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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Adventures in Chicago: you are stronger than you think you are

This is the fourth and final week of the intensive and my time in Chicago! I would be lying if I said I was sad about it - I'm freakin' excited!!

I started the week with the attitude that I was on the downhill side of things and I could relax. BIG mistake. The week has turned out to be like climbing a very tall mountain - you're almost to the summit, so you think the last hundred yards will be a walk in the park, but suddenly the normal path with a gradual elevation gain you've been climbing turns into an almost-vertical boulder field that you must scramble up. Oh goody. You look up at it feeling discouraged and like the mountain won. That's been my week.

I thought I was past feeling beat up and inadequate after the first week, but this week brought on another round of serious self-doubt. Sure, Aunt Flo's presence probably had something to do with my lack of thick skin, but I know she was not the only culprit. Monday night we did a run-through of the show and it wasn't so hot - the big boss man was there, meaning the artistic director of Deeply Rooted... I will just say that this man's presence is awe-inspiring and intimidating and humbling and stress-inducing all at once. He's very tall, he's big and muscular, he's very talented, and he has no qualms of screaming at you if something is even slightly amiss. We were all completely on edge. Tuesday night the entire ensemble rehearsed the final piece in the show, called "Heaven", and the big boss man was in charge of this rehearsal. You could hear everyone's nerves buzzing in that studio. There were multiple reprimands and stopping and re-starting. I was so stressed that I would mess up that I did mess up, a lot. Getting kicked in the head was just the icing on the cake.

Yesterday morning I had a total emotional break down. I just cried and cried and cried... oh, it was one of those fall-to-your-knees-and-put-your-head-on-the-floor kind of cries, no holding back. I felt like I couldn't do this anymore, that I'm not strong enough, that maybe I should reconsider a career in the performing arts. I entertained thoughts of just packing up and heading home. I thought about just focusing on next Tuesday, when I get to go home, numbly going through the motions in these last rehearsals and in the show to make it through. I thought about using getting kicked in the head as an excuse as to why I wasn't working as hard anymore. I felt like shutting down, totally giving up and walking away. Whatever excuse there was, I pondered it.

But then I thought, if I give up, then what?? If I give up just because it's hard and because I'm not sure I have the energy to do it anymore and because I don't think I have the strength to push through to the other side, then am I not just settling for a life of mediocrity?

The answer is YES.

Why live like that????

I'm serious, y'all. Why live like that?? I encourage all of you to peel away the layers upon layers of excuses and doubts and fears and lies you tell yourself as to why you can't do something, accomplish something, pursue something, become something. The peeling process is going to hurt. It's going to hurt badly and it's going to be scary as hell. Trust me, I've been living it for the past three and half weeks, and I have a feeling that it's not over yet for me... But YOU ARE WORTH IT. I am worth it! I would say that a lot of what holds us back in life is nothing other than ourselves.


  1. Your rock. I seriously think it's so amazing what you are doing.

  2. Congratulations on your breakthrough. :)

  3. I'm smiling and in tears right now! I'm so happy for you Jessi!