Updated: Jul 13, 2021
When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming an actress. Like, all the time.
My dad had taken my birth chart to an astrologer when I was a baby and recorded what she said about me — “She’s a born actress.” She said it again and again, and I played it on repeat until it seemed fated. Unavoidable.
I would be famous. She said I’d be one of those philanthropic kind of actresses. I liked that idea.
So, when I was passed over for speaking parts in school plays, I didn’t let it get me down. (Not for too long anyway.) I suppose I figured it would all be part of my origin story.
In high school, I didn’t pursue theater because it would have meant long hours miles away after school, and I guess at that point I worried I wouldn’t do well in my classes if I pursued my interest. Though in hindsight, I think I was protecting myself from finding out that acting might not actually be my calling.
When I was in my mid-20s, I was working full time and would often use my breaks to check Facebook. One day I decided to give it up to see what I might fill my time with otherwise. As it turned out, I filled it with searching for acting classes.
I started with one and then an improvisation class and eventually wound up taking a total of five or so. I signed up for websites to find auditions and ended up doing background work and even taking part in a pilot for a reality TV show.
(One time, I even attempted to cut my own hair into a bob because I’d been contacted for a casting call for background actors for Saving Mr. Banks based solely on an outdated picture of myself — as seen above. Luckily, my sister-in-law cleaned it up for me the next day before I went in for my fitting. In the end, it was worth it because I had a ton of fun on the set...even though you’d never know it since my face never quite made it on screen for more than half a second. 😂)
Around that time, I was in LA quite a bit and vividly remember trying out for one role in particular. I think it was for a small part in a film student’s project, so it wasn’t necessarily a super high-stakes situation. And yet I walked away feeling ashamed and embarrassed of my performance. I felt like a fraud.
I recall driving home, tears streaming down my face, saying out loud to no one in particular, “I just want to create something beautiful.”
I wanted to feel purposeful and use my gifts and offer something to the world. It was downright painful not knowing how to do it. I felt desperate to give *something*, but I didn’t know what it was or to whom I would give it.
I’m pretty sure that was the day I decided I might not be a “born actress“ after all. Perhaps I could’ve become a pretty decent one though, had I kept going and felt passionate enough to continue being rejected and growing and improving at the craft. (And who knows? Maybe I’ll star in a community theater production when I’m 60 or something!) But obviously there was a piece of the puzzle missing at the time.
Acting is a beautiful art that brings comfort, healing, and joy, and I am in awe of everyone who pursues it and gives it their all in the process. It was so close to being a right fit for me — working with and studying people, weaving narratives, tapping into creativity — but, at the time anyway, it was not.
However, I don’t have an ounce of regret about the time, money, or energy I spent pursuing that dream because it gave me two things that are priceless: freedom and peace.
Pursuing that path and realizing it wasn’t for me after decades of idealizing it freed me to pursue something else better suited to me — my strengths, my skills, my interests, my values, etc.
It also gave me peace of mind because I am no longer haunted by that nagging thought in the back of my mind — “You’re supposed to be an actress. You would be much happier if you fulfilled your potential through acting.”
As a result of gaining that peace and freedom, I’ve also been able to find work that feels beautiful and fulfilling in the way I’d always hoped I would feel about acting.
As it turns out, I am much more of a natural at seeing the best in other people than I ever was at pretending to be them. And, because I know that, I am able to fully experience joy in the work that I do because I’m not comparing it to an unrealistic ideal. Therefore, I can clearly see how ideal it truly is for me!
That is my wish for everyone — to gain clarity, confidence, and a deeper understanding of themselves and then be able to align their life choices with it as much as possible. It’s a long process, and I’m still always in a perpetual state of arrival with it, as opposed to a definitive one. But I think it’s a worthy pursuit.
And so, that is my wish for you. I hope you find that the way you spend your days is more compatible with who you are, what you love, and what matters most to you than it is not. And if that’s not the case, then I hope you can create small moments of alignment that eventually evolve into minutes and then hours and days and months and years of it, until it’s second nature to you.
Because you deserve it.
We all do. ❤️
Is there something you feel drawn to pursue, even if it’s just to be able to cross it off your list as having tried? What is it? Why haven’t you done it yet?
Or maybe you already have! If so, what was it? And how did it go?
If you want to start tapping into the core of who you are by peeling back the layers of who you’ve been feeling like you’re “supposed” to be, then sign up for my newsletter so you’ll be sure to receive a workbook full of self-reflective journaling questions to help you do just that.
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