The following is a long conversation I had, elseweb, with an acquaintence, tonight. A little ways in, I realized that I was talking to myself, as well as my conversation mate. So...I've cleaned up the convo, and stuck it here, so that I can come and shout it to myself, when needed. It's probably of no interest to anyone, but me...but this is a nice, safe place to put it.
She: I don't know what Kelly saw in me..
Me: Talent. Something out of the ordinary. Are you having a tough time?
Out of the ordinary? ...I think he might've been the only one
Me: It's okay, girl...I've been having kind of a tough time, myself...I think it's a thing for first year grad students. I don't think he was the only one. you caught my eye when you were in the chorus for MEDEA...I never saw you in anything else, but I recall, quite vividly, asking Kelly who you were, because you were captivating.
She: No one else is seeing that
Me: Grad school is tough. i don't know what any of us expected, but we are all having some kinds of troubles.
did you get bad feedback, or something?
She: They haven't said any compliments to me but they have to my peers
Me: Okay. DO NOT compare yourself to them. This is your journey...don't concern yourself with their journey. Use this time to propel yourself forward. Do not work for the compliments of others...they are sometimes false. Just keep going out there and doing your best. I know it's tough...I know we all want words of positive feedback...
have they given you negative feedback? Given you good constructive criticism
She: I understand but NO ONE has said anything like Kelly ever
Me: Kelly has an eye for talent...not always the obvious talents...just keep working, girl...keep your chin up and keep bustin' that butt. I don't have a Kelly down here, either. I don't think Kellys come around very often.
She: Does he?...
Me: I think so, yes.
She: Byt he's the only one
Me: You can't sit there and doubt yourself...not all the time. Just because someone else gets a pat on the head....doesn't mean yours is not coming.
She: I know but it's strange
Me: How do you know? You don't know what people think...because people don't always say what they think..
so, email kelly and ask him what he saw in you...why he thought it would be good for you to go to grad school...I can't answer for him...but I reckon we are where we are for a reason.
someone saw something in us, or we wouldn't be here.
have you voiced these concerns to Ray?
I don't know. I asked Kelly and he said he saw "deeply sincere passion and a sensitivity that that is deeply vulnerable.".
Me: Okay...so...you have those qualities...that's your truth...perhaps it's a truth that doesn't just throw itself right out there in the middle of the stage and demand that people watch...perhaps it's a truth that is quiet and beautiul, and not attention demanding....not all of us can "Sing out, Rose!"...Not all of us have a thing that hangs out there on a hook and demands attention all of the time.
All talents aren't the same. It would be fun if we were all Judi Densch or Bette Midler...but we aren't all those people.
She: Ha then who are we?
Me: The others. The ones in the indie films or the new plays or the teachers who prod unsure people onward...or whatever we can create out of our own talent. Not everyone can walk out there and be a mega-star, right off the bat.
I came to grad school with no delusions. I know I'm not everybody's cup of tea. I know that I'll never be a huge star...my talent isn't suited for that...but maybe I have the right talent to be a great supporting actor...or a fine-assed teacher...
I don't have to be everybody's favorite to have value.
and neither do you. you just have to do your work ... keep upping your game...play your truth...find what you have and throw it out there.
She: The indie people
Me: Is that a bad thing? To be outside of the mainstream? Outside of the box? I mean...did you have some expectation of ...I don't know...being Judi Densch? I've always flown by the seat of my pants...so I have no real expectation. I'm not saying you can't BE mainstream...maybe you can! Maybe I can! But is there anything wrong with that not being the case?
I think that you have a great talent...I just don't want to see you get beaten down and throw your hands in the air because someone isn't throwing compliments your way every five minutes. I don't know what happened, or what was said, but if you didn't have talent, you wouldn't be where you are.
She: I know. I'm sorry kelly...
Me: Oh honey, don't be sorry...talking to you has also been talking to ME!
We are here to hold one another up when we need it!
She: But I don't know if I'm good
Me: Grad school is HARD...and harder for those of us who have bad or little self esteem.
If you weren't good, you wouldn't have gotten chosen for UNC...
Trust Kelly. What in the world would he lie to you for? What in the world does he have to gain?
She: I wasn't exactly chosen lol
Me: If they didn't want you there, you wouldn't be there.
But maybe I'm just mediocre
up your game. play harder...dig deeper for more truth...
grad school ain't no joke...this isn't undergrad where they wipe your butt and send you on your way...
here it's WORK.
She: I'm scared I'll be a dime in a dozen
Me: so...make yourself NOT a dime a dozen. There is no magic pill...there is only work and digging deep and finding what only you have.
But these people
Me: hitch up your confidence and get out there and make 'em see.
She: It's funny how I haven't been complimented like that ever since Kelly
Me: not to be crude, but fuck those people. you know? Do what they ask of you, and do it THE very best you can.
Me: Kelly is an honest dude when it comes to his students. Nothing in the whole world means more to him than his classrooms and the students in them, except his kids.
She: Does Kelly throw compliments easily?
I've worked with that man for 10 years...and the answer is "NO"...he gives compliments when they are deserved, or when something touches him deeply...other than that...nope.
She: ...wow I can't understand
Me: don't worry about getting compliments from people...that's like waiting for roses on your birthday...a sure recipe for disaster.
Do they give you constructive criticism? Do they not give you anything?
She: They do...but I get no sense of "encouragement"
Me: The world is big, bad and ugly. Take their words...implement them. Do what needs doing, and whatever you can do to make yourself better. Supply your own encouragement. Are you busting your ass? Are you digging around in yourself to make things happen? If you are, GOOD! There is your encouragement. Undergrad was wonderful for the encouragement and the nurturing environment. This ain't undergrad. These people are not there to encourage us and to jolly us along. This is a whole different level...this is where we have to depend on ourselves...and not be told that we're wonderful, over and over. If they're telling other people stuff...well, maybe those people are weak and need the encouragement to proceed. Be the one who does not need to be coddled. Be the one who fights for what she wants, and goes out there and does everything in the world to get it.
(Girl, I'm talkin' to me, just as much as I'm talkin' to you...)
I have many of the same thoughts as you do...daily...sometimes hourly. Sometimes more than that. Sometimes I'm paralyzed by my own insecurity...then someone says something...or something pops into my head, and I'm like, "fuck these people! I am better than this...let's see what I can pull out of the hat!"
She: Lol woah you're a fighter
Me: I think that if we are going to be in this business, we can't be anything less than warriors...it's a tough business...
She: It is. That's what I have to understand. But I can't seem to be getting along with my peers
how so? are they stand-offish? Are youuuuu standoffish?
I'm such an introvert...I don't hang with my classmates, very much...but that's okay...I didn't come here to make friends, I came here to make a life for myself...
She: They are. I dunno
Me: we are all friendly enough...but I don't do all the socializing with them...I don't go to bars and do their little bullshitty shit...I have homework to do and lines to learn and sleep to be getting!
I think it's because I was the only one who got a follow up email from Ray
Me: So...you aren't a social butterfly. So what? Kelly Morgan is one of the most introverted, intense people I know...and if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.
follow up email? For what? I mean...???
She: Midterm evals
Me: why were you the only one who got one?
(now I'm just kind of lost...)
She: That's my question
Me: well, did it say bad stuff?
She: No just sounded ominous
Me: have you made an appointment with him to discuss it?
She: The conversation from midterm should not be repeated for final eval
Me: I don't know what that means, "the conversation from midterm should not be repeated for final eval." what does that mean? was there some conversation? Ooh la, I am lost.
She: Progress must be made
Me: well, get in there and see what is missing, and then do your damndest to make it happen.
She: Yeah but why the hell was I the only one who got a follow up
Me: Don't go in and be desperate...just go in and ask the man what needs to happen, because this is your passion, and you want to succeed.
how do you know you were the only one?
She: I sorta asked
Me: asked whom?
She: My classmates
Me: Girl, even if every one of them got one, do you think they'd own up to it? Come on, you know better 1) than to ask folks stuff like that and 2) to believe what they say when they answer. You go talk to the sender of the letter. go in with your head up, and your steel will in place, ask what needs doing, tell them you intend to do it, and go on about your business...and make sure you get it done!
She: Uh I'm so naive
Me: Ha. It's okay...live and learn, you know!
Ya gotta fake it til you make it. if that means faking a great sense of ego and belief in yourself...ya just gotta do it. (I fall down on that one from time to time, but then someone says something, or I'm forced to step up, and I remember.)
She: It's because I let someone just step on me
Me: WELL, FUCK THAT PERSON, TOO! Girl...grow that backbone...you're gonna need it! Fuck 'em ALL....you gotta take care of yourself....So do it. Become the warrior you have to be! Toughen up. I love ya, honey...I think that you are immensely talented, and that you sell yourself short. I feel that you need to grow your sense of self and stop worrying so much about what everyone else thinks of you....
She: Thank you kelly I've been crying lately
Me: Sometimes we do. Crying is...cathartic sometimes...but also self-indulgent, sometimes. Don't let yourself fall into the trap of having a pity party for yourself...you're better than that. C'mon now...buck up. Have your meeting, find out what's what, and you know...buckle down and kick your own ass all the way across the finish line. This is "for realsies"...we gotta be tough! Let me know what happens, if you want to...I'm here.
She: Thank you kelly. That means a lot.
Me: Well kid, I'm here...fighting my own battles and slaying my own dragons. We can share a sword from time to time, and do our best to encourage one another. It's a tough battle, but I think it will be so worth it, in the end.
Me: Now....get a good night's sleep, and get up tomorrow, and resolve to be strong for an hour. At the end of that hour...resolve for another...and on and on until you get home. Give yourself a little break, and then get right back with it. I'm here.
Nighty night, Sister. Sleep well. Eat well. Treat yourself well.
She: You too.