Last week I went to an audition my agents sent me. It was a dance audition, for a decently big company, so I expected there to be a lot of people there. Often, I opt out of auditions that I believe will be cow-calls, or a ton of people. But this one was asking for dancers like me, and it was a decent amount of money which I could really use right now, so I choose to go and see how it was. The night before I mentioned it to my friend and he said something like, “cool, and you can always leave if there’s too many people.” I casually said, “Yea!” But in my head I was thinking, no no no, I don’t leave auditions.
So here’s the deal. I’m a dancer. I moved to LA to dance professionally. I love dance; dance has been my life to some extent for more than a decade. However, I found a new self with yoga. I discovered a leader that I didn’t know I had in me. I uncovered a whole new level of self-love, that when I was really into dance, just wasn’t there. And, over time, the things I loved about dance like working my body hard, and getting choreography down, and getting picked for a dance team or a job, were just not as important to me anymore.
It’s been a hard 5 year battle of - am I actually a dancer? I’ve struggled with feeling like, I’m giving up if the answer is no, and that’s not ok. And if the answer is yes, damn…I should probably try to book some jobs. And yet, every time I focus on taking dance classes with important choreographers, and train in the way I know I’d need to, I hate my life and myself. I live in fear, a fear that I now understand to be fear of being not good enough. It’s so intense, that it’s not sustainable. In the past, I’ve felt like, that’s a fear I need to push through. I’ve felt like, I’m not good enough to even say I’m a teacher unless I’ve not only pushed through that, but also booked big jobs.
Phew, what a story to live into.
But here’s the truth. I am most myself when I’m teaching. And, as a teacher and a business owner and a leader, I get feelings of fear, and being not good enough ALL THE TIME. And yet, it doesn’t make me hate myself. It doesn’t make me hate my life.
So last week, I went to that audition. I got there, and I stood in line. A line that wrapped back and forth through a large studio, down the hallway, and out the door. It wasn’t insanely crowded like some auditions are, but it was definitely a couple hundred people (and the company was looking for 6 dancers total). So I thought about it. I looked around at everyone else’s faces, and I very clearly felt, this is their job. It’s not mine. So I left. I left feeling empowering, not defeated. Not like, how dare you, Jessie! Which is what I would have told myself in the past. No, instead I felt, for the first time, that that was not my battle to win. So not only should I not be there for myself, and my authentic truth, but I should not be there trying to take someone else’s win! They deserve it. They are working for it.
The next day I was texting people, inviting them to my yoga class, the one I’m hosting on my own. Hosting classes on my own is a little scary because what that means is I’m paying for studio space, and I’m not sure if anyone will show. It’s a risk, and it’s emotionally taxing. So, I was texting people, and I kept getting responses saying no. For whatever reason (busy, sick, work, etc). I took a big sigh. I thought, geez. This is a lot of rejection. And then something clicked. Auditions are a lot of rejection! I mean, every successful dancer (or actor or singer or artist of any sort for that matter) will tell you - make sure you have thick skin. Get used to hearing, “no.” We know this story. But I realized, that I’m not willing to go through the rejection for dance, because, deep down, I know it’s not for me. I’m literally not good enough, but not in a self-deprecating way, just in the true way of acknowledging that that is not where I spend my time, my energy, my love. It is not truly what’s important to me. But for teaching? For leading and building a community? For facilitating personal growth and transformation? For helping people love themselves more and more? HELL YEA!!!
Now does that mean I don’t enjoy dancing? No. Does that mean I won’t go to auditions that are right for me? No. But I feel a huge release in acknowledging my path, and where I should push myself. When I experience fear in my yoga retreat business, or my teacher training, there is no part of me that shy’s away. There’s only drive. Determination to figure it out, and move forward.
I understand that a big part of this journey is simply maturation, age, understanding myself better, like any human does. But I’m sharing this specifically with you guys, because, everyone makes decisions for inauthentic reasons. ALL THE TIME. EVERYONE. Old and young. Smart and dumb. Experienced and ignorant. WE ALL DO IT. And it’s important to continue to check in. To continue to say to yourself, ‘do I really want this? Or am I choosing it because I think I should? Or because I used to want it? Or because someone else told me it was the right thing to do?’
As Marty Byrde from OZARK said, “I’m just saying that any decision made, big or small, has an impact around the world.” :)
Check yourself. Are your decisions authentic? Are they actually serving you? And if not, be willing to look at why. Be willing to make the change in your life that has you step out of having to do things that aren’t right for you.
It took me 5 years with dance, so, have patience.
But, start. Start now.