Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sharing My Life Lessons: Finishing Well

Once again, here is a recent post for Blissfully Domestic. In the absence of an editor for the Family Bliss channel, for which I am a contributor, I am going to post here - mainly because I am now in the habit of writing at least one piece each week and want to hold myself accountable to continuing that discipline. Enjoy.

No matter how hard you rehearse, there are times when the dreaded brain freeze is just downright unavoidable.

It’s unfortunate, however, when that freeze comes mid-song. And I’m not talking about forgetting the lyrics when, say, you are playing the home version of American Idol in your shower.

No, it’s unfortunate when that brain freeze rears its head during an audition.

Such is the background for my most recent discussion with my daughter where I used my experience as a young child actor to share with her the value of finishing well – even when being stumped mid-stream, or, rather, mid-lyric.

It was one of my first auditions. I was young, 10 or 11, and had been prepped for the audition by a mentor of mine – a high school student who went on to become a professional actress in New York City. She had alerted me to the area audition for The Music Man and encouraged me to audition. To assist, she provided me with the song, “Hey Look Me Over”. She then rehearsed me on staging/choreography. I was prepared. Confident. Solid.

The audition started fine. The piece fit my voice and personality. I started strong, hit the bridge on a roll, and began winding down to the conclusion when, out of nowhere, I blanked. Seriously, out of nowhere.

“I’m a little bit . . .”

Brain freeze. Um, line? My mind scrambled to rewind and proceed again.

“I’m a little bit . . .”

Nope. Nothing. Stark white canvas.

My sister and mother stood outside the door, no doubt animatedly mouthing the words silently, hoping to channel them my way. Apparently, I was on a different channel.

I was not going to give up. I smiled and wound up my choreography to give it yet another go, not unlike the revving of a frigid car engine needing a bit more juice to get going – just hit the gas one more time – it will start. It WILL start. Come on, come on, come on.

“I’m a little bit (brief pause) short of the elbow room, but let me get you some. So look out world here I come!”

And . . . scene.

I could have stopped when the freeze took over, mid-lyric. I could have resigned myself to finishing on "I'm a little bit . . .". I could have believed that's the best I could do, thrown out the customary "Thank you" to the director, and then, head hung low, exited the room.

I could have. But I chose to end on a different note.

I chose to finish well.

Don’t hesitate to share personal childhood experiences with your children.

Whether it’s a mistake you once made, or a hurdle you jumped, sharing a personal story with your child helps them get to know you better, and to see that even YOU have hit speed bumps along your journey. And yet, you still managed to make it to adulthood! Good job!

Photo by Richard Whitesell

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