The best thing I ever did for myself was move to New York City 6 years ago for college. There are a ton of exciting new beginnings and experiences that change you. First time living on your own, first apartment, first time studying abroad, first time joining a sorority, first time picking a major, and the first love. However, when I left for college I was stuck with the question “What do I want to do with my life?” and after graduating from college I was still left with the question “What do you want to do with your life?”
Whether it’s normal or abnormal not knowing feels really bad. Like you’re worthless. I graduated in Hotel Management with a business degree because a Professor told me “If you like people and you want to get a job anywhere, do this.” There was some truth to that. They always need people to work.
I was always attracted to artists and kept surrounding myself with them. They were working in restaurants as their day jobs and came from all over the place to New York City. I admired the assertiveness and confidence they had with everything they said just how they are when talking about their art. I liked that if they weren’t thinking about their passion, they were talking about it, and if they weren’t talking about it they were doing it. Nothing else mattered. The happiness they were feeling was contagious.
I got a 9-5 job just so I could say “I’m doing something with my life.” It made me sad. I didn’t see a point. Throughout my entire day I looked forward to seeing my artists friends so we could talk about their lives. I soon left the office environment to work in Guest Services which was more fulfilling because I enjoy personal interactions with people. An inebriated guest asked me a question “If you weren’t afraid of anything and you didn’t have to worry about money, What would you do with your life?” I responded without much thought, “I’d be an actress.” He said, “Go do that, you look miserable.”
I wish I could say I quit my job, landed an amazing acting career, and lived happily ever after. Like I would in my fairy tale dream world. The story gets more interesting than that. I did quit my job and traveled a bit to re-establish my thoughts. I returned back to the city and signed up for an acting class. It was a $10 trial acting class at Maria Riboli’s Acting Studio. She’s a beautiful person and teaches The Method. Which is when you use your own personal experiences. I call it therapy. The class begins with relaxation, sense memory, and scene/monologue work. I told myself I’ll do it for a month, who are you to want to be “an actress.” It was the first time in a long time that I felt I did something right.
I didn’t have a bad life or anything, but I was going through something. I was going through renting a room in an environment with people I’ve never met before, I was going through my first actual heart break, and I just got a new front desk job that was going through a Re-branding Phase. What I was going through was feeding into negative thoughts saying “ You went to college for 4 and ½ years and you still don’t know what you want to do with your life?” “Loser.”
This was a start. An escape from the life that you really can’t stand.
I did know what my passion was. I just chose to ignore it. Too afraid to fail. Now my philosophy is if you have fun and it makes you feel good, follow it. It was the beginning to an understanding of why the artists I would hang out with were so happy. It’s nice to have a taste of it. Truth is we all have resistance inside of us. Just because life is scary and we don’t know what’s going to happen can make you afraid to make the wrong decision. My advice is just try. You’re not going to die, you’re not a bad person, and nobody’s going to make fun of you. If they do, you should’ve probably cut them out a long time ago. Everything just gets better from there if you want it to.
I’m an actress now. Sometimes I wish I started earlier. Now, I’m getting into the perspective that if I didn’t make the mistakes/decisions I did before I wouldn’t be who I am. I like who I am. I like learning, exploring, and picking up different facets of the trade. I like the people I’ve connected with. I like the struggle.Which it is a struggle for all of us. We’re all human and nobody’s perfect. I don’t want it to get easier, I just want to get better at it.
If you have that voice in your head saying you can’t do that, tell it to shut up and conquer your fear. If you don’t conquer it, it will eat at you and they don’t go away. Fear is ignorance anyway.