Follow the heat.
Run like your life depends upon it.
But don’t get cocky.
There’s always going to be somebody better, but strive to be the best.
Follow your dreams.
If your tired of giving up, stop quitting and make your dreams come true.
Shoot for the moon, miss and at least you’ll fall among the stars.
Self-talk can only get you so far. Outcome requires action. Taylor Swift didn’t just make it big letting teardrops fall on her guitar. She became the showrunner of her own dreams.
I’ve always been a big dreamer, plunking dimes in a glass shaped like the Eiffel Tower (only dimes would fit). Dimes for Paris. I did finally visit Paris, but on someone else’s dime, chaperoning a student trip.
As a little girl, I dreamt of dancing, of performing on the stage. Maybe i was propelled by lack of sleep or by part-time temp jobs, or a lack of self-awareness. Maybe it was the post-college real world slump, but I finally made up my mind to become a star. For the first time since I’d walked the stage, diploma for degree, I knew what I wanted to do. I applied for a musical theater masters program in London. It was my destiny. I had a little skill, pizzazz, enough energy to tackle the task, enough hope to hold me, faith to move mountains, and a pair of jazz shoes barely worn.
I memorized Titania’s speech from Midsummer Night’s Dream, made a costume, found a stage, begged a pianist friend to accompany me for my repertoire of showtunes, and hired a videographer for my audition.
Even though everything went wrong, my hope was unshattered. I was Matthew McConnaughey in my mind – giving an Oscar speech about how my best role model was me in ten years. I tapped a cane and a top hat on a chair and walked around it in perfectly measured strides. I exploded forth, all energy toward the camera and it’s intended audience.
Those Dame Judy Dench types who would watch this tape could determine my fate, my future was a plotted perfect stage-dwelling life in a land of Union Jacks and Royal Weddings, of tea and crumpets, cricket and shillings. I’d sail away to find independence, fun, and fame. I had a plan.
The rejection letter was curt and quick. It lacked exposition and answers. Just sorry, but no. It was at least polite. What else could it be if it was from Britain. I’d laid my fortunes at the foot of one dream and…it didn’t pan out. I’d shot the moon…
Somehow I knew it was what I was supposed to do. How could I know then that ten years later would mark a decade in the classroom? I daily take the stage in front of waiting faces, deliver my practices and improvised speeches, working fast on my feet, choreographing curriculum, and singing my way through each day of ninth grade English.
Perhaps Shakespeare was right when he said, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”
STEPHANIE PLATTER is a teacher, writer, film critic, and coffee lover who misses the stage but relishes the theater of life. Joie de vivre and my love to all! Thank you for reading, and happy summer (especially you, fellow teachers!).