Kicking Fear In The Balls
When I was 13, I decided I wanted to be an actress. I would make my mom drive me to Hollywood every weekend in search of auditions. After a couple of Sunday trips, I finally found an audition that fit my personality. I went to the audition and scored a main character for a local college play in Los Angeles. The three month production was a triumphant experience; it felt like the beginning of a successful acting career!
The following year, I got a call from the director telling me he wanted me to audition for a musical that Cedric the Entertainer and Bruce Willis were producing. I did and earned a small piece in the musical. The musical was overwhelming. Rehearsals were intense and required demanding hours. At the time, my mom would work the graveyard shift so she would drop me off at rehearsals, and then it was up to me to find a ride back home. I lived about thirty minutes away from rehearsals and the thought of not knowing how I was going to get home that night was always a constant worry.
On top of that constant worry, I grew fearful of the director. He was a smart and respected man who had a gift for cursing people out. Although he was a very kind man whom I admired, when he got angry, he looked like the Devil himself. I quickly became intimidated by him. At the age of 13, my biggest fear was being yelled at by him. Thankfully he never did. He was actually very sweet to me. Still, I created this fear and I let it manifest into something bigger. My terror of the director and my uncertainty of not knowing how I was going to get home got so overwhelming that I would have full on anxiety attacks.
At that tender age, my anxiety made me feel like the world was going to end. It felt like there was a ball of worry stuck within my chest, and if I could only get that ball out, I would be able to breathe. I wanted to quit the musical. I didn’t think I was capable of being in it. It all felt bigger than what I could control. I remember having a major anxiety attack during rehearsal one day. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and was crying in fear. I went home, thinking I wasn’t going to come back to rehearsals.
I don’t really recall what my motivation was to return to the musical, but I did. I came back and finished the three month production. It was still a constant struggle and I’d still get anxiety attacks once in a while during rehearsal, but everyday the fear would diminish, little by little. I remember being on stage after a performance, giving my bows and thinking, I did it.
This experience taught me some very valuable life lessons.
1. I learned that fear limits you.
Being scared by the director really limited me. The terror and constant worry interfered with my happiness and performance on stage. It was draining and did no good to my soul whatsoever.
2. I learned that it feels good to kick fear in the cajones.
Although fear was beside me throughout the whole three months of that musical, I didn’t give up. Everyday was a constant mental struggle for my innocent 13 year old self. Everyday, my mind was telling me you’re not good enough and you never know how you’re getting home so you might as well quit. Not giving up felt like a “fuck you!” to my fear; it felt so good.
3. If you don’t experience, you’ll never know.
I got to be in a award winning musical! Plus, I got meet celebrities like Halle Berry and Bruce Willis-I had an experience of a lifetime! If I had quit, I would have never got to experience the amazing success the musical had. Instead, I would’ve seen the experience as an ugly, dreadful time in my life. When in fact, it was one of the most amazing experiences, ever! I even did another marvelous musical the following summer, with the same director!
A couple of days ago, fear tried to show up in my life during a bikram yoga class. It was my first time doing hot yoga and as soon as they closed the doors behind me, I started feeling high levels of anxiety. My mind instantly went back to that 13 year old wanting to quit because she felt too overwhelmed. I began to panic. The room felt way too hot and feeling claustrophobic, I thought I was going to lose my breath.
But then I realized that these fears were all made up thoughts in my head. So I decided to breathe, to hold on. I relaxed and focused my attention on the stretches rather than on my fear of hot yoga. I fought back the negative feelings & kicked fear in the balls.
So glad I stayed.
Fuck you, Fear.