Day 23 of 365 Days of Writing Prompts: Write about a seemingly bad situation that turns into a positive life change.
Erin: “How have you gotten to be where you are today,” the interviewer asked her broad and open-ended question.
“The biggest driver of my success has been resilience,” I gave my broad and open-ended answer. To be honest I frequently liked to test the skills of the interviewers I encountered. Being too talkative wouldn’t challenge them.
“How so,” her game was weak. She seemed too nice for me to continue on though, so I decided to make life easy on her and open up.
“This all started with my 6th concussion. I was dead set on playing college ball, and made sure to be back on the field quickly and as consistently as possible.”
“What sport did you play,” she clearly had not done her research.
“Football. My doctor recommended that I quit however. I was playing varsity as a freshman and we were a shoo-in to go to regionals. I couldn’t give up that easily,” I remembered back to my emotions that day.
“What did you do,” she interrupted my flashback.
“There was a chance that my brain could be permanently damaged if I continued, so my mother demanded that I quit. With my plan to go pro my brain didn’t seem to matter, but as a minor her opinion was the only one that mattered.”
“What does that have to do with resilience? Did you find a way to play?”
Her interest in the story was becoming slightly adorable, “Not quite. I hated my mother for ruining my chance at the NFL. I had to channel my anger somewhere and that place was the piano. Now I see how important a healthy mind is and I know how much more passion I have for music than I ever did for sports.”
“Wow,” her jaw hung open. She looked like a cartoon.
“I called my mom to thank her when I released my first album.” She giggled. “I used to think getting back up was resiliency, but resiliency is actually knowing when the universe is telling you to stay down and reach for other dreams. Having the strength to change direction is sometimes, if not most of the time, more noble than having the strength to struggle through.”
Shannon: “Maybe you’re not meant to be a singer. You don’t have the look. You have a basic voice. Maybe it’s time to consider another career,” the casting director advised with a straight face.
“So what are saying? I should try out for acting-only roles,” I hoped he’d give me some genuine advice.
“Do you want my honest opinion?”
My mind was screaming no, but my head nodded. I wanted the opinion of a person in his position, but I didn’t want to be discouraged if he was wrong about me.
“If I were you, I’d stop auditioning completely. Stop wasting your time. It’s not going to happen. I’ve seen a lot of young girls like you stick with this until they burned out with nothing to show for it. Life can be a lot easier if you stop chasing an unreachable goal.”
I tried to hold back, but the tears were building up, “But there’s nothing else I want to do,” I shrugged, hurt. “What am I supposed to do?”
“You’ll figure it out, and you’ll be surprised. I’m sorry, but we have more auditions and your time is up. Good luck,” he was still stern, but honest, and even though it was hard to hear, I believed him. No more auditions.
Once I walked out the theater into the fresh air I considered going home to cry and pity myself, but I’d done that enough already in life. I wanted to know where I was going. I wanted to find my new passion, my new love. The world was open to me. More open, I suppose, than it was for the people who already knew who they were.
I still wanted to spend my days singing, but I didn’t know who my audience was going to be anymore. As I walked downtown I paid more attention to the world to around me. I started a list in my head as I encountered people to sing to: people in bars, people at weddings, people in parks, animals, even objects.
I sat down at a bench in the park to take out the ukulele I choose to audition with to try to stand out. I just started playing. I didn’t want money, or to get noticed, or to simply have one person finally hear my song. I just sang, and belted it without any fear someone could stop me to tell me they’d heard enough. It felt good to go on uninterrupted, and to do it for myself. I felt happy, like I was actually doing what I loved. After I strummed my final note, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
Look on the bright side of the prompt.