Monday, May 15, 2017

All Things Different, All Things the Same

I can't believe that it's been exactly one year since I've written on this blog. To the day.

I've spent the last year on a self-imposed hiatus from singing. I didn't tell anyone (other than my family and closest of friends) because of the cacophony of people who would try to stop me: Oh, but you're so talented! You've worked so hard and for so long. You've gotten so far, why would stop now? You shouldn't stop auditioning. If you stop, your career will die. But you want to know the truth? It's all bullshit.

Talent doesn't mean a thing if you don't have the drive; if you don't want to get up every morning to go audition and spend hours researching, sending out copies of your head shot and resume. Working hard is all well and good, unless it drives you to madness, putting your health in jeopardy. And just because you've gotten far doesn't mean that you'll go further, or that your career will wither away and die if you stop trying.

Everyone needs a break sometimes. Most people get that in form of a "vacation" from their 9-5 day jobs. As a singer, no one really teaches you how to take care of yourself in that way. When are you supposed to stop and assess? There is no time. You are constantly looking for the next audition, the next job, the next way to pay rent for next month.

And I had worn myself to the ground. I wasn't able to function after those last 8 months on the road. Think about that for a second. When most people travel, they're exhausted afterwards just from the simple act of it. And I traveled for 8 months straight. Even on the one week that I had off, I traveled to Texas so I could spend time with my best friend. But it was still travel. There are no words for the exhaustion that followed when I finally stopped. I couldn't bring myself to sing another note or look at another audition listing. So I made up my mind. I would take a break. I would try to be a normal person. I would try to find a full-time job and an apartment that I could call my own. I would try to date. I would (struggle to) pay my rent like every single other New Yorker.

So I tried. I found an amazing apartment in the neighborhood that I love to call home, where I peacefully live with two insanely talented painters. I found two temp jobs that both talked to me about coming on full-time, but neither of them actually happened. I dated. One started to look promising, but then small annoyances turned into big issues that I could no longer overlook. I deserved to be in a relationship with someone who actually wanted to be in one, and not just going through the motions because I was an option. I'm not an option. I'm amazing.

And then the inevitable happened. I got an email when I wasn't looking. Was I available and interested in singing in a production of In the Heights? My dream role. With one of my favorite directors.

A year and 2 days ago I sent the original email asking to be considered, but it looked like it wouldn't happen due to local casting decisions. So I filed it away in the back of my brain as another lost opportunity. I made the decision to stop after that. I started to try to settle down into normal life. One temp job let me go. The other sat on my application for months. So when the email came, I gave in.

And yet, I feel like a failure.

That's the fucked up part of all of this. I couldn't find a full-time job. I couldn't find a decent relationship. Those were my two goals this year. It is absolutely ridiculous to think about all this in these terms. Yet here I am, feeling utterly lost and lonely. When other people see me, they see someone who gets hired all the time, who gets paid to do what they love. They see someone who is sociable and outgoing, who dates easily and in no short supply. But it's not reality.

The only truth I know though is that I'm supposed to be singing. There is no place where I am happier. It's the only place I know that I can truly excel. And now I get to do it again. And my heart is full. Full but scared. And I've never been scared to take a contract before.

I left a decent job. They tried to give me an interview for the full-time position after I had put in my notice. I had already signed the contract. I had already made my mind up. But that doesn't mean it was an easy decision.

I'm leaving behind people that I love. I'm leaving the comfort and security of a steady paycheck. But to be honest, I suck at being an adult. I don't budget well. I spend too much. And that's even when I have a regular day job. So why not get paid to do what I love if the problems haven't changed? There will always be other temp jobs. There will not always be another production of Heights.

And so I'm spending this week packing my bags. And painting my walls before my sublettor takes over my room. I'm spending as much time with friends as I can. And in exactly one week, I'll be heading out of town again for another 2 months. But at least I'm back at it. Doing what I love. And in this, I will find peace. In this, I will find love. In this, I will find myself again.

And I can't wait.

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