“…And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child.”
– Veronica A. Shoffstall

Rejection sucks.

I guess I could stop this blog right there. Because really, what more needs to be said than that? But yeah right. Come on now. Have you met me? Two little words to convey what I want to say? Ha! Hardly. So, here we go…

So – about five years ago, I auditioned for a play with a new theatre. I had seen a few shows here in the past, and I was mesmerized. They were so professional and the talent was unbelievable. I wanted with all of my heart to be a part of them. Now, I didn’t know anyone at this theatre. Not a soul. But I wanted this. I had to do a reading from the script and have a song prepared. And let me tell ya, I was ready. This was my chance to shine – to show this new theatre this undiscovered talent that was waiting for them to snatch up. I had arrived!

So, guess what? I didn’t get cast.

Not even a small role. Not even the person who sweeps up after the show was over. NOTHING.

(I digress here for a second, but for some reason, I just can’t get my daughter’s cheerleading chant out of my head…”Rejected, Rejected, YOU just got rejected! R-E-J-E-C-T-E-D, Rejected!” I’ve always HATED that stupid cheer. Anyway, back to my story…)

Yep. I was devastated. I questioned my acting ability (this was my first ever audition rejection); I questioned my singing ability (which isn’t all that great, mind you, but I can carry a tune if I absolutely have to); and most disturbing of all, I questioned whether or not I was going to continue acting. There was a lot of other things going on my life at that time as well (one of which was a husband that didn’t want me acting at all), so I took this as a sign that it was time to hang it up. I wasn’t an actress.

And I stuck to that for a while. About two years actually. That might not sound like a very long time, but to someone who had been involved with theatre at least two or three shows a year since I was 18 years old, that was huge. I felt like a piece of me was missing.

Eventually, I got over it. My husband and I divorced (that’s a long, complicated story for another blog), and I found myself needing an outlet. A way to find myself again. So, I went back to my old comfort. I got involved with another theatre and did a few small readers’ theatre roles (for you non-actors – readers’ theatre is basically just staged readings of plays – not full productions). Eventually, I did make my way back to full productions – but I just couldn’t quite make myself go back to that theatre that rejected me. I drove by it and saw signs up for upcoming shows and auditions, but I kept right on driving. I just couldn’t handle that kind of rejection again. It was too much.

Fast forward to the present.

March 22, 2013, will be opening night for the play Life With Father. I will be starring in my first lead female role with that very theatre.

I got over it. With the encouragement from a friend, I did end up going back to that theatre..and I’m beginning my second season with them. I have found a group of friends that have become like family to me, and I can’t even imagine life without them now. But I would have never been here if I had let myself be defeated by that rejection. I admit – I let it get me for a while. Too long actually. But looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. That temporary setback made me realize how important theatre was to me. It made me realize that it’s inside me – being an actress is part of who I am. I can’t change that – no matter how much pouting I might temporarily choose to allow myself.

So, yeah. Rejection. It sucks. But you know what? It’s temporary. A month ago today I received the most recent “rejection” in my little world. And let me tell ya – it was a doozy. It has sent me on a blog-writing frenzy (Thanks, Rejector), and has made me come face to face with who the heck I am. It has made me, at times, think I’m never going to be in a relationship again. And has made me think that maybe this whole “Love” thing just isn’t for me.

But nope. None of that is true.

Just like acting, I’ll be back. This too shall pass. I’ll live to love again and I’ll let this setback teach me the things I needed to learn.

And hey – Who knows?

Maybe I’ll even end up being the star of my next production.

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker.
Failure is delay, not defeat.
It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.”
– Denis Waitley

4 responses »

  1. There are two sides to every story. Sometimes we forget that on the other side there is someone that also has feelings, issues, etc. In this particular story, I am the rejector not the rejected. My first big directing gig….I was nervous, scared and afraid that all those theatre folks would figure out I was a lot of talk and not much else. I was thrilled so many people showed up to audition but I knew that in the pit of my stomach not all of these folks would have a role…..I had chosen a musical with no large chorus roles to give as consolation prizes. You either were in or out. I was so careful to watch and listen to everyone….I tried to remember names, I tried to be welcoming, I tried to be encouraging to everyone. To be fair there were folks that were regular theatre members that got rejected the same time you did and I hope all of them have forgiven me and moved on. I will admit there were a few new folks there that I don’t remember anything about but you might not believe this but I was impressed by you…. a young girl in a group of people she did not know, auditioning in a big way. If I could find my audition forms from that show, you would see on the back of your form, I wrote ” very good, we should keep her involved” But I cast the show…..chalk it up to being a first time director….I cast folks that I knew. I played it safe and yes probably rejected “undiscovered talent”.
    Later after I become involved with a mutual friend, he would talk about his talented friend Melissa, I actually was jealous of you. Looking at some of his pictures of his friend Melissa I realized that you were the one who auditioned and I didn’t cast. In the pit of MY stomach, I dreaded the day when I would meet you and you would figure out that I was the one who rejected you. That made me crazy. The rejector does not like meeting up with whom she has rejected. But our story has a happy ending. I hope that you and I have moved past this and after a very funny cast party, we have learned to laugh about it. I am glad that you are involved again with us, we are lucky to have you in our theatre group. I believe that true theatre people never really dwell in rejection – we use it to grow and make ourselves a better actor and person.

    Sometimes the rejector plays it safe because we don’t want to get hurt ourselves. Sometimes the rejector has a whole bunch of feelings, emotions that the rejected doesn’t even know about. I believe it is true in love as well. We are taught as actors to empathize with our characters. Well, in love we must learn to empathize, to open our selves to what is possible, be brave, be bold and embrace both the good and the bad. Communication is the key. I know that you are an “undiscovered talent” and someone is just waiting out there to discover you…the true you.

    • Rebecca, your response was better than the blog. As for the “undiscovered talent” phrase-I was just hoping that would convey how full of myself I was back then. You were a director. You did your job. I was nothing phenomenal – just one of a bunch of talented people who showed up for an audition. The play was amazing and I couldn’t imagine it cast any other way. Thank you for sharing your side. It has given me a lot to think about. I’m still full of myself sometimes and I need to remember that there’s always that “other side” that I may be forgetting about.

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