Let’s Talk About It: Missed Opportunity & Failure

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It is past midnight and I am on the phone with my home girl crying-laughing whilst reading over some shady theatrical reviews.  Oh man, I love the theatre! (clutches pearls) I made it in the Chicago Tribune Yesterday morning! I will be doing the NBC Universal/Second City Break Out Comedy Festival this June. Grab tix ASAP!

Now, I have been gone for a minute, but I am back with the Jump Off. These last couple of weeks have been insanely, ridiculously awesome. I started DAY ONE of The Second City’s Bob Curry Fellowship. I start rehearsals for Major Barbara next week annnndddd I have started writing a chapter in my book y’all!

To God Be the Gloraayyyy!!! I have been coaching some very talented students and have not had a free minute to breathe. For the past couple of days I have been contemplating what to write about and this subject has been on my heart. Let’s talk about: MISSED OPPORTUNITIES & FAILURE! 

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So…I used to have an “ex,” or rather, some guy, in Philly who was just always around…Anyway, this gentleman would ALWAYS say “Well, in the Grand Scheme of things it won’t matter.” I would lose my mind every single time he would say this. Something catastrophic, like a Piano Falling from the Sky during Happy Hour COULD HAPPEN, and he would STILL say this quote like a broken Luther Vandross Record.  As annoyed as I am to admit it…he is right.

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I used to live my life with a lot of regret & unhealthy expectations. Surprise! So many people I meet think my life is so together! BAHA! If you only knew the shade!

I spent most of my days thinking What If & Why? What If I was skinner, would I get that role? What If I changed myself would he love me better? What if I over compensate and try to be there for everyone, will people do the same for me? Why is my agent not sending me out for that?!? Why am I not auditioning for TV? Does no one believe I have talent? Why can’t I be a better wife? Why can’t I be a better daughter? Why am I so damn tired all the time? Why can’t I keep the weight off and have the motivation to travel to the gym during a blizzard?

This mental rabbit hole is DANGEROUS. Step away from the key hole ALICE! 

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When huge moments in my life happened and I didn’t succeed…I would turn immediately into a Greek tragedy. I would be so grief stricken if I did not win. I come from a family of winners, and I would be completely embarrassed and would blame myself in such an unhealthy way.

Everything in our life happens for a reason. I have no idea where you are in your life, but know there are absolutely no mistakes. I was reminded, by a friend, about a time I made it as a directing finalist at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) and did not win. I thought I was such a failure. I went back to the hotel room and cried like Clytemnestra whilst my two friends held me together.

I remembered a time when I wanted to work in Casting for a huge casting director in NYC. They loved me so much at the office they wanted to enrol me at a local school in New York so I would stay. The head of Temple University would not allow it and told me to come back to Philadelphia in the fall. I was so mad! I thought my career would be over, but little did I know it was just beginning. That fall, I did a show called In Conflict, which toured the world and eventually ended up Off-Broadway.

I remembered a time, during my “Elaine Stritch Years,” when I was drinking to save my life and ended up in multiple rebound relationships. I tirelessly tried to make them work! I remember the heart break from each one of those relationships and how I laid in bed, suffocating with endless amounts of quilts, whilst listening to Tina Turner’s “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” I EVEN remembered a time when one of these men asked me to wait for him to graduate school….chile.

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I spent years beating myself up and wondering if I had missed out on opportunities. But, when I realized that living in the present is the only opportunity that I needed, my life changed. I cannot beat myself up about: why my career isn’t the way everyone else’s is. What is for me is for me. I cannot beat myself up about why I wasn’t cast in a show, or will I ever have enough money to one day support my mom and grandmother. I cannot worry about WHY I have only had one theatre audition so far. I cannot worry about the past and what decisions I still have to make. I cannot worry about the future of Body/Courage. All I need to do is thank God for family and good friends who continue to cheer me on.

I am in such a pleasant place right now, not because things are going well for me, but because I now realize that every harsh step I made brought me to this point.  It took 9 trillion years and several Dark Ages to finally realize that it doesn’t matter what I did in the past, what matters is right now. We are like Jenga blocks stacked high to the ceiling, and at any point one block could send us tumbling down. Tumble and get back up again. This is life! I know my Jenga hot mess life is going to come tumbling down at some point again, but so what.

Common says it so wisely: “The present is a gift and I just want to BE.” The next time you find yourself upset about something that may not have worked out, remember the time you are getting yourself riled up is time you will never get back. Start living. Stop regretting. Stop worrying about what others think of you. Begin to realize the plan you are on currently WILL make you stronger and more prepared for a promising future.

I love y’all and if any of you would like to talk further find me on twitter and instagram: @bodycourage. 

Best,

D

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