I performed in public for the first time when I was 9 years old. I sang "The Climb" by Miley Cyrus in my 3rd grade talent show. I remember being petrified, but still really enjoying myself, so I did it again in 4th and 5th grades. When I started 6th grade, my mom wanted me to audition for a local production of A Christmas Carol, so I did.
To make a long story short, that's how I got hooked on theatre and performing.
I spent my middle and high school years performing in shows at least multiple times a year. In my early years, I was very self-conscious and often let that hinder the way I experienced the performance. I really, really enjoyed performing and it was my escape from a lot of the things that I went through in those years, but I could never let myself completely go.
I was too critical of myself. I cried over how I perceived my performances way too many times.
It took me until my senior year of high school to get to a place where I could fully let go and completely enjoy myself when I performed. Once I found that feeling, I craved it. I couldn't wait to continue performing in college.
Things took a different turn for me when I started at Temple. I auditioned for tons of things during my first semester, even though I didn't expect a great outcome. I was a freshman in a huge department, and I am not a part of the musical theatre program or the acting concentration.
I am also not a super strong actor. I did get cast in a short play festival, which was amazing. My priorities shifted a bit in my second semester, and I took a huge dive into stage management, so that left me with nowhere near as many possible performance opportunities.
It's been almost 7 months since that festival. It's the longest time I've ever gone without performing since I started doing theatre almost 8 years ago. It's been a difficult thing to accept. I love what I'm doing now in theatre, and I recognize the amazing things that I've been able to accomplish because of it, but performing is my first love.
And like many first loves, they are hard to let go of.
This is not to say that my acting career is over. I'm sure I'll do another show someday. It just may not be soon. My focus is different right now, and I accept that. It is difficult to not do something you really love, especially when you did it for so long and are surrounded by people who are doing it. I admit I even get a little jealous sometimes. It was a hard thing for me to have to essentially give up that authentic rush that took me so long to find.
Like I said, I'll find it again someday, but for now, I'll continue to look back and be grateful for all the experiences, lessons, and memories that performing has given me over the years and cheer on all of the amazing people around me who are performing now.