I Need to Follow My Own Advice

Sometimes my brother will come up to me defeated after a struggle to learn a new piano piece, or to score a basket, or to catch a baseball and he’ll say “I can’t do it. I never will be able to, so why bother?” When he asks me this, I reply, “Don’t count yourself out before you’ve even started.”

And I wish I told myself this weeks ago. When the director of a production of The Drowsy Chaperone came up to me on day one and asked if I could guess which role I was playing, I think I listed every role, except the one I received. It was the show’s leading lady, the glamorous Janet van Der Graaf, originated by Broadway royalty, Sutton Foster, one of my idols. When I auditioned for the show, I didn’t even bother considering the role. From the beginning, I said I could never ever in a million years pull it off. It was too big a challenge in too little time. The notes were too high for my belt and the dancing and stage manner too poised and “out there” for my shy, clumsy self.

So upon accepting the role, I accepted the emotional beating I would endure while learning the part and trying to perfect it. It was a beating I placed on myself, of course, because everyone else seemed confident I was doing just fine. I, however, had already placed myself on the failure list before I even sang my first note. Eventually, with only one week to go, I learned to release the pressure I was forcing on myself, and remember why I was even there in the first place. The whole show was raising money for Mass General and I was dedicating my performance to my Grammy and remembering her got me through.

 

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Me as Janet van Der Graaf in The Drowsy Chaperone. Photo taken by Nancy Webster

But I’ve done this before. In fact, the reason I haven’t posted on this page in months is because I accepted its failure. After my blog’s popularity seemed to die down after its first few posts, I was discouraged. That voice in my head that will tear me down rather than pick me up asked “What are you doing? This blog is going no where. Your dreams of growing this page past your few Facebook followers are flawed.” And how did I respond to this voice? I listened. I put writing new posts off until I was no longer posting anymore. And that was it. Back to wasting all my creative energy by checking Instagram and scrolling through Pinterest til my eyes are tired and it’s time for bed.

Except, one day I refreshed my Gmail to find an email from a name I didn’t recognize. This person had connected with me through the contact information page of my blog. The message read :

Hi there.

I really like what you do here and I’ve been awfully silent about it. I noticed you haven’t blogged in a while. Can you please start doing that again? I can assure you that you at least have one fan that has been waiting for another post. I hoped reaching out might help make that happen but it’s really up to you. Please consider doing more.

I admit, this person truly came to me at a time I needed the most. To distract myself from the anxiety I was feeling with my lead role, I had written out a list of potential blog posts and started writing a new article. I was considering blogging again. The next day, I received this message from a follower, a follower outside my Facebook followers. He was one of the many people I have the potential to reach out to if I just try. And this follower reached out to me personally to try to encourage me to keep going. It was just the push I needed.

That’s all it takes. Trying. Your goals aren’t achieved over night. It just takes determination and confidence. And not counting yourself out before you’ve even begun.

So long story short: I’m back and better than ever. Let’s spread some love.

Hayley

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