One of my best friend’s daughter’s is an actress. She is a senior in high school now, and I recently took my kids to see her in her last high school play. She is extremely talented and it was wonderful to get to see her perform. My youngest daughter came out of the audience proclaiming that she had changed her mind about being a fashion designer, and she wanted to be an actor. It was all very nostalgic for me, because acting was my very first love.
Okay, please remember that I am not putting any blame for anything here, I am merely attempting to make adults aware of the power that we have to change the course of a child’s life…even if we may not think that we do. I wake up grateful every single day of my life. I am excited and thrilled by where I am, and by what I have accomplished in my life. I do not believe that I had enough confidence at a young age, to have prevented myself a lot of turmoil if I had perused my dream of being onstage. I did have a lot of other things however. I was damn talented. Even when I was very young, I could interpret scripts brilliantly, I could stage direct, I could sing and dance, and I even rescued a failed production with comedic improvisation (it was a very desperate situation). I like to believe that whether or not the adults involved in me giving up on all of it, had said what they did, that I still would have traveled a different path. It is important to explain what discouraged me, however.
First, was my middle school choral-director. She was also the choir director at the church where I participated in musicals. I was commonly her soprano soloist in performances. When I was about to go into high school, she sat me down and had a talk with me informing me that I should not pursue singing chorally to any further level. The problem was not my ability to sing, but rather my ability to read music. My dyslexia left me in a place where although I could stumble through the treble cleft side of sheet music, the base cleft totally scrambled my brains. I was fully competent to sing and still have an intensely strong musical memory. Once I hear a melody I can return it in perfection, but because I could not read the notes, no matter how hard I tried, my director felt that I would end up being a hindrance to any group that I performed with.
The other adult was my Aunt…well that was what I called her. She was my mother’s best friend, and she was big time in the industry. She now owns her own production company out in L.A. and she has produced many of those made for television movies that are on all of the time. At one point, she convinced my mother to dissuade me from perusing an acting career because she believed that I could never get a job…the reason for that being that I was a chubby kid, and nobody wants to watch a fat actress. She was really, honestly, doing what she thought was best, as was my mother by passing along the advice. My Aunt was a very hard woman, and she knew exactly how tough the business was because she was a part of it.
Okay, this story is hard for me. Like I said though, it shouldn’t be, because I am exactly where I want to be in life…where I need to be. A word of wisdom though, (or so I hope): Don’t try to lead children away from their dreams. I understand that I most likely would have gone through a world of pain and disappointment in pursuit of that dream. In all honesty the journey could have destroyed me completely, because it can be an incredibly hard road. In the end though, I wouldn’t have been left having to wonder what could have been. I might have become a stronger woman earlier in life after having lived through all of the challenges and the disappointments. It is important to let kids chase their dreams. Kids are resilient, they fall, but they almost always get back up again. We owe it to them to trust them enough to give them that chance.