N.Y. Actors, Do You Feel Like No One Knows Your Struggle?

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Photo Source: Raquel Aparicio

I know it feels like you’ve been here forever.

I know your bank account is dwindling and your friends are buying you dinner.

I know you use the money your parents slip into your birthday and holiday cards to pay your bills.

I know you will eat one and a half meals a day for a week because you purchased tickets to the best-reviewed play of the season.

I know you are exhausted from working a day job you most likely hate. I know that hate is ultimately stealing energy from the focus you must summon to prepare for the ever-so-rare moment you actually have an audition.

I know everyone tells you you’re amazing. I know everyone tells you you’re a star.

I know the longer you continue to struggle in the pursuit of your dreams, the more you start to doubt whether anyone is really being honest with you. I know, in turn, you question whether you are really being honest with yourself.

I know you sit in steely darkness in the last row of the theater at a production you’ve “second acted.” I know, even from that distance, you can feel the warmth of the light coming from the stage. I know you leave the theater after the performance is over, questioning the praise for work that seems inferior to the impossibly high standards you’ve manufactured over the years. I know you do this to yourself out of a desperate attempt to reconcile your own lack of work.

READ: 7 Rules to Improve Your Acting (and Your Life)

I know you weep when you see work that rises above it all.

I know you would quit if you could, but there is nothing else in the world you could ever think of doing. I know you won’t quit, because you would regret not knowing what could’ve happened if you had just stuck around a little longer.

I also know overnight success isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I know the easy path results in work that only scratches the surface. I know doing theater downtown for $25 a week means you care about your craft. I know struggle is what creates great art. I know questioning elevates instinct. I know instinct is your guide. I know people are paying attention even though you think they are not, your reputation will precede you, and that work begets work. I know true success is earned, and the moment that ever-elusive “door” swings open, you will be prepared. I know that if you are not prepared, you will have the awareness to admit it and get the help you need. I know you will evolve in directions you never knew existed. I know you will grow far beyond the subconscious limits you’ve put upon yourself. I know you’ll stop comparing yourself to everyone else. I know that eventually you will realize the immense value of your journey.

I know one day an entire theater will laugh in unison every night because you turn your head at just the right moment. I know someday you will elicit shouts of bravo when your character exits the stage.

I know a time will come when the work you find yourself doing is everything you never knew you wanted.

I know.

Steele is currently turning heads on Broadway as Anatole in “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.”

Check out our Broadway audition listings! It’s part of the journey.