One of the biggest pieces of advice that I hear being given to people wanting to pursue a career in the Arts is that you need a strong skin and you need be able to take the rejection. I think many of us have become experts in rejection from a very young age.
Despite being a sports fan and being reasonable good at a range different sports I always hated Physical Education in school. It was a one ticket to humiliation for me every single week. The teacher would always pick the most popular kids to be the two captains and they would then proceed to pick their best friends in order of popularity. I was always one of the last picks and it never got easier standing there waiting whilst every other person in your class was picked before you. I truly hope schools have stopped doing this but I am sure it still happens. My school experience was pretty similar throughout my entire time there and it amounted to a long list of rejections. Nobody would sit (or want to sit by me) in class, on the bus, at lunch and it truly hurt every single day.
I always remember putting my name down for a week long trip to an activity centre and there were only ten places available. My name was read first and it was read aloud it was booed. The truth is that I shouldn’t have gone but I did and remember the first comment when I got there was ‘why did you have to come’ and the person then proceeded to tell me that one of their friends didn’t get to go because I had taken their place. That week was not fun! Although I do remember the last day of that camp and deciding that I would play a little practical joke on them. I woke up very early and decided to change one of their watches and the clock on the wall. When they woke up it was about 7am but according to (Greenwich Dan Time) it was 9am which would have meant they had missed breakfast. I have never seen anybody move so fast running towards the dinner hall to find out that it hadn’t even opened yet!
I was a very odd child and was older than my years. I was afraid of girls and pretty much scared of my own shadow. I was torn apart for having my grandmothers red hair. I was called every kind of name you can imagine and told that I was disgusting pretty much daily. Along with my big glasses and outdated style there was no hope for me in the social climate of my youth. I will always remember sitting in class and being kicked by a girl across the table for having red hair. When I shouted out in pain the teacher told me off. I explained what had happened and the teacher did nothing. The girl did it again and again throughout the class. The teacher came over eventually and asked her to try and kick me and she pretended she couldn’t and teacher told me to stop messing around. At the end of the class and after about six kicks I showed the teacher my bruised leg which had skin missing and she hardly batted an eyelid.
Despite my career in music now I never really participated in anything musical at school. I will always remember singing out of tune to ensure that I wouldn’t get in the school choir as that was seen as social suicide. I truly feel there has been a big change in schools now and that people with musical talents are looked at so much better.
Rejection is never good and you can just become numb to it all and become experts in rejection and just pretty much expect to be rejected at every turn. It takes so much to actually change that mind set because it is ingrained in our very being. When you do not believe in yourself and enter an audition or interview and expect to be rejected it truly sticks out. You may not even notice that you are doing it because it has become a pre-set to you. Give yourself a break and know that you are worthy, valid and individual. Be strong and change that mind set and just know that you are deserving. If you have the talent and do the work then you have every right to be there and be in with a chance of getting that part or place at drama school or that new job.
I swear these roads are well traveled and you can change course but you need to believe in yourself. 2018 and every new day is a new start and I hope the year ahead is a much better one for you. If we can help you then never hesitate to reach out. Take care!