health & happiness personal

Letting Go of Your Dream

January 4, 2013

Give my regards to Broadway.

Sigh . . . I wish I could say that I were off to a better start in Healthy Habits January. I think I’m drinking more water, but I’m so distracted that I’m not really sure because I don’t remember. I took my vitamins, er, twice? Again, I don’t remember. This is probably because I’m averaging closer to four hours of sleep than eight. And I certainly haven’t gone to the gym. Ha.

But in other news, I’m ready for a big change. And this is a big one. I’ve been building up to it for a few years, but . . .

I’m finally ready to give up my childhood dream of being a performer.

Or what I should say is that I’m ready to reinvent my self-identity as singer and actress to a [title of new career]. Obviously, when I left New York City to move back to Ohio to raise my children, I made a decision to put things on hold, but I always thought that I would go back to it someday (read: I still called myself a singer and actress).

There is a certain amount of shame and guilt I feel about letting go of the Broadway dream, which is why it’s take me so long to get here. All you hear in our success-driven society is if you work long and hard enough eventually your dream will come true. Or winners never quit. Or never give up. Or . . . you get the idea.

As a performer, the product you sell is yourself. You audition and try not to take the rejection personally. You have to. How else can you keep putting yourself out there over and over again? But acting is entirely personal. I think that’s why it’s so hard to give up. We as actors are so invested in ourselves that to give up or let go of the acting dream feels like, well, we’re giving up on ourselves. It’s akin to feeling like a complete and total failure. I feel like I wasn’t good enough, I didn’t work hard enough, I didn’t work smart enough, I started too late. I invested years and years and a lot of money (that I am still paying back – and will be paying back for quite sometime) in my education. The reason that I’ve continued to pursue performance is because it’s what my degrees are in and I’m good at it. But if I had really wanted it, I would have thrown elbows and nothing would have stopped me. I didn’t.

It’s hard to remember why I started down the music performance path so many years ago. I think it’s because I loved it. (I have a number of different posts coming on that subject.) But I don’t love it anymore. I used to spend all my free time playing the piano or listening to musicals or singing because it used to be fun. I don’t run to the piano any more, I like listening to French music, and I haven’t practiced in forever.

So, yes. It’s time to move. I don’t know quite where I’m going, but I hope you’ll come along with me as I do a lot of soul searching this year. Thanks for being here; I’m glad you are. It’s always nice to have friends with you on a long journey.

photo credit: Stuck in Customs via photopin cc

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  • Reply Louisa January 4, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    What a brave post! Congratulations on making this huge decision—I can’t wait to see what you do next. xo

  • Reply Jean January 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Just found your blog as a link from Advanced Age. I love it. You are very brave. I’m in much the same spot (including having moved from New York to Minneapolis and now w/ kids). Will be following along. Peace to you.

    • Reply Melissa January 18, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      Jean, thanks so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to write. It’s a difficult transition – to be sure. I’m happy we’ve connected. Peace and love to you as well!

  • Reply Rachel Cairns January 26, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    This post hurts my heart. I hope you find your niche.

    • Reply Melissa January 26, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      Thanks, lady. I appreciate it. Love.

  • Reply Caitlin July 27, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    Thanks for this post. I am currently coming to the realisation that the past two years I have manifested an ongoing headache because I have been ignoring the fact that its time to let go of my musical theatre dream, I have been so wound up with ‘life’ that I have not given myself time to stop and grieve the loss of my dream. I came across your post and reading it has helped me a lot. Thanks!

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