Bride's bouquet. Which may
have left me concuss if it was thrown.
So I’m focusing on the positive again. I’m focusing on my amazing parents who are supporting me in my choices. Who, in my Mothers words are “in this” with me. I’m focusing on my amazing fiancé who always tells me never to do a job just for the money and who always asks if what I'm auditioning for is the kind of work that I want to do. I’m focusing on making my own career, and not letting auditions dictate how much work I do, and I’m not letting casting agents define my self-image. I know that God has a plan for me, and things will happen for me in His time. I also know that I can't expect things to happen if I'm not creating opportunities for myself.

I will write, and create, and find ways to make theatre, and dance shows and one day movies. I will practice hard, I will carry on improving my acting, and I will do my voice exercises. And maybe next year I’ll follow my mother and fiancé’s advice and throw away my bathroom scale, which both have been threatening to do. But I will not allow negative thoughts to creep in and over-shadow all the good I have in my life.

My Fiancé posted this photo on facebook the day after my friend's wedding. The caption
he used melted my heart, and reminded me once again how very blessed I am.

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