am i too old for this?
In my last term of undergrad, I sat down with my advisor and talked to him about doing an MA or MFA in acting. I went to undergrad in the US and one of my majors was in theatre. I had really wanted to go to drama school at 18 but my parents had been insistent on getting a more academic degree (this might be a different blog post but that definitely ended up being the right decision for me). So, as I was finishing up this degree and still very sure that I wanted to act, I asked for advice on applying. He said “I don’t think you should apply yet. Don’t go to grad school next year.”
I was stunned. I was not in any way the star of the department. Far from it, in fact. But I had built up good relationships with certain professors and I had been proud of some of the work that I had done as a culmination of my degree. When he said “I don’t think you should apply yet”, I heard “never apply. Don’t be an actor. Steph, you are the worst.” These are clearly two different statements. But I couldn’t see that at the time.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot because – and now I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this – but I recently started an MA (or MFA – stay tuned) degree. This sentence has floated to the front of my mind because I think I finally understand what it means. I could not have participated in this degree the way I am now when I was 23 years old. I was so afraid. I was carrying a lot of insecurities. I cared too much about what people thought. All of those things matter to me now: I’m still scared but I have more courage now; I am still pretty insecure, but what I am secure in is a sense of self and the further I get from 25 the stronger that sense of self becomes; I still care about what people think but I care more about what certain people think – those ones that I would go to for advise – and less about what everyone thinks.
This term I have been able to throw myself into the work. Because I’ve grown up a bit over the last decade, because I’ve been beaten a little by the life stick as it were, I am closer to understanding what’s important to me.
At the beginning of this term, I sat down and I promised myself two things:
1) I wanted to find joy. After the last 18 months, I wanted to feel joyful. I wanted to love performing, working, creating. I wanted to find the joy in the good and the hard.
2) I would throw myself into everything. It didn’t matter if I understood it, or if it scared me, or if I thought I looked stupid – I would do it. There have been too many times where I have come away from experiences and thought “if only”. This was not going to be one of those times.
***I actually wrote a blog post about this here before I started school.***
In one of my feedback tutorials, one of my advisors had said I was “fearless” in some aspects of my performing. I almost started crying on the spot. I don’t think I am fearless at all. However, I do think that I’ve worked hard, I’ve challenged myself, I’ve been brave. It has meant so much to me that the work I’ve done was recognised. Moreover, I could not have done this at 23 years old. I just couldn’t. My professor was right. He was right to tell me to wait. I am very thankful for that advice now even though it stung at the time. But I didn’t get it then. I get it now.