Six months ago, I decided to be bold – I decided to leave my job as an English teacher and Head of Drama in order to make some time to rediscover what it was that I wanted to do next. I am often sensitive to each of my life’s seasons and I knew that it was time to take some time to reflect on all of the opportunities I had seized and received during my experience on the Teach First programme, and to realign myself with values that resonated with an evolved me. I knew that I wanted to spend more quality time with friends and family; I wanted to travel mindfully; mostly, I desired to dare to dream about performing again and to purposefully surround myself with creative energy.
As soon as I opened myself up to possibility, I felt myself being more confident and active in my pursuit of opportunities. I sent out self tapes to casting directors, to potential agents; I trained with an incredible hub of creatives at ‘The Actors’ Class’; I attended auditions and hustled my way through interviews to tutor for private companies and a company that works with young people who are in the care system. The range of choice that I finally had, with regards to how I spent my time and shared my energy, translated into being more in tune with what I wanted, not what I thought I wanted, or what my family, or friends, or society expected of me, but I was challenged to really question what it was that made me feel my most fulfilled self.
Such a whirlwind of experiences followed. I travelled to Hong Kong and Bali and connected with inspiring people in such stunning parts of the world. On my 24th birthday, I spent the day surrounded by the tranquility of the Similan islands in Thailand, with someone I love and admire. I collaborated on a project with the National Youth Theatre, and got to perform at the Shaftesbury theatre with the most passionate artists. I went on tour with the National Youth Theatre shortly after, with a new play encouraging young people to think about their future careers. At the start of 2017, I was offered to understudy the female lead in Thriller Live – a globally acclaimed stage production that is touring the UK, EU and Asia. Through a range of circumstances, I will now be playing lead, with my first show on 1st February 2017.
Let me also highlight the anxieties I have that bubbles underneath… Am I in my overdraft because of travelling? Yes. Do I often desperately wish that I could pop home to share time with my friends and family? Yes. Do I often catch myself worrying for those students I taught and left, and feel conflicted about the responsibility I had as their teacher and mentor? Yes. Do I start to panic about the decisions I may have to make about the next steps in my performing career? Or worse, what decisions I may not have to make because of the lack of opportunities? Y E S.
What I am learning, in this season, is that being bold takes courage. We are privileged to be in positions to make choices about who we want to be and what projects/ people we share our energy with so why not take ownership back? It’s time to turn things up. So often we are told to be humble, to contain ourselves, to be small so that someone else can shine… But, one lesson I have deeply come to terms with is that sharing our gifts gives permission for others to do the same. Sharing our vulnerabilities with others can also encourage others to feel less alone. I am blessed to have influence on the friends around me, and their success, happiness and overcome challenges also encourage me to dare to dream bigger.
But Vicky, what if I fall? Oh my darling, what if you fly?