Better Throw My Hand in, Wish Me Happy Landin'
I’ve been offered another performance job!
Last week I received the call, and this job is perfect. I’d spend the fall touring to elementary schools with one other actor performing a short educational show. It combines a lot of things I want: travel, stability, performance (a paycheck). It’s for the fall semester which can be a more difficult time to book. The company often re-hires their employees for 8-week stints which makes it a great connection to have for future dry spells. It doesn’t conflict with the Rose of Tralee festival in August on the off-chance I need that month clear (more on that later—but it’s possible that my August will be booked—I’m leaving it open just in case). It doesn’t conflict with the schedule of another gig I potentially might book in January. It’s a great job with a great company that fits my needs perfectly.
And I’m turning it down.
No, I don’t have other options.
Yes, I could end up job-less and frantically scraping to survive.
No, it doesn’t make sense.
Yes, it was a great opportunity.
No, I don’t have a plan.
When I was 14, my family splurged for a 4-day Disney Cruise. I remember watching every show every night and my heart ached with jealousy and admiration of those performers onstage. I wept and prayed to God that one day I could wear their shoes. I stood alone overlooking the ocean one night. I promised myself that I’d work. Work as hard as I had to. Dreams are too important to give up on just because the road getting to them is rocky.
At age 18, my family took a two week trip abroad to Paris and London. My great love for the French language grew tenfold and I promised myself that one day I would speak French fluently. In London I saw a city teeming with city-culture and beautiful accents—what wasn’t there to love? I would visit London again.
At age 20 I stumbled upon a travel journal in a Barnes and Noble. I picked it up, saw myself in the author, and came down with travel fever like none other. I promised myself that when the time was right, I would see the world—I would do what needed to be done.
This past New Years—age 23—I stood on a NYC roof after midnight and looked out over the buildings, streets, and people. I thought about the stories of each person walking below: some of loss, some of adventure, some of redemption… how many of those people had given up on their “insane” aspirations? The lofty promises they’d made to themselves as children? I vowed to never do that.
How can I expect anyone to trust my word if I don’t first follow through on my word to myself?
I felt an overwhelming wave of gratitude rush over me (which may or may not have been assisted by a few glasses of champagne) and got choked up. In that moment, I knew exciting things were in store. I was on the brink.
Last week I was offered this job and planned to sign and send in my contract the following Monday. I didn’t. I procrastinated for reasons I couldn’t articulate—I just…didn’t send it. But I had every intention of doing so.
Tuesday night I went and saw Beauty and the Beast (which is beautiful by the way and I cried like a baby and you should all go see it if you enjoy imagination and happiness). At the end of the credits (yes, I sat through the credits—shut up) the standard Disney castle logo popped up on the screen and I had a revelation.
WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?!?!!
The time is now. The time I’ve been waiting for. My chance. I could take a job because it’s a job, or I could chase after my dreams like a caffeinated cheetah on fire. THAT’S why I procrastinated on signing the contract. It’s not what I want. I know exactly what I want. I’ve known for years. And I know the steps I need to take to start making it happen. I want what I’ve always wanted: to see the world, to perform, to speak another language, to work for Disney, to challenge myself.
It’s time for me to follow through on the promises I’ve made myself all my life.
My heart has marinated on these aspirations, these dreams, these visions like tea steeping in a hot mug. And like tea leaves change the water, dreams
change the heart. They’ve shaped my worldview, molded me into who I am today.
I’m going to level with you all—this is scary. I don’t have other options right now. I run the risk of being unemployed here shortly. I turned down my only job offer for the sake of a gamble; but I couldn’t bear the thought of delaying my dreams any longer. What if my dreams came a-knocking and I had to turn them away because I’d committed to something else? I want to cry at the mere thought.
So, I don’t know what’s next. I'm gonna work my butt off and hopefully this turns out well, but stay tuned. I could be writing a “yikes I made poor decisions!” blog post come September. If that’s the case, you cynics have my full permission to say “I told you so.”
We can either waste time living lives of comfort, predictability, and stability, or we can toe the ledge, hold our breath, choke back tears and start our journeys with a leap of faith.
About a month ago, I spent 4 days with a friend of mine as his stowaway on the Disney Magic Cruise Ship. Anyone who knows me knows that Rapunzel is my favorite, favorite, favorite princess. On the last night of the cruise, I'd been invited to an exclusive meet-and-greet with the characters. I walked up to her to thank her. I’m not sure what exactly for—her joy? For interacting with me? For bringing the magic to life? I couldn’t say outright. She linked pinkies with me and rested her forehead on mine and said something I will never forget.
She whispered “I need you to promise me that you will never, ever give up on your dreams.”
Alright, Rapunzel. You’re on.
“Look at me, here at last, I just have to…do it. Should I..? No. Here I go.”