Last week my 13 year old son had an school audition for the spring musical Annie. He signed up two weeks prior. The night before the audition he was looking for the song online. I asked him what he was doing. When he explained the audition was 'tomorrow' and needed to learn the song, I was livid. Now I am not the get mad, yelling type of mom. I usually keep my cool even under the most annoying and rebellious of situations. But this really ticked me off. I took the usual tack of how did he expect to get a part if he was just learning the song the night before. I decided to let that sit with him, and let him practice but warned him he was to audition for his dad and myself before dinner.
Dinner comes. Dinner goes. Time to audition for mom and dad. He begins to sing, makes it through the song. My husband begins to critique. His criticism wasn't harsh, but he was honest and pointed. My son gave some lame excuses, and pushed back on why he thought he was 'trying' and we didn't get it. Deep breath.
Ok, now, do you think that an artist mom who has spent 20 years struggling and paying dues is going to listen to even the tiniest bit of whining? No. No, my son didn't realize that sympathy was the last thing on my mind. Without boring you with the details it will suffice to say that he got the lecture of lectures on what 'trying' really means. I told him he would practice until he went to bed, he would audition tomorrow and he would do the best job he can. There is no half-way. Two hours later he sang for us again, and low and behold it sounded 'alright'. Not great, but decent. The next day he auditioned, and two days later he was given the role of President Roosevelt and will sing 'Tomorrow' with Annie.
The point to be taken from this is simple. In any endeavor you work towards, you owe it to yourself to give it your very best. As an artist who is constantly fighting to be seen, fighting to sell that piece of art, fighting to keep creating when any reasonable soul would question why, I realize that the reason we don't stop is because we most certainly have failed if we don't fight though it. I know when I go to sleep, I will have tried, really tried, and any successes I achieve I own completely.
Never give up, never stop trying.