Greetings and Salutations my beautiful, naked friends!
I know I have't written a post in a while, so I figured I would tackle a subject that has been on my mind a great deal this past summer. Festival Season is a coming to a close as summer wraps up and the last of the sunscreen is applied (keep that skin young ladies and gents!). Dreams were made this summer as awards were handed out and titles honored. I was fortunate enough to have been accepted into three major festivals so far this year, which was both thrilling and terrifying. However, I submitted a great deal more than 3 applications this year. A lesson learned this summer: rejection is inevitable.
I think the beauty of pageants and festivals is our absolute willingness to put our hearts on the line. We are asking to be judged and scrutinized from the word go. From the time we submit our applications until the moment the last crown is placed on the queen's head we are asking our peers to evaluate our every move. And that can be a bit intimidating. However year after year you see thousands of performers truly give it their all. You see thousands of performers become as vulnerable as possible. Because truly, what is more vulnerable than baring your soul and body? This is our art, and we take it damn seriously!
For this, I commend all of you hard working, dedicated performers out there. I commend you for becoming vulnerable enough to even submit an application. That in and of itself is a true victory! Bravo!
Despite the empowerment I should feel for even trying, it is so easy to become discouraged upon the arrival of that rejection email. Rejection is never, ever, ever easy... and it is ok to acknowledge that! Feel what you need to feel. No one ever has the right to tell you otherwise. If you are sad, hurt, angry, or confused it is ok! The very good likelihood is we are all feeling the same thing. Feel your feelings, then let them pass. Once you have a clear mind you will be able to think through the situation and evaluate the outcome.
As soon as the negativity has passed I think it is important to start to truly think about why you were rejected. Now, I'm not talking about that self abusive, slandering talk that comes with negativity.... I am talking about real, true self critique. I think too often we as performers get in the mindset of cheering each other on when sometimes we truly need a little tough love. There is no shame in saying "You know, my stage presence could use a little work" or "My costume could use a tuck or two" or even "I think a ballet lesson might help my grace on stage!". It is ok to admit our faults, but what truly matters is how you move one and take it to the next next level. Always strive as performers to elevate your performance, set your standard high!
Now I am not saying I am by any means an expert. I consider myself a very young, baby performer both in years and experience. But I have been a performer since the womb, and thus more than familiar with rejection.
One thing I know is this: there is always another side. Rejection often has nothing to do with your worth or value. As Sparkly Devil says in her brilliant essay about rejection, you must repeat to yourself "THIS EXPERIENCE DOES NOT DEFINE MY WORTH."
... and repeat it again: This experience does not define my worth.
(Thank you Sparkly Devil for those inspiring words!)
Every single one of you have tremendous worth. As the wise Legs Malone has said to me in the past, you must repeat to yourself "I am worthy of love, I am worthy of praise, I am worthy of success." This is not a sense of entitlement, nor a demand. Rather, it is acknowledging your own potential. Find that potential within you and nourish it!
Like any plant, one must continuously feed, water, and nurture it! Without these necessary elements the plant would never grow. Such is the case for us as performers! We must continuously acknowledge where there is an opportunity for growth, where we can praise our success, and how to continuously nurture the spirit.
Without this growth we can never hope to elevate ourselves as performers. But if we continuously strive for more, for better, for a deeper understanding of ourselves we can move past the hurt of rejection, because we know our value and worth, regardless of the outside circumstances.