Proud2Bme | Lights, Camera, Panic?

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Lights, Camera, Panic?

By Amanda Connerton--Picture this: your alarm goes off at 4am on a Saturday. You don’t even have to take the covers off to know that it’s going to be a frigid January day, and you would rather do anything than leave the cocoon of blankets that suddenly feels perfectly molded to your sleepy position. When you look out the window, there’s already a four inch quilt of snow on the ground and it continues to build with each flake.

You let out a long moan and manage to pull yourself out of bed. You only got about two hours of sleep because you were wide awake with anticipation for the day to come. Half an hour later, your dad knocks on your door and says “Let’s go, we’ve gotta catch the train.” You have a two hour train ride into New York City, a check-in time of 7am, and 30 seconds to prove that you deserve to have your dream become a reality.

But here’s the thing: in between your cab ride to the venue and your 30 seconds in the spotlight, you have a four hour waiting period to let the nerves, self-consciousness, and self-doubt sink in. Oh, and you have to deal with that while also being surrounded by 1,000 other people who are there for the exact same reason you are.

This Saturday, I did something I never expected to do: I auditioned for the hit television show “The Voice.” Yes. Blake Shelton, Pharell Williams, Adam Levine, and Christina Aguilera; that’s the one. Though the judges weren’t at this audition site, you can imagine the anxiety of performing in front of professional producers and a bunch of people you’ve never met (people who happen to be your competition). To say I was nervous would be an understatement. What made my pre-performance jitters a little worse was the fact that I also have a history of anxiety, body dysmorphia, and bulimia, so putting myself in front of hundreds and hundreds of talented, beautiful, and eclectic people was sort of like lighting a match over a gasoline puddle.

In the few months leading up to my audition my focus was on two things: what was I going to sing and what was I going to wear? I answered my first question with a few weeks to spare: “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5. However, at 4:22 am on Saturday morning, I found myself staring in my closet just thinking “shit.” Yes, I was auditioning for a singing competition, but let’s face it: society has proved time and time again that appearance matters. So I settled on an outfit and hoped it wouldn’t send me into a panic. Of course, I was nervous and self-conscious.

In the back of my mind, I kept thinking “I don’t have the look,” and “I shouldn’t have worn this.” Truth be told, those thoughts could easily destroy me. But I decided not to let them. In the four hour wait for my audition, I put on my headphones and tuned out the competition and those self-deprecating thoughts. I was there for a reason and that reason had nothing to do with my body, my clothes, or the people sitting on either side of me. I was there because I love to sing.

Not everyone is going to audition for a big television show and that’s okay. What I took away from my experience however was that no matter what you do, keep it in perspective. There are always going to be nerves, self-doubt, and other people who may be standing in your way. But if you focus on what you want and what you’re willing to work for, none of those things will even matter. Comparison is the thief of joy, so focus on you and you’ll find all the strength you need.

About this blogger: Amanda is a recent graduate from the University of Rhode Island. She majored in Psychology and is an aspiring Forensic Psychologist. Amanda hopes to work in the legal system assessing criminals and researching the minds of serial killers. She spends most of her free time singing, writing music, playing guitar, running, and wishing she had a puppy. 

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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