I stand across the snow-smudged street and peer over at the entrance to the Stella Adler Studio of Acting. A group of about twenty twenty-somethings stand at the front. My future peers? I can’t make out faces but I sure as hell can make out huddles and there are definitely huddles. Big huddles, little huddles. Huddles. And as huddles have the tendency to make those not-in the huddle feel a little insecure, unbelonged (yes, i said it) and, let’s face it, a little like a fucking loser, thoughts begin to drown my mind…
Are they in my class? They look young. I don’t want to act with 18 year-olds. I didn’t come here to act with children. Do they know each other? I think they know each other. What if they’re cliquey and they don’t like me? What if I’m shit in this class? Why am I here? Why did I even come to NYC? What am I doing with my life? Why am I alive?
Simple thoughts turn into existential deliberations.
I have fifteen minutes until my Advanced Masterclass with Jon Korkes begins. I have fifteen minutes to come up for air from my thoughts and re-centre myself. Come on, Nisrine. You didn’t come all this way to back out now. This isn’t your first rodeo, girl.
I make my way over to the only place in my immediate vicinity that will be able to give me this sense of grounding – Starbucks. Nothing like globalised consumerism to take away feelings of unbelongingness, am I right?
I get out my journal, write down everything that I’m grateful for – the safe flight to NYC, the jetlag that had not yet arrested me, my family, my warm coat, my moisturised toes – and then I listen to ‘A New Day Has Come’ because Celine can make everything ok. And then, after a cheeky eavesdrop on the break-up happening at the table next me, I muster up the courage and walk over to Stella. She and I have a date, after all. To back out now would be rude.
I approach the huddle.
‘Hi – stutter – are you in the 7.00pm class tonight – stutter?’ / ‘No, we’re here to watch a graduate play but the class is on Level 3 I think. Have fun!’
Audience members. Why, of course.
The huddles only existed in my head. Silly, silly head.
Note to self: if you’re not feeling prangs of self-doubt and insecurity, you’re not growing. Bottom line. The growth, the lesson, the evolution, is on the other side of that struggle. Be patient, allow the insecurity to pass, and wait for it. Wait for the realisation. You cannot have the answer without the question; you cannot have clarity without first having had the murkiness.