So, that was fun.
The Théâtre des Variétés is indeed beautiful. Getting ready in the dressing rooms named after Jean Gabin and Louis Jouvet was surreal, and being made up by professional makeup artists right before going on was divine.
But most of all, hearing the applause as we exited after doing a dance number I wasn't confident about in an unflattering costume in front of 900 people after two and a half months of constant criticism from the director was just about the coolest thing ever.
I learned a lot during the whole experience.
I learned that I have the guts, after being cut from every number, to pick up my broken pride and come back with a proposal of my own and survive - triumph, even, in my own way, with a director who tends towards the sadistic. Tada! Take that!
I learned (for the umpteenth time) that some people are two-faced and will double-cross you the minute it's convienent for them to do so.
I learned that some things aren't worth getting all worked up about.
I learned (for the umpteenth time) that I can overcome feeling inadequate, unattractive and rejected, by simply facing those feelings head on, finding reasons why it's not true and forging ahead full speed.
I learned that hard work pays, almost always.
But the most important lesson I learned is that next time I step on stage, I will not do it for approval, support, admiration, glory, validation or recognition. I will do it for the pure exhiliration of being on stage. I will feel secure, glorious, superb, even, whether there are 10 people or 1000, whether anyone thinks I did well or not.
I have been given a secret, you see, by a professor. If, while taking a bow, you repeat in your head "I adore you all," instead of endlessly going over what you think you might have fucked up, or what anybody might think of your performance, it changes the whole focus, and you are free to feel the pure joy of just being there.
I didn't remember to do that Monday night, and it was an awful feeling. Every doubt I had came rushing to the forefront and I was desperately searching for approval.
But next time, I have promised myself, I am using the hell out of that secret.