I am blessed that I get a forum where I can be personal and emotional and no one has to “watch.” I don’t like people to see me cry, or get angry, or lose my shit in general (my therapist is working on this with me, I promise.) But I do cry, I do get angry and I definitely lose my shit, and thankfully I can get it out here!
A couple weeks ago I posted how proud I was of my son, who went through a stressful audition for a performing arts middle school in New York City. By the way, my son has tremendous anxiety. I had to talk him off the ledge a couple times just leading up to the audition, but he did it! He went through with it, even with the nausea, the sweaty palms, the rapid heart rate and pale face, he did it! Totem in hand, he went in and sang a song (“Grow For Me” from Little Shop) and performed a monologue, in front of several adult strangers and a bunch of kids also vying for the coveted call back. It was heart-wrenching to watch him go off and then be left there sitting and waiting with other anxious parents, but that wasn’t the worst of it. Even still not the worst of it, was the waiting for the letter to arrive with the notice of whether there would be yet another chance to knock their socks off and hope that somehow out of hundreds of applicants he would be awarded one of 26 available spots. The odds were ridiculous. Ok, so the worst? Yep, you guessed it, my brave, beautiful, talented boy, didn’t get a call back. Now I had to be the one to tell him. My heart breaking for him, especially upon learning that several of his friends, who also auditioned, received call backs (we are really happy for them.) Shit! Those fuckers! How they can sit there and judge a ten year old’s potential is unnerving and frustrating for this Mama Bear. I get it, I do. I am an actor and I am rejected over and over and over and over again, but I’m old, I can handle it and not take it personally. Dammit! How was I going to protect him from this? One of the lessons I have learned as a parent, is that sometimes protecting our children comes in the form of not protecting them. I had to just tell it to him straight, without any fanfare or bullshit. “Honey, it was a “No” from the school. I’m really sorry, but I am so proud of you for taking the chance and going for it.” He looked at me with those sweet blue eyes and said “It’s ok Mom, I don’t even know if I would have gone there anyway.” There was something else in his eyes, but it took a few minutes before I figured out what it was. It was survival, and it became truly apparent when that anxiety plagued little boy looked at me and said “They don’t know a good thing when they see it!” I wanted to shout from the roof tops and say back “You’re damn right!” I did say that actually, I just didn’t shout it from the roof. I knew then that my baby bear would be ok and that he would be able to cheer on his friends who are continuing with this grueling process and that he would continue to dream and never give up.
Did I mention he has the lead in his theater company’s next production?! That’s my bear, that’s my boy!
Stay well and never give up! Take a Totem and a deep breath and just take a chance, no matter what happens, it’s a learning experience, and maybe not just for you.