Everyone else was nervous, but not me. “I just have a good feeling about it! Why wouldn’t I get the part?” I thought to myself cheerily. To me, it was certainly a good question. My audition had gone flawlessly; I hit the high notes without breaking into a screech, remembered all my lines without stumbling and blushing – hey, I even had short hair! Just like Rizzo does in Grease! So essentially, it just made sense for me to get the part. I practically glided towards the board displaying the cast list for my high school of Grease, so blasé and laid back I felt about my fate. “Showbusiness is Flo’s businesss” was my mantra. At the time, I believed this to be exceptionally witty.
Except, um, it wasn’t Flo’s business, after all. There was a name next to “Rizzo” but it definitely wasn’t mine. Instead, it was next to Eugene. Remember the odd looking nerd at the start of the film who the T-Birds shove to the side in the hallway? The one who doesn’t have more than TWO lines in the whole thing? Yeah, my big high school production debut was playing that guy.
My big dreams of (well, relative) stardom went up in smoke. The next twenty four hours were as drama-filled as any episode of TOWIE whilst I jolted from one intense emotion to another. Initially, I was immensely hurt then I moved on to feeling vengeful and furious. Pure disgust followed after when the girl who had gotten the part wrote on my Bebo wall! All of this went down whilst my mum calmly encouraged me to just accept the part, play it brilliantly and to absolutely not show anybody that I upset over it not being the part I wanted.
Despite continuing to firmly believe I was robbed – even expecting to at least be asked to be the understudy – I eventually listened to my mum and went to rehearsals over the next six months. I took my tiny minor role as seriously as Sandy, Danny and even the quite clearly wrongly cast Rizzo (did I mention that she had scandalously long hair?) I memorised my few lines until I was murmuring them in my sleep. When I had to come up with my own costume, my mum and I scoured charity shops and googled “geek” until by the opening night, you might’ve gotten the actor who played Eugene and I mixed up.
All this is what helped me in working out that I had to use being rejected to my advantage. Getting turned down is an opportunity to show how you can still excel despite adversity and people not believing you’re up to task – I should know. Turns out I was recommended to audition for the National Youth Theatre within minutes of coming off stage.
I figure that rejection is lot like how a good, effective medicine should be. Sometimes medicine is hard to take; sometimes it makes you feel physically sick. It comes with side effects that make you wonder if it’s even worthwhile – the shame, disappointment and self-persecution that follow as you try to take it like a grown up. Instead of screwing your face up, crying and refusing to accept what’s being told is best for you. But like all good medication, it makes your ails easier to withstand. No matter how much it totally sucks at the time, in the great scheme of things it is truly going to make you better.
I speak from experience outside Eugene-gate, here. In the past twelve months alone there have been numerous occasions when my drawbacks have strengthened me in some way. They’ve made me aspire to become a go-getter, a do-er, a girl who puts her lipstick on and smirks gleefully in the face of defeat.
Rejection served me well when I recently failed a crucial essay I thought I’d aced; it gave me the courage I needed to accept that it wasn’t the course for me and finally swap to the one I much preferred. My ex-boyfriend’s refusal to get back together made me want to take care of myself and my health again; I bought some weights, dyed my hair and successfully applied for a magazine column so I could throw all my energy into loving me, and not him.
Last night, I found out I was unsuccessful in applying for the editorial position I had worked towards nabbing from day one, and that pain is what’s brought me to be sitting here, writing this.
My disappointment has lifted me out of another dry spell of writing inspiration. Who said your failures couldn’t be your blessings in disguise, too?
University of Glasgow student, blogger, feminist, dating columnist for @qmunicate. Impractically introverted and inquisitive. I love lipstick and television.