A Lesson from House, Day 74 (13 of 25)
In the first episode of the current season of House M.D., Dr. Gregory House bitterly replies to his therapist, “Successes only last until someone screws them up. Failures are forever.” When a smart performer looks back at even her incredibly fortunate and blessed life, doubtless she will discover more auditions than jobs, countless days of falling off the wagon of disciplined practice, an actual fall or two onstage, a forgotten line, and perhaps even a nightmare about arriving to an audition or recital unprepared. I actually once attended a party with a group of actors who went around the room taking turns to tell stories of their performance anxiety dreams. Few events have amused me more.
We all make mistakes. Later in that same episode, entitled “Broken,” House also says, “We’re all pathetic. It’s what makes everything interesting.” Indeed. When we honestly commit to our character, our music, and our lives, we take an incredible risk of opening ourselves up to the possibility of failure. Perhaps I might miss a note when daring in a newer piece of music to follow the conductor intently. In listening to your scene partner, you could possibly take the action to an unexpected place and accidentally derail the performance. We all might enter into the wrong relationships or friendships now and then and get hurt or unintentionally cause someone else pain.
Occasionally, I have wondered if fear of failure or even success has kept me from pursuing my career with the fervor that ought to follow a lifelong dream of acting and singing. I have often found myself lingering upon my prior failures in times of less discipline or more numerous rejection letters, rather than allowing myself to rejoice in my accomplishments. So tonight, I attempt the unthinkable and rejoice in my accomplishments from this week.
Replying diligently to my emails, I have scheduled auditions and opportunities to network and have completed requests for music and bios prior to their deadlines. Still attempting to lose a little weight but not quite on schedule for my original June 7th goal, I went back to the gym in full force this week, exercising for at least an hour every day beginning Tuesday. I also practiced voice, working on my repertoire and my technique for two to four hours each day since Tuesday. In utter honesty, creating and keeping a permanent rehearsal schedule for myself has escaped my grasp thus far in my lifetime. Nevertheless, between this blog and a much more determined outlook as of late, I optimistically see my week as a harbinger of healthy habits to come.
Does this mean less adventure, less social activity, and less sleep? Well, this week did add a little stress to my step, as I fought to maintain adequate levels of sleep and necessary amounts of both diversion and productivity. Admittedly, when other rehearsals begin again and new schedule requirements fill my life, I will have to adjust. Usually at that moment, the excuses enter into the equation, I miss the mark, and the habits don’t quite have the opportunity to fully form or last. So what’s the difference this time? Sure, I still naturally have some fear about failing and perhaps some irrational misgivings about success. On this particular occasion, however, I have only one thing I intend to give up: excuses.