Star Woes: A New Hope?

“The greatest enemy of progress is not stagnation, but false progress.” ~ Sydney J. Harris

“He whose face gives no light, shall never become a star.” ~William Blake

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~ Anna Quindlen

Do you feel stuck and stagnant?  Uncertain about which direction you should move in? Do you feel plagued with a pressing need to make up your mind, make a decision, and take action — while simultaneously wanting to do so — yet despite this, feel increasingly reluctant to take action?  Are you worried about making a wrong decision?

I know I am.  That’s probably why I haven’t written a new entry for the past couple of months.

Sure, I started a few articles here and there, but you’d never know it as I never finished them or published them.  …Why?

I’m not 100% certain, although I can say this: I believe it largely has to do with my feeling uncertain about the direction I’m heading in and the path I’m taking, and, ultimately, the best direction to go from here.

Second

When I was 8 and in the second grade, I first started making up wacky stories, but I mostly liked to color and draw.

When I was 9 I wanted to be a pianist, composer, and orchestral conductor.

When I was 10 I still wanted to be those things, and a writer to boot.

When I was 11 I wanted to be all of the above AND an astronaut.

Later, I also wanted to be an astrophysicist and cosmologist.

And later still, I dreamed of acting and being on stage and in film, and directing stage and film, too.

Throughout the course of my high school career, leading to graduation, I had (and still have) interest and potential in so many subjects: math, sciences, music, writing.

When I graduated high school and had to decide what to take in University, I was still pretty damn clueless as to what I wanted to “be”.  It seemed to be the most important decision of my entire life — one that would affect and dictate the outcome of my impending and ultimate future.

Having a streak of perfectionism certainly didn’t make the decision-making processes any easier.  It meant it was imperative that I make the most right, true, and “perfect” decision possible.  That’s what it felt like, anyway.

I didn’t know how to decide.  And so… I didn’t.  In my first year of studies, I decided to take a variety of courses in a variety of subjects:  Calculus, Theatre, Philosophy, World Religions, and Astronomy.

Star

I loved all my classes, yet noted there was something about the expressive nature of theatre that really drew me in.  And when I say theatre, I’m not just referring to acting; I mean theatre in its entirety.  I was drawn to act and to direct, I loved designing sets and lighting and costumes, working with props, stage management, script analysis and playwriting — you name it.

I’m currently at a point in my life where I feel uncertain about continuing my theatre career.  The fact of the matter is that, aside from my own self-produced plays and productions, my experience in theatre is somewhat limited; to make matters worse, I have a tendency to absolutely bomb auditions…  And when I say bomb, we’re talking nuclear-meltdown-disaster here.  (Stars are nuclear furnaces, after all.)  Seriously.  Sometimes I make such an amateur ass out of myself in the audition process that one might conclude I had the skill level of some high-school drama wannabe. It really is that embarrassing…  at least some of the time, if not most of the time.

Pertaining to the above: my skill and ability to act or perform is not the issue (per se); but rather, my auditioning skills (and hence, the ability to convey my performance aptitude in an audition) are virtually non-existent.  It’s akin to being quite skilled and capable for a particular job, but when it comes to the job interview, the idiot-hormones kick in and you end up portraying yourself as a bumbling idiot and completely inept newb.

Aside from my issues with auditions, there are a number of other aspects that go along with a career in theatre that I feel uncertain about.  Without going into too much detail, some of these aspects include: having a sporadic (and unreliable) source of income (as per show/gig), being dependent on being hired/casted in a production, and, having a lack of an overall arching vision or long-term career goal. (…Aside from that long-term goal of building one’s resume.  But to what end?)

I *do* believe I can make a living from acting if I choose to be more focused and disciplined about the craft that is theatre and acting.  And yet, having so many other interests, dreams, and aspirations — am I to sacrifice these other aspirations in the name of persistence in a career that I *might* succeed in, given more time?  I don’t know.  It’s already been the greater part of a decade, and although I recognize I have made some progress, I feel as though most of it falls under the category of false progress.

At this point, I’m not committing to the idea of changing careers and giving up theatre.  I’d like to keep my options open.  And yet, in the meantime, and until I drastically improve my audition skills, I am left in a situation where I do not have an income in my current career unless I am actively producing and performing something of my own creation — and even *that* does not guarantee me an income.

To The Right

I was drawn to theatre for many reasons, but I believe I was mainly lured into acting because it served as a means for me to grow as a person and become more comfortable with myself.  I was once extremely shy, yet yearned to be known.  As acting is essentially a method of sharing oneself in a creative and meaningful way, it’s no wonder I grew towards such a path that would teach me so many lessons that I yearned to experience and learn.

I still have a strong desire to share myself with the world.  Theatre and acting has, without a doubt, helped me to open up and share my most inner self with an audience.  I also, however, possess the desire to share myself with an audience on a global scale, and this cannot be done so easily in the communal realm of theatre.  …It is, perhaps, something more achievable in the realm of movies and film.

On top of all of this, I also have strong interests in creating an environmental movement that will have global impact, in addition to having a natural skill, talent, and passion for creating vegan and raw cuisine.  I can potentially go in either direction.  It is simply a matter of making a decision and taking action.  However, due to my perfectionist tendencies, I can be *very* indecisive…

Straight On

But, in short:  I want to be a Star.  That is my wish, my hope, and my desire.

I do not long to be a Star for the simplicity of fame; although, who on this Earth does not know of the Stars in our sky?

I do not long to be a Star because wealth and fortune is oft associated with Stardom; although, I certainly would enjoy and appreciate a lifestyle of abundance.

I long to be a Great Star, such as is our Sun, because the Light of such a Star shines so brightly that it cannot help but touch and warm everyone and everything that looks upon this Star with its Light, Life, and Hope.

It is for this reason I long to be a Star.

Till Morning

I feel as though I’ve babbled on for long enough.  I realize this blog post may not provide much objective value to others, as it’s more of a personal “this-is-where-I’m-at” and “here’s-what-I’ve-been-thinking” type of entry.  And yet, perchance, you, random-reader, may find value in my personal journey as it relates to your own.  Or, perhaps not.  Either way…  Here it is.

Over the next day or two, I will be making some decisions and *drumroll* ….  implementing actions (Gasp!  Shock!), and, from time to time, I’ll be sharing my journey along the way.  It’s my hope that my efforts with my own creative journey will help you to better understand your present and intended coordinates in your life-journey, too.

Speaking of life-journeys, I thought I’d do a quick little shout-out that I also intend to share insights on what I have learned from the worlds of stage and performance and how such theatrical insights can be applied to the realm of personal growth, being, and development. It’s actually pretty damn cool.  So stay tuned!

In the meantime…

Good journey to us All.

11 thoughts on “Star Woes: A New Hope?

  1. Allysia K

    Rachelle,

    Thanks for this post! I too have the same dilemma of not knowing which course to take – there are so many awesome, fun things to do in life that it’s really tough to choose a course! Definitely looking forward to future posts and good luck! 🙂

  2. Jean-Philippe

    Thanks for sharing Rachelle!

    Have you heard about Scanners ? Barbara Sher talks a lot about us, people with multiple interests and not willing to give up one. It might be helpful to read about it. 😉

    On my blog (in French) it is the most popular post as of this writing (close to 200 comments).
    So, either Frenchmen are huge on scanning or we are a bunch on this planet. 😉

    Here is the link (if I may):
    http://www.revolutionpersonnelle.com/2010/04/etes-vous-un-scanneur/

    Keep us posted nd thank you again!

  3. Andreas

    “Think of Christmas!”
    “Think of snow”
    “Think of sleigh bells, off we go!”

    Wow. Yes, I can certainly relate to how you felt in High School and College. I felt as though my advisors were asking me, at 18, to decided my entire future! I kept asking myself what I wanted to “be”, and reading your article helped me realize that I was actually trying to decide on my identity back then.

    And freshmen shouldn’t be asked to do that, you know?

    So I ended up doing a lot of experimentation in the first two years, taking different classes and really discovering what I didn’t like to help me narrow down what I did.

    Somehow, things started coming together, especially right after college when I took my first longterm solo journey (the very journey I’m writing about on my site now. (let’s just say it’s taking a while to chronicle all of the photos and amazing stories of things that happened to me)

    It’s true. It takes a while to figure out what you’re passionate about, and clearly you’ve done that. Theater is your first love. You may be what’s termed a “renaissance soul” or a “scanner” (as I am), but remember we each find a unique way to combine our loves. Vegan cuisine and sustainability may also be loves of yours; but Theater is your first love, and that’s significant.

    It would be a real shame if you gave up on theater since you love it so much. Perhaps it’s not time to change goals, but to change methods of attack. Is there a different way you could express your theater gift? Do you have a desire to work behind the scenes? Or would you rather act? What about hiring a coach to help you with your audition anxiety? Surely they exist.

    When you become someone who can nail auditions, won’t you look back and know it was money well spent?

    How much do you want this, Rachelle? Because it sounds more like you aren’t sure if you want it anymore. If you wanted this enough, could anything really stand in your way?

    You’re a smart cookie, and very talented Rachelle. Sounds like now is the time to shake things up and do something different.

    The way I look at it, your success has already begun. You’ve toured with your own act around Canada, got some of the most interesting reviews I’ve ever read on a play (which is very good, by the way!). And you’ve delighted and made many people laugh, not to mention probably taught them something, too.

    Sounds like it’s time for the next step. It’s time to get crazy. 😉

    Anyway, I’m not going to stop bugging you about theater until you come and perform in Chicago or Madison because I’d love to meet you and see your show. If you want to call it quits after that, so be it. But I know you can take the next stop.

    It’s time to get crazy. 🙂
    Think of a Happy Thought.

  4. Rachelle Fordyce Post author

    Thanks for all the comments, Andreas. 🙂

    I’d like to perform in the U.S., but as an independent theatre artist, it’s difficult to do so with all the red-tape around applying and being approved for appropriate Visas. Touring is fun, but it’s only profitable (in the sustainable sense) if I can get enough people wanting to see the play!

    I don’t think I want to give up acting in its entirety, but I would like to change my main focus to playwriting and screenwriting.

  5. Julia

    Hi Rachelle,

    nice to see that you’re posting again 🙂

    Currently, I find myself at precisely this point (again) where I feel pulled to act and decide what direction I should take. I feel as if I could do anything if I would just decide what to do. That’s an amazing feeling and there’re a lot of options that are tempting, but none is tempting enough for me to say it’s the right one.

    Therefore, I continue searching and wait for something that “clicks” (so: not taking any action besides researching);)

    I’m not sure how long this is going to take so I’m really looking forward to your next posts and see how you cope with it.

    Cheers,
    Julia

  6. Alice Hive

    Hi Rachelle,

    I’ve been going through similar changes lately. After I had defined what I wanted to do for about two years ( = composing + performing music), last year I “randomly” stumbled upon one of my old passions that I had considered less realistic ( = acting!) years ago.
    And while I continued with both passions I realized there was a lot more that I wanted to do that I hadn’t done yet. There were so many music styles that I wanted to try out! There were so many projects that inspired me! I decided that I wouldn’t limit myself anymore to ONE or TWO BIG projects and instead just go for what I’m inspired to do. That way I can try out many more ways to express myself, learn from it, and get more clear on which directions could be the most interesting.

    I guess most people would assume that going with a lot of ideas makes you less productive, slows down your progress and steals all your time.
    The funny thing is, though: As soon as I decided to not limit myself anymore on one or two things, I suddenly had an abundance of time! Why? Because I was so productive when I followed my inspiration. In fact, the quantity of my output almost doubled (and the quality increased, too!).

    Yes, as an artist it’s normal for me, to work from a place of inspiration. Even before this new phase, I actually worked from inspiration. What I do now, though (and what I didn’t before) is this: I don’t limit myself (and the inspiration I use) to a specific form. I don’t control the general direction anymore. I just observe what comes up in the moment, accept it and work with it (and when it doesn’t fit in a specific project, idea or style of mine, it’s okay!). Generally, I don’t dismiss ideas anymore because they don’t fit within a certain frame. Everything’s possible!

    I guess people consider it normal for somebody my age (you guess it, I’m in my early twenties) to “not know what they want to do”. But I always knew what I wanted to do! I found out long ago what I’m passionate about. I always wanted to jump around on stage like a freak.
    And maybe that’s the reason why I have to re-define now everything what I want to do: I was so sure about what I wanted to do that my mind had taken over leadership in my creative endeavors. That worked for a while because my mind first was oriented towards my creative desires. But eventually my old desires and my new self grew apart.

    And that’s why I think it’s totally normal that we have to re-define what we want to do every once in a while. It’s not that we’re so disoriented, it’s rather that we’re at a different place than we were before.

    What worked best for me, as a said, is: Just going with inspiration for a while. Maybe only for 30 days. Experiment with all the ideas that have been looking for an outlet for so long. Maybe after that (when you have become more clear on which new direction inspires you most) you find some kind of project that fulfills all or most of your creative desires. Or maybe you need more than one project. Who knows?

    Enjoy the ride! 🙂

    Alice

  7. Julia Christova

    Hello! I had that problem, too – being a perfectionist and having loads of interest in the world. But one day I thought – why do I need to *choose* a career from my interests. I decided that the best way to know what I want to do is to express myself and the best way for me is just to remain positive and happy. After a month had passed – I am now graduating college (which was a frozen project cause I decided there’s no point in that), I found myself a job that deals with environment (a dream I had since little) and my intention is to save money from my salary to open my own business for natural cosmetics. Think of who you want to BE and not what do you want to DO. Doing follows the being. Believe it and you’ll see it. In my case I had no exact dream – I just wanted to be happy, to make something for the planet and make other people happy with who I am and what I do. After thinking about having a career since I was 3, I finally made a decision – happiness. Or in your case being a star. Everything else manifested for a few weeks by itself. You are a star following your route. Chin up and remain calm, also try to see perfection in every moment and stop striving for it. It only makes things worse. Good luck, I love you :]

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