Day Twenty-One (Vulnerability)

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Being vulnerable is no easy task. It takes a lot of courage to go out on a limb, show your emotions, and take a risk with no way of knowing if it will pay off in the end. I will openly admit that I struggle hardcore with vulnerability. I do not like making myself “weak” and opening myself up to hurt. I feel naked without any self-defense or shields. Like I’m going to be under attack at any second. It’s the risk of humiliation and failure. The only way to be vulnerable is to put your pride on the back burner.

In life, I struggle with vulnerability constantly. I usually wait until the very last possible moment to tell people how I feel. That way, I will not have to deal with their response and the consequence of my words. I am a shy kid and I used my silence to create a barrier between me and others. I have even learned to manipulate my reputation so that others see me the way I want them to see me and I can hide behind a mask. They think I’m innocent and harmless. Sure, let them think that. Works in my favor.

I am a psychology major with a love of writing. I’m also a pretty good singer and a decent actress. My dancing skills are beyond pitiful and my education is in psychology with only a taste of everything else. So, taking a leap out of my comfort zone, I auditioned tonight for a musical. I have been preparing for this for a long while. But some things you can’t prepare for. There is no way to prepare for the dance audition. They teach you the dance there and no amount of videos or tutorials could teach me how to dance. Every single time I try it feels as though my body is made up of bones sloppily glue together. Getting through the dance portion of the audition was a struggle. All I can hope is that the choreographer’s appreciated that I failed cheerfully and kept going even when I stumbled. The singing audition I was a little better prepared for. Even so, I was never a chorus kid in High School. I am completely self-taught. I was also rusty on the sheet music to the song I was singing. Which meant that, once the pianist started playing the music, I found that the song was at a much quicker tempo than I was used to. Even the key was a little different, which caused me a bit of a problem at one point. But I did recover and ended strong. I ended on a “high note” quite literally (well, the note wasn’t high. But it was a long note and I belted it with all my might for a lot longer than I thought possible).

A few years ago, this failure would have destroyed me. My confidence would be shattered right now. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. I wanted to be in this show more than anything and after all those slip-ups I am almost certain that even the ensemble is no longer an option. I will be cut from the show. This is the reason I never auditioned for shows with this company. I always assumed that I just wasn’t good enough. Oddly enough, I’m not nearly as bothered as I thought I would be though. I gave it my best shot. When I made mistakes due to the music not being what I thought it was or the dance being way too difficult for me, I somehow managed to recover. I smiled through it and brought the audition back to where I wanted it to be. I was graceful in my defeat and never gave up. And really…what more could I have done?

In the past, this level of vulnerability would have been my doom. I would have been humiliated that I even tried, I would have been embarrassed at my rookie mistakes, and I would have felt like a complete and utter idiot. I would have felt like a failure. But the thing is…I no longer think that. I went out on a limb and tried. I was good-natured when I slipped up dancing. I pushed through my mistakes while singing and ended on a powerful note. I know I’m a good singer, I know I’m a good writer, I know I have friends who care about me, I know I’m a decent fencer, and I know I’m a great student. My dancing skills in no way whatsoever determine my worth. I may have had a clusterfuck of an audition, but I still gave it everything I had. A couple of years ago I would never even have thought to audition. Today I did and I had a blast doing so.

Being vulnerable is terrifying. It is opening yourself up to the possibility of failure. Of having your pride get hit in the face with a sledgehammer. But it’s still better than not trying at all. At the end of the day, it’s a sign of courage. It may show your soft underbelly, but shows your inner strength as well. I believe in vulnerability. We can all stand to make a fool of ourselves every once in awhile.

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