When was the last time you took a risk (big or small), and pushed your own boundaries — socially, professionally, or otherwise? Were you satisfied with the outcome?
I think perhaps the biggest risk I took was when I was going through the audition process for dance / performing arts courses when I was 18.
I’d made a decision that I couldn’t stay in my country town any more. I couldn’t stay there and become another statistic – one of those kids from high school who never leaves and just gets fat and marries somebody else that they don’t particularly like, and has two or three kids, who also grow up to be overweight… but not me. I refused to be like that. Most of my friends decided to have that lifestyle, and good for them, if that’s what made them happy, but not me.
No. I had to go. I didn’t belong in that town. I needed to be in a city. I needed to be channeling my talents into something. Anything, really.
I’d had my heart set on moving to Sydney, and I auditioned for a number of different schools, and it was the most exhausting, emotional and humbling moment of my life. Going to these auditions and being blown away by everybody else’s talent, and realising that I really had no chance. This kid from the country, who had peaked at his dance school back home and couldn’t be taught any more because the skill of my teachers there was so limited. I felt embarrassed to even be there, but as much as I wanted to break down into tears and just walk out, I (surprisingly) made it through multiple rounds of call-backs, often making it to the final round, or being knocked out just before the final round.
I returned home after the week-long ordeal (auditioning for 5 separate schools over 2 weekends) feeling defeated and exhausted. Completely disappointed and second-guessing myself. I had almost completely accepted that I was going to be stuck in the god awful town for another year, but then I found out about a school in Melbourne.
I never really considered melbourne, as I’d only ever been there a couple of times before for dance comps, so I only ever saw the ballroom @ Crown Casino. So I guess that doesn’t actually count.
I made some enquiries, and although audition registration had already passed, I begged and pleaded and they put me on the list. A week or so later I was in a hotel in Melbourne, freaking out, dancing my arse off in this audition.
It wasn’t until the following month I got notification that I had been accepted into the Melbourne school, and was given an info pack.
Suddenly everything became real and in a matter of weeks I would be moving out of home; moving away from my family; moving interstate and beginning my future; embracing my independence. It was exciting and terrifying.
I arrived almost 2 weeks before school commenced, after a big teary farewell at the train station, and then me crying half the way. I turned up at my cousin’s place and wondered what the hell I was doing. It was so sudden, and I felt so rushed, but I never looked back. I went home during term holidays, and that was good, but I always enjoyed returning to Melbourne.
I certainly wouldn’t have had the life I’ve had if I didn’t move here, and I think I’d be a completely different person if I had’ve stayed at home or moved to Sydney.