Written By Dekontee Tucrkile—
For a lot of us, we know this pretty well. I know I do. Living in a post 2020 world has amplified this feeling of failure. Before the pandemic, I could learn lines in two days, songs could be memorized in a few hours and I had the stamina to make it through dance calls. Now, I feel like I am not at the same level I was three years ago. Back in 2019, I booked three musicals in a row, as well as performed a reading of a new show at 54 Below. Nowadays, I am just trying to get an in-person callback.
The way I thought my career would look is far from my reality. I thought I would be an
actress on Broadway by the time I was 25 years old. I would have a cute little house and be
married by then too. I would be lying if I didn’t say it is hard to see the posts on Instagram or
Tiktok with other people living their dreams while I am feeling so far behind. They say that
comparison is the thief of joy, that is absolutely true. Furthermore, comparison makes us feel
bad about ourselves no matter where we are in life. We could be living in a mansion with
awards lining the walls and still feel as though we aren't good enough. I find that when I focus
on what I don’t have, I am unable to cherish the beauty that I am experiencing. I remember I
was at my third callback in New York City for a Broadway national tour and I still wasn’t content
with where my life was headed. I couldn’t even enjoy this milestone.
Where does this discontent come from? Along the way, I began sacrificing parts of my
dream because they sounded too big. My dreams felt too scary and I felt unworthy of actually
receiving them. I would self-sabotage so often that that became a habit. Those regrets and
negative self talk became my safety blanket. I am not saying that I haven’t had career wins or
successes because that is far from the truth. The thing is, that I am almost 30 and sometimes I
wish I could go back to the 22-year-old me and tell her to not let go of the fullness of her
dreams. I would tell her to never settle and train like tomorrow is your Broadway debut. I would
say get to know who you are every day and ask questions along the way. I would say “Girly,
know your worth and love yourself first.”
As I approach 30, it would be better if I reminded my 29 year old self those same
things. I am an artist. I am not behind. I am enough. I am not a failure.