To honor my growth from 2016, I wanted to share some of the nuggets that I gathered. So, starting today, I will share 3 Things 2016 Taught Me. You can check back every day to see this and 2 other life changing lessons 2016 made evident to me.

Lesson #1 – Expect the Unexpected & Show Out

It was January 1, 2016 and my daughter and I had been prepping for at least a week prior for her audition in the ultra classic and infamous The Wiz produced by Hattiloo Theatre. My daughter has been acting for almost 4 years now and our daily prepping was nothing out of the norm, as I believe practice makes perfect and leads to success. As we sat in the living room going over her potential monologue, song, and choreography she simply said, “Ma! You should try out for it too!”

I was definitely flattered that she would even think I would be capable. I responded with a smile and said, “Me? You really think I should?”

With big bright eyes and an even bigger smile, she replied, “Yeah!”

“We shall see,” I responded. “Now, let’s get back to your monologue.”

We continued her practice for the remainder of the night and nothing else was mentioned of her suggestion.

On January 2, 2016, we headed to her audition, signed in and patiently waited for her number to be called. I gazed around the room looking at the hundreds of dreamers waiting to have their number called as well. Before I knew it, I began wondering and dreaming about what it would be like for me to be in the room my daughter and all the others would enter, stand before a panel of directors and production managers, and perform with all my heart. Up to that moment, as an adult, auditioning for ANYTHING was completely out of my comfort zone, more importantly, I’d never done it before. Without a whole lot of thought, I walked over to the sign-in table, picked up the pen and wrote my name down. I was officially auditioning for The Wiz. A little anxiety came over me, but not a lot because I did not think I’d be in the running to be cast. My daughter was called in. She performed a song and came back out and sat with me. What felt like an hour later, my number was called and I entered the open space with 12 eyes on me. They looked at me, smiled, and asked that I sing. And I did. I sang, what I felt was the best I’d done in a long time. That or the acoustics in the room were to die for. I finished my song, felt my heart jump back in place and thanked each of them for their time. The director then said, “Can you come back this evening for the choreography piece?” I was stunned for two reasons. One, because they wanted me to come back. I must’ve done something right. Two, because I am nothing close to a dancer and can’t be believe they thought I was. Either way, I was ecstatic inside and really started to feel the pressure.

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Me and my mini me as Evillene

I returned for the choreography audition and just as I knew it, I can not dance (at least not to be apart of a musical production). I was proud of myself for trying, left for the evening and thought nothing more of the experience. Later that evening, scrolling through my email, I saw that both my daughter and I received a call back for casting. Whew. We both screamed with joy and were pleased with the outcome. After the happiness and screaming died down I felt my heart jump out again. Reality started to set in. I thought to myself, “I could actually be cast in this production.” I became a bit nervous, but the way my type A personality is set up, I had no choice but to attempt to rise to the occasion. And so to hurry to the end of this story, I did just that. After call backs, I secured the role of Evillene and spent the next 3 months, including 30 shows, transforming into what had become my most unique challenge to date.

See, if you had asked me in 2015 if I were going to be in a major production and cast as a principle character, I surely would have laughed before I swiftly answered, “Who me? Nah.” The point is, I UNEXPECTEDLY found myself in a new realm; a world unknown to me. It was a world in which I was unsure if I was capable of matching the expectations of the directors, choreographers and ultimately the thousands of audience members that came out for 30 shows. What did I learn from my time as Evillene? Besides the fact that I was much more talented than even I knew or the fact that I was capable of receiving kudos and applause from reviews with absolutely no stock in me, I was more impressed that I was able to actualize the art of expecting the unexpected. This was not my first unexpected situation in life, yet it was the first that during the entire journey I was aware of what was happening. I was aware of the fact that life will throw all types of scenarios at us. Some of those scenarios good. Others much less desirable than what we could even wish on our greatest enemies. Yet, in either of those instances, we are fully equipped to rise to the occasion; to somehow be prepared or quick thinking, quick reacting, and secure in the act of trying. I further understand the art of performing with all my heart. It is a matter of being prepared to give your all regardless of a situation being planned or unplanned; being prepared to SHOW OUT!

As you enter into 2017, know that it will come with unexpected situations, people, and things. The unexpected is the inevitable. The unexpected may try to knock you up or down, but keep the mindset that overcoming and rising to the occasion is the only option you have at hand. Remember SHOW OUT in 2017!

 

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