I Broke Down in Front of My Whole Class Last Night and Something Beautiful Happened

Yesterday I gained a moment of clarity about something I never realized was holding me back.

Self-sabotage.

Granted I’ve come a long way from being the insecure young girl I was in high school,  but that doesn’t mean I’ve perfected my confidence. Last night was a prime example of pushing yourself too far– expecting perfection instead of growth.

In my last two acting classes,  I performed a heavily emotional scene. When I read the sides,  my first interpretation was that my character was really angry and hurt. So I played it angry for two classes with two different scene partners and knew in my heart it wasn’t working. It didn’t come off authentic and nobody likes to watch an unbelievable scene.

So I tried it a third time. I refused to let the scene defeat me,  but it already had because I put a mental block up. I decided to play it as a calm, upset woman who was holding back anger last night in class. It still didn’t work and I could feel it. My acting coach could feel it.

So she simply asked how I felt about the scene and I expressed that I just didn’t believe it was working for me.  She suggested we try to work through it and I just wanted it to be over. I was defeated and humiliated I couldn’t make it work. All of the pressure I put on myself built up and my coach caught on. I started crying in front of the whole class as we were talking.

So what happened next? My acting coach wanted me to perform it again. The last thing I wanted to do was perform it again, but she pushed me to harness the emotions and put them into the scene and let go.

Holding back my tears and feelings of failure,  I performed the scene and something beautiful happened. Real,  authentic emotions fueled the atmosphere and made the whole encounter between characters seem real and engaging.

My emotions may have been coming from a different place,  but they were real and they made my character come alive.

So I learned a big lesson about acting and letting go of the control,  but more importantly,  a lesson for life. If we discourage ourselves by believing we just aren’t capable of doing something,  we’re already writing our tragedies. Failure is inevitable.

But if we can flip that mindset and push ourselves to let go,  give it our all and break some barriers,  we could create something far more beautiful. We are worthy of what we believe.

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