“We’d like you to come back and audition for the role of Ulla,” I heard the lovely director saying in my ear. In a predominantly male play, Ulla is basically the only female lead. I couldn’t believe it. However, if I thought I was nervous before, now I was completely panicked. I had less than 48 hours to prepare a much bigger song in between working full time. I spent every spare second listening to the soundtrack, running to the bathroom to practice in the mirror whenever I could and belting my heart out on my commute. While before, I’d been able to tell myself that I didn’t care about getting a big part, the big part, once it was dangled in front of me, I knew I wanted it more than anything, and I was going to give it all I had.
Yet again, I found myself standing before the casting crew. A strange sense of confidence was taking me over and I pulled out all the stops I could. I danced, I shook, I shimmied and put on my best Swedish accent. I had no idea where all of this was coming from, but I felt like for the first time in such a long time, I was really living the life I was supposed to be living, and dare I say it… maybe even had a real shot.
Then, after a hearing a comment someone made before I left, I knew instantly I wasn’t getting the part. Even so, it didn’t hurt any less when I got the call confirming it the next day. The director offered me a part at least, which, I had to remind myself was my biggest dream just two days ago. I knew I should’ve been grateful, I was grateful. Still, after working so tirelessly, giving it all I possibly had and learning my best wasn’t good enough, I accepted the offer, said thank you and promptly burst into tears the moment we hung up.
Now, I can’t lie. That day, I was being quite the drama queen. I was exhibiting the kind of mourning generally reserved for situations like the airport losing your luggage with like, ALL of your favorite clothes in it. Because part of me was mourning something very special. Though it was short lived, I’d spent so much time getting close to the idea of Ulla. I had intensely imagined wearing her costumes, learning her numbers, her personality, her accent. But Ulla wasn’t mine to play, and saying goodbye to that dream was heartbreaking.
Dealing with rejection and heartbreak sucks. But here’s the thing. Sometimes, it’s vital. Sometimes we think we’re comfortable where we are, but really, we’re just trapped. Fear is convincing us to stay put, to avoid following our hearts because it’ll only lead to trouble. However, I started to realize… maybe I wanted a little trouble..? Maybe I wanted the messy, imperfect chaos of life. Maybe I wanted my heart to be liberated, to lead me through the good and the bad. Maybe I wanted, not a boring, safe life, but a full life. Sometimes, when our hearts are stuck shut off to the rest of the world, we need something to break them open, to let new light in.
And in that new light, I saw everything so clearly. I saw that this wasn’t the end of the road, but only the beginning. I saw the fire within me, awakened. I saw my heart breaking again and again if that’s what it would take to live my dreams. I saw more strength and courage within myself than I’d seen in a long time. I saw the person I was really born to be.
And I can’t wait to become her.