S. Diiorio (Photo credit: S. Helena Photography)
Now that the first few weeks of school are behind us, I’m flooded with emotions as I reflect on how quickly we’ve adjusted to new (much earlier) wake up times, staggered bus schedules, and shifts in our focused working hours. It’s been exhausting and exciting all at the same time as my children have been exposed to new experiences - like having a locker, switching classes, reconnecting with friends, and being fully in person without masks. The most exciting opportunities for my daughter have been taking chorus and auditioning for the school play.
Being on stage under the bright lights has been a dream of hers since she started watching all the Disney, Nickelodeon, and Netflix series and musicals geared towards tweens. The "high drama” value of her favorite shows has helped her to practice reading and writing scripts, scene reactions, playing off another character, etc. She even performed in the talent show last year, which gave her a taste of stardom. The middle school play will be different, though. Amongst all the “newness” of the school year, she was faced with filling out an application, along with a crew interest form, as a back-up plan. If she isn’t cast as a main character, she revels in the idea of being the stage manager. I am proud that she chose to give herself options, always finding an avenue to lead in her own way. She didn’t get a “call back,” but the drama teacher insisted that those who did were simply brought back because the directors didn’t get to see enough of their original performance. So, we wait. Just like in the movies, the cast list will be posted on the drama room door today. Eek!
Being a voice actor, or any kind of performance artist, where your talent is subjected to the opinions of others, is not for the faint-of-heart. I’ve been given more audition opportunities in the past month than I’ve had in quite a while, but I haven’t landed the gigs. In the meantime, my daughter, a freshly minted sixth grader, is embarking on a similar journey in trying out for her school play. It’s not lost on me that I need to temper my reaction to rejection with a calm sense of confidence in knowing that what may be a “no” today could easily turn into a “yes” tomorrow. I’ve been auditioning to voice commercials and narrate videos for large corporate entities as being the voice of a recognizable brand is a top goal of mine. I appreciate the opportunity to be included in the mix, but not landing a call back or recording session still stings each time the phone doesn’t ring. No feedback is provided, either. This isn’t sitting well with me this month, but my main goal is to give my daughter a soft place to land in case she experiences similar rejection today. I cannot dwell on my own disappointment; I must put on a brave face for her.
We do this as parents, leaders, and coaches. Drawing from our personal stories to make hard things easier to stomach for the children, employees, and athletes in our care. I have many experiences to pull from, so hopefully I can share in her joy with a happy dance or squeeze her tight and bake cookies if the news isn’t what she had hoped for. I simply need her to know that she is loved and should never stop trying new things. Her time to shine will come, and hopefully the sparks I've been experiencing in my career will burn brighter, as well.