If there is one thing that is most important in my life, it is the pursuit for honesty. Honesty in my singing. Honestly in my writing. Honesty in the way I interact with people on a daily basis.
Sometimes though, the person I'm least honest to is myself.
There is one thing I know for sure: I haven't been myself for a while. I caught a glimpse of her while I was in West Virginia, singing in another production of South Pacific; the unadulterated laughter, the nonjudgmental voice telling me that everything was going to be ok, not worrying about whether my silliness would look immature to the people that surrounded me. I danced all night, and didn't care whether my hair looked like a sloppy, sweaty mess as I walked back to the hotel.
There is an undercurrent of common fear I carry on a constant basis now. Did I over-dress for this audition? Everyone else in jeans. Did I choose the wrong song? Yes. I can tell by the look on the casting director's face. Did I say something stupid to the boy in that bar? Maybe I shouldn't have said that one thing. God, do you even remember how to flirt anymore? You need to clean your room. You need to find a job. You need to research. You need to keep auditioning. You need to get off your ass and exercise. You need. You need. You need.
That. Running through my head on a constant loop. It's exhausting.
Looking back, I've realized a pattern in my life. When I'm pushing this hard for the career I want, I usually burn out after two years. Take a wild guess what anniversary is coming up in 9 days. 2 years of living in New York. Wait. Not living. Surviving. Because that's what you do in New York. You survive.
But I want more than that. I want to enjoy my life in this city that wears you down. I want to be able to let loose. I haven't been able to - and that tension is showing up in my auditions now too. My singing is fine, but I haven't been able to connect to my body, my character. I am stiff. I am not able to let go of what is going on in the audition room. And I'm getting the same reaction over and over before I leave: "Beautiful. Thank you so much for coming." Which really means Thanks, but no thanks.
I should be nailing these auditions. A few have been for South Pacific - the one show I know every note of, every nuance of. I tell myself that even at my worst, I'm still better than 90% of everyone else's best. But that's not being honest any more. I am 100% burnt out. And yet I keep pushing myself to keep going.
I told myself I wouldn't give up when I moved here. But now I don't know what to do. I can't keep doing what I am doing right now. It's affecting everything. This month has been especially harsh what with the loss of my friend...but then out of nowhere, there are these small moments - where I've felt something close to happiness for a second or two. I am trying to grasp onto them with both hands, but they just keep slipping away.
But it's in these moments that I remember what it is to be myself; to laugh freely again, to speak with another human being without the pressure of expectation, to actually enjoy music for what simple beauty it brings me. And this is what I need.
I had every intention of telling everyone that I would be taking a hiatus from singing in this post. But I also know that is not true. I can't give up. I am a survivor. I will keep going. But I will definitely be taking a step away for a bit. The stress of the last few months have been a bit much for me to bear. But that's another post for another day. And you know what another day brings...another audition.