Work in Progress . . .

by Marisha

When we started this blog, I mentioned that I was going to be writing about my life here in LA. To be honest, as time went on, I realized that that was a little harder than I thought it was going to be; to write openly about my life might mean publicly exposing people in my immediate life or people who I do not know.

That said, I have thought for the past week about what I would write about, and I finally realized how this city has brought me a lot of tests of strength.  These are tests for  a performer–and especially a performer who is an adoptee.

The business and dream I have chosen to pursue is, to say the least, not the most comforting/stable business. As a performer, you are not just selling a presentation of a certain product. You are selling YOU. Every part of you is under surveillance, whether it’s your looks, the way you speak, even the size of your feet. You are either right for the role or you aren’t. You live in uncertainty about your finances.  Even more importantly, you have to evaluate your personal stability on a daily basis, as well.

This business is based so much on “rejection.”  You sometimes have to hear a hundred “NOs” before one resounding “YES” comes along. I was struggling with that–have been struggling with that pretty much since I started auditioning as a teenager and moved outside the realm of just dance. I used to take it so personally, analyze every moment of the audition and drive myself crazy when I wouldn’t get the call or the gig.

“Was I too big?”

“Did I talk too much?”

“Should I have done the character differently?

“I could have done that scene better.”

And so on.  I know that everyone in this business–they don’t have to be adopted!–has felt this at one time.  To some degree, it’s not only human nature, but it’s the reality of any line of work.

A lot of time I not only felt “rejected,” but I honestly felt “not good enough.” There were so many times that I questioned my strength in this business, but, thankfully, because of this blog, I have figured out why.

One of the biggest things that adoptees face is the feeling of “abandonment.” It took me almost 24 years to fully understand that, and even so, it was thinking more thoroughly about the role of adoption in my life through work on this blog that helped lead me to this new understanding.

I think that this awareness will come at very different stages for other adoptees. I never really put two and two together before. But just like adoption affects your relationships, it can affect your work as well. Especially this work. I have always wanted to be accepted, to be loved and respected for what I do and bring to the table. I can get very sensitive to harsh criticism of my craft not only because it is my passion, but it is my dream.

But there’s a bigger picture, I now realize. Criticism is all in how you perceive it, and quite frankly, EVERYONE is going to have an opinion of you and your work. You have to take it with a grain of salt and try NOT to take it personally. Easier said than done, right? I’m learning that I have not always taken it as that, but in fact, as criticism to me as a human being–that, again, I am not good enough. That I do not have the tools to make someone believe in me and not “abandon” me or my potential.

Photo by Louise Hay

I now see how silly that is. I have become so much better, and have learned to separate my adoption from getting in the way of my dreams and relationships.

This blog post feels like a diary entry for myself.  I am a work in progress and this journey in LA has been anything but easy. I am going to fight for my dream, and I can’t promise I will always be on the up and up emotionally. But I will say that each day gets a little easier, and I am very much “good enough.” Thanks for helping me with that, guys! x

Comments

  1. I can totally relate. I was a piano performance major in college and suffered from terrible, debilitating performance anxiety. Still do, unfortunately. I do think it has something to do with those deep rooted feelings of inadequacy that stem back to my childhood and, perhaps abandonment issues. I’m heading back into the performing arena soon and am wondering how I will manage the nerves! It’ll be interesting. I’ve also heard that EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) nips performance anxiety in the bud, but haven’t tried it. Thanks for your post!

    • Oh wow! yea I used to be like that with singing!!! I need to look more into EMDR! that sounds so interested! My mum mentioned that you live in Arizona! Hopefully we get to meet soon! I wish you the best in getting back to the performing arena! I know that you will kill it! x take care!

  2. Marisha, I’m so glad you have been able to separate adoption thoughts from the audition process. As a long-ago theatre major, I too faced a lot of rejection, but at least I didn’t have to worry about what has been a deep and sometimes painful concern for you. Many, many people care about you–more than you know–and admire you for the hard work you have put into becoming an outstanding person and performer.

    All the best,
    Wilma

    • Thank you WIlma…that means so much coming from you! I need to separate them for sure just for my mental health! I really want to be the best person I can be and I am so happy to have people like you supporting me! x

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