The day of auditions, I was calm.
I didn’t fret, I didn’t freak.
And every time I saw someone who was losing their mind,
I went up to them, and said calmly,
“Repeat after me.
I am a strong, talented individual.
I will not define myself
Based on the role I may or may not get.”
And I believed every single word.
A week passed, and I waited patiently.
And then I saw it, plain in black and white:
The cast list.
At first it was blurry, but then I got a better look.
I scanned the rows faithfully, looking for anything,
No role, no solo, not even “ensemble”.
It didn’t feel right; it just didn’t.
I scanned the rows over and over,
Searching for something I’d overlooked,
Silently begging for an oversight or a mistake.
It’s not that I’m a theatre fanatic; I’m not.
But this felt wrong.
I had this instinct, this nagging voice telling me there had to be a mistake.
And it wasn’t out of pride, ego, or arrogance.
It was because I knew my value.
I knew I was good enough to get in.
But I can’t tell anyone.
I can’t tell anyone that I was good enough to get in,
Because it sounds whiny and arrogant.
And who would believe it?
Who’d take my judgement over the director’s?
I was going to take it in stride.
When the other kids in my musical theatre class asked about it,
I was going to brush it off and say “It doesn’t matter.”
Because, for the most part, it didn’t.
I was confused, but not upset.
But no one asked.
No one wondered if I was fine.
No one cared about me.
The second they’d seen their own names,
They’d forgotten about everyone else.
All that mattered was that they’d gotten in.
All that mattered was that they’d made it.
Maybe it’s not a conscious decision,
But the second they got their list,
I was shut out.
Cast into the circle of everyone who “wasn’t good enough.”
Left to wonder if it’d be better to join the tech crew,
Or just stay out altogether.
Because they don’t see me as an equal.
I’m just . . . cute.
But I’m not one of them.
I’m not in the cast.
And I’m not an actress; I’m a writer.
I like musicals, but for God’s sake,
Please stop babbling about Porgy and Bess.
I love being in plays, but they’re not my life.
I don’t live and die for the performance.
That separates us.
Walk into that class,
And try to start a conversation about literally anything but a show.
You won’t be talking for long.
I’m not exaggerating.
That’s the only thing on their minds.
They’re obsessed with the spotlight.
So I don’t belong.
I’m used to rejection.
I am used to being on the outside.
But the pain has never subsided.
Faking a soft smile hasn’t gotten easier.
If anything, it’s become a million times harder.
It’s like I’m a boxer in the ring,
And every time I get hit in the jaw,
I just have to keep on grinning,
Even if every single one of my teeth is knocked out,
Even if I’ve got two black eyes and can’t see a damned thing.
Director, I respect your decision,
But I am under no obligation to agree with it.
Maybe it’s better this way,
Because I can’t be one of them.
I can’t let you or anyone else define my worth.
You have sent me a silent message that I am not good enough,
That I didn’t make the cut.
But I cannot accept that.
I refuse to degrade my value.
So what can I do but rebel?
Rebel in silence, because no one likes a sore loser.
But I’ll tell you a secret about the graceful ones: