I would get a gigantic lump in my throat, felt my pulse quicken and fill with fear and, near, panic as I heard my name on the loudspeaker.
One time it was to pick up something that had been dropped off for me. Another time, to alert me that my Grandmother was there to pick me up from the Nurse's office--- I never got called in for anything hugely terrible, though there were times when I may have deserved a "talking to".
But I was a good kid, a so-so student, and absolutely in LOVE with the arts and the written and spoken word.
Being the person I was, of the background and build I was, I was never cast in leading roles... despite being, arguably, the best singing voice of the lot. The head of the English/Drama department told me to my face that I would "never be cast in a lead role, no matter how talented. [insert town name here] just isn't READY for a black "Tony" in "West Side Story", or in anything else." But that was OK! I just went out to the real world and auditioned for parts outside of school, where I was embraced and admired, and respected and cast! Now, being honest, I am absolutely not romantic leading male material. I do not fit the type. I recognize that.
Instead of loathing the theatre, which didn't accept me, I began to bathe in the applause and satisfaction of proving that I could do the work! I never had to worry about the Principal's office again. i was more concerned about my upcoming rehearsal.
But today, I got that fearful feeling again! One of my most-treasured advisors/mentors/sounding boards and casting angels hadn't been able to re-read and critique my latest play as expected. LIFE happened in his life and it prevented us from speaking as scheduled.
Then, it happened! I heard the facebook chat-tone, saw who it was and immediately went into "Ut-ohhhhh!" mode. I was fighting to ignore the negative words I, sort of, expected. There was always a chance that he HATED the rewrites and had taken so long--- because he didn't want to hurt my feelings. I swallowed a little hard, but, no longer a child--- but a grown ass man--- I began to read the chat message, prepared for my "lumps".
Now, as an adult, I have mastered the ability to presume nothing, expect nothing and try not to worry about some thing unless, and until, I have reason to do otherwise. Though, this time, because of the respect I have for the person, I was a little nervous.
Then I read his comment:
While I have not re-read the entire script (which I wanted to do to get perspective before offering comment), I HAVE read the re-written "Sylvia Edelstein" - which I now love(!) and the new and improved "Trayvon Benjamin Martin." There were a few minor "word issues" with the Trayvon piece but DAMN you nailed it. Reading it this time I actually found myself getting emotional - which I rarely do when just reading a piece. I usually only feel things "intellectually" when reading, but this is now truly the standout piece that it should be. I will make it my business to read the entire play at some point over the upcoming holiday weekend and we should find time to talk next week... "
- Presume nothing.
- Be ready for anything.
- Be brave.
- Push through any fear.
- Be ever grateful for good people, who will tell you the truth, like my Advisor did with the first, final draft--- which inspired the re-writes.
- Give thanks for, and surround yourself with people who do not tell you what they THINK you want to hear--- but what you might need to hear. Team up with those people who, even if they disagree, are never negative or discouraging. Align with people who make positive, caring, constructive, open, honest observations and criticisms... and who are willing to say things you might not want to hear--- from a place of love and respect--- and you will NEVER be alone!
- Be willing to, and capable of, being #6 for someone ELSE!
- There is ALWAYS a need to say what you MEAN... but one doesn't need to be MEAN in the way in which we say it!
I feel very fortunate, and blessed, to have someone like him in my corner.