If writing this post ends up helping at least 1 parent of a professional actor out there or helps any parent out there that is supporting their child in their absolute dream path, then I will absolutely know this was a success in putting this out there. The intent on this post is unlike any other that I have written in my entire life. This one is coming from the core of what makes us all human and from the bottom of my heart. The core of who we are as parents of creative kids, knowing that we are doing the best we can by listening to our kids’ hearts and doing all we can to show up for them. The core of what it means to have faith in every ounce of your being that you are doing right by your child.
This one is straight from my heart and by reading it, you may feel completely understood, as the parent of an actor. I know I wish I had read something just like this, last week. I know I wished there was someone in that moment that could so completely relate, that could hear me and had the time for me. I’m putting myself out there by sharing this truth, but it’s worth it to me to help those of you out there, you other parents of actors, that have moments like this one and want to know what to do.
One Night in LA:
Let me explain. About a week ago, pulled off on the side of the highway in LA, in a shopping center parking lot, not far from where we were going to stop to get our 2nd meal that day out of the home and use yet another random bathroom, about 9pm at night, exhausted, and questioning everything, I had a cathartic cry that will forever be etched in my memory. The tears were so heavy that I had to get out of my car and walk around it slowly, many times, to pull myself together. I thought I knew what I was crying about, but it took me a minute to get my brain, clear. I realized I was questioning my faith in getting my professional actor to audition after audition after audition. Tears were hitting the pavement below. The lights in the parking lot were brighter than ever, almost blinding….
Despite the heavy flow of eye water, I knew this…..What I absolutely was NOT doing was questioning my child’s absolute love for what she does, acting and singing. What I was NOT questioning was her ability to soar like an eagle. What I was NOT questioning was all the tons of conversations she and I had about how this is her dream and please can I help her. What I was NOT asking was does she want this. I was certainly NOT asking myself about her love, her commitment, her extremely clear goals. As I knew all of that was solid and clear to her, as she had told me day after day after day. All those hours of her fun, her training, her obvious love for the art of acting and singing, I still had that part clear.
However, I was just literally questioning the sanity of it all. Even after 3 films, a commercial, so much success in the singing world, 2 years of callbacks, friends in the industry verifying that they can see the passion in her work, the tons of positive feedback received along the way, I found myself literally asking myself, am I doing the right thing? Am I a great parent? Am I doing my child justice by doing this? These hours? These trips? These auditions? This time away from other things? This food? These bathrooms? This not hearing anything after auditions? This not knowing anything? The auditions blended together for a moment, 10, 20, 30, who knows, lost track of the amount along the way. Was it the right path since technically I was enabling it? Why was I in a parking lot looking for another bathroom that would be best for us? Some healthy food that she’d eat and enjoy? I just felt like I was lost for a moment. Lost in the wanting to help her, but also in the sadness of feeling like although she trains, and she is natural, and she gets great feedback and she loves it, and you can see it in her eyes, and it’s fun for her and on and on and on, I just felt pissed off….I actually was mad – level 8 out of 10 (she’s taught me the levels of mad). Mad at the world or just mad at something that I cannot explain, that her time has not come just yet. That it’s 20, 30, 40 maybe more…auditions in and “that” it’s been some time since her last amazing set experience and the one prior to that and she wants to be on set, again, she misses it, she’d say. “I miss being on set, mom. Can’t wait to be back on a set.” Hearing that comment about missing being on set would feel like knives in my heart. I was crying out loud to ask why are they not seeing it when everyone else is seeing it. And against all I know, that it may not be the right fit or the right time, I still felt sad and helpless. Helpless to help her more than what I was already doing.
And in that moment, I lost it….I just lost control of the control of it all. And I cried. Hard. The tears became a hard rain and I prayed no car was close enough in the parking lot to see my meltdown or hear my breath. I knew I just had to get it out, like a wave, there was no way to stop it. It built louder and harder.
I was crying on the outside and my inside for her to be heard and seen. I think I was starting to feel that although she is super professional, unique, confident, puts her all into her classes, works so hard and is so talented, that maybe just maybe there is not that exact role out there for her. I started to question things by looking at those that are getting roles, recently. Hair color. Background. Age. Hair cut. Maybe too many girls with her look in her age group…etc….This. That. All of it. Everything. I started to question…… Breaking down one wall at a time. Everything I know and have shared with you on this blog previously…all about the journey, about each person’s journey is different, about having to learn to be okay with that, that it’s these in between moments that it takes true faith…..I just literally threw all of that out the window and said fuck it, just fuck it. I’m not one to cuss hardly ever, but in that moment, I did. In that 3 minutes, I felt my faith start to fly out the window too. Into the cold dark air I mumbled, “FUCK it…FUCK it. and FUCK…” And I felt super ashamed as I was saying it…It was not my body or my mind, but those words came out my lips.
Things flashed into my mind that I was taught by her coaches, her teachers and at workshops. They all said over and over again, don’t let it get to you. Don’t take anything personally. Each child’s path is so different. It’s a journey. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when….And on and on…And although I’d heard the words and a lot of times I was able to ride with that faith, in this particular moment I just could not…take it….the rejection of the not hearing, the rejection of not being the right one, the feeling that maybe she was starting to feel bad inside…That this might get to her….That I was doing something wrong and going about this all wrong. Was she too young? Was she going to bounce back from that last one as I know how badly it was her dream role? And on and on and on….And THEN….Just Then…..Something happened that I could never have predicted.
What you don’t know you don’t know – Those Moments are Priceless:
I heard the sound of a car window being rolled down and then the thoughtful whisper.
“Mom, you okay out there?” “Mom, I know you are upset, but I’m not.” “Mom, listen to me, I released that audition 4 hours ago, I’m good.” What, how did she know? I hadn’t said a thing. Nor, did I ever act this way. So, how could she possibly know what I was crying about. Well, she didn’t know the entire thing, but she was on the right track.
I saw my little one, with the window rolled down, her honest kind face staring at me with big glaring eyes. She was absolutely at peace.
“Mom, what’s going on?” “I just finished reading my book, it was so good, I read the whole thing, today.” “You alright out there?” “I know how you feel, mom, but it’s okay.” “I’m climbing up the stairs, remember? You taught me that.” “It’s still my dream, mom. And it’s going to be okay.” “Can you stop crying now?”
I still continued to cry for a few more minutes, then catch my breath.
And in that moment, it all cleared up, kind of like a quick bolt of lightning. The hundreds of hours of training, the many miles in the car, bathrooms and toilets in a rush sometimes, meals in various places and cities and parking lots, the pillows and sleeping the back of the car and fun road trips and practices and auditions were all worth it. She was clear, so I was clear. I got back in the car slowly, got in the back seat to hug her for a few minutes, handed her over her comfy pillows as it was getting late, and we got back on to the highway to make our way home. When we pulled in, as always, she was crashed out. I got her to walk through the house with her eyes closed and into her bed. She woke up the next day, went to school and had a wonderful day. And so did I.
And back on to the acting journey path we went. Happily. And that’s where we are now, again. And anything is possible. It’s a wide open road and we are here to support her along the way.
Did it feel good to weep like a baby? Yes, absolutely. I felt a bit bad at first about crying in front of her, like that. But, then I realized, again, that I’m human too. And, although as a parent a lot of the time I’m trying to come off as completely in control and so strong, I was able to show her that other side of me. The faith was never gone, it was just a bump in the road I had to go over. I had to release that in order to continue to do what I’ve been doing, supporting her dreams. At some time, if it has not happened to you yet, you may have a moment of questioning. If you do, I hope this post helps you to see that you are normal and it’s okay and it’s just a release. It’s how you deal with it and move through it that makes the difference. Our young actors know a lot more then we think they do. If they don’t want to be doing what they are doing, they will tell us or they will show us. If they love it, I still know that it’s up to us to find all the ways we can to empower them to succeed. If you need a cry, just do it and never feel ashamed.
It’s all about Faith:
I’ve written about it before, but it’s these moments in between auditions or sets that you will question your faith. It’s in those moments that faith needs to carry you through. If you study the greats, you will see, they all went through it too. It’s honestly very hard at times, but if your child loves it, just keep at it by getting them where they want to be, on time. As, it’s all about the fun, anyways – them having fun. Repeat – The Fun.
So, yep, as a family, we are going through it right now, the “in between sets time” (when your child has been on set but now they are in between roles) and I have the faith that she will get her break through again soon, be back on set and that it’s absolutely going to happen, it is a matter of time. I’m certain and others are certain with me that she will soon be on sets, yet again. And most importantly, she is certain that’s what she wants. Her dream board hangs above her bed. She walks the walk, talks the talk and the love for the art of acting and singing shows, daily. Sometimes the roles come back to back and kids land them that way. Sometimes they land nothing for a very long time. Could be months, could be years. That’s got to be okay for your child and for you.
As mentioned above, we are in the in between sets moment (she’s been featured on several projects on sets, but in a bit of a pause right now – so happily training). She’s exactly where she’s at, right now – training, acting, training, acting, auditions, training, auditions and so forth – she very much enjoys all of that. That’s all that matters. She loves acting. She loves singing. It’s what she cannot wait to do after school each day. It’s what she talks about to others. It’s what she sings about when she wakes up and throughout the day. To the point of having to be asked, a few times, to not sing at school during class…. LOL…She didn’t realize she was singing that much during class 🙂
So, I wish the same for you and yours. Have Fun. Be Strong. And let go/release whenever you need to! If your child is acting and loves it, keep going, keep them in training, keep them involved in whatever they have fun with. As their day is likely coming to be on set. It’s about training in a consistent manner and not giving up in those moments when your faith might come into question.
I’m glad I cried in that parking lot. It was well worth it!
My hope is that this touched one of you out there, that maybe is in the in between or needed to hear this, today.
As always, if you have a comment or question, please scroll down and let me know your thoughts. I hope this post was timely for you!