I was mortified. I felt rejected. Well, maybe not rejected, but I certainly wasn’t accepted. It’s more than a little embarrassing. I felt embarrassed, even though no one knew. I suppose I could just shut up and pretend it never happened. I knew a woman, years ago, who was doing an MBA with UNISA. I saw her doing spreadsheets and who knows what homework when we were on a lecture circuit. I’m being grandiose. It wasn’t a lecture circuit. It was a Women’s Workshop circuit for a women’s magazine. I was one of the speakers. Nonetheless, she was doing the MBA. She talked about the fact that she was doing the MBA. Then one day she announced that she had been accepted on an MBA programme at an illustrious university in another country. I said, “Aren’t you already doing an MBA with UNISA”?, and she said “NO”. I left it there. If she wanted to blot out UNISA and install something more illustrious who was I to stand in her way? So in that spirit, maybe I can just blot out the fact that I applied and went to an interview to do, not an MBA, not just a course, but a Social Entrepreneurship Programme that I need and that I know will be more than useful in helping me reach my goal, and I wasn’t accepted. I could pretend it never happened. Mortified!
As an actress you face rejection all the time. When I went to audition for my very first part many years ago I had a chat with the director. He said he liked my voice. He asked me about my past, where I went to school etcetera, then told me, “Thank you”. I hadn’t done anything. I’d prepared an audition piece, but I hadn’t performed it. I pointed this out. He said, “You’re just not who we’re looking for”. That was that. They knew what they wanted for the part, and I didn’t fit the bill. I’ve been through a lot of that over the years. I stopped taking it personally very quickly. If you take it personally you end up a substance abuser with self-esteem issues. It’ll destroy your spirit.
So why am I feeling like taking this personally? Is it because it’s academia? Is it because I care so much about what I want to do, and it scares me that I don’t’ know enough? And if they don’t think me worth teaching, who will? What the hell, right? Buy a book and read it. I could educate myself. But, that really is the hard way. If I don’t know what I don’t know, how am I going to know what to read? I so really, and totally truely want to go to GIBS, do the SECP course and learn. That’s what I want. It’s been over a week since the interview. They said they’d inform us within a week. I guess they only inform the ones who have been accepted.
There are only 50 places. Maybe I was 51 on their list. Maybe I didn’t even make the list. I feel crushed. My vanity is bruised. I think I’m intelligent. I thought I was. I speak well. I’m passionate about what I want to do. I’m doing it without the knowledge. I’m guessing my way through and I’m managing, I suppose. But I don’t want to guess my way through. I want to have the security of knowing that I know what I’m doing. I want to be as sure as I am in a theatre or in a TV studio, or on a film set. In that arena I know exactly what I’m supposed to do, what’s going on and what’s supposed to happen. In that arena I’m not confused at all.
I know some very wise and knowledgeable people. I guess I’ll be buying them lunch, or tea and picking their brains. In my experience people don’t mind their brains being picked.
And so my dejected little soul continued. ‘Cheer up, you’ll be fine. Just keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll figure it out’. I told myself. I was sure I would figure it out. I do figure things out, but I was disappointed in myself. I felt that I’d failed. It’s one thing to fail the course, but to fail to even get on the course. That, to me, was failure. Then I got the email.
“ It is my pleasure to inform you that your application has been successful and you have been accepted to be part of the SECP 2014 delegation.”
I read that sentence six or seven time. I was so excited that I almost screamed. Accepted. I jumped up from my seat in front of the computer and did a little dance and then I pressed my hands together and said a little prayer of thanks, and I apologised for being impatient and having no faith in myself, or God. Only the night before I’d told God, ‘I prayed for this. How could you not give me this? If you have another plan for me I hope it’s better than this, but I don’t want another plan, I want this’. I’d run through my interview in my mind and chastised myself for being too chatty, not academic enough, not intelligent sounding enough, not demure enough, simply not enough. Why did I tell them that anecdote about the event co-ordinator woman? How could I be so inappropriate? How could I be so stupid? And the self-flagellation went on. But now I had the email. “It is my pleasure to inform you….”. And it is my pleasure to be informed.
The last time I was this excited about school it was when I was accepted into Drama School. I’d auditioned at RADA. They didn’t want me. I’d auditioned at several other schools and none of them wanted me. I was miserable. They were awful auditions. You went in to a room where a panel of actoours and teachers sat. You gave your name. They looked at a piece of paper and ticked you off. Then, they said, “When you’re ready,” and that was your cue to be angst ridden, or tearful, or uber cheerful, or whatever your character was for two minutes. It was horrible. You needed three years of Drama School training just to be equipped to handle the Drama School audition. Then there was the ALRA audition. The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts situated in the most awesome Gothic style, nineteenth century, ‘Royal Victoria Patriotic Building’ in South West London.
The building itself was a drama.
The ALRA audition was different. It was a day of classes. There were script reading classes, acting classes, dance classes, voice classes, singing classes, even a fencing class. The classes were such fun and they were an opportunity, not to show how well you could perform a monologue, but to show your overall potential. ALRA accepted me and the rest is history. I loved Drama School. I’ve loved being an actress.
So now I am accepted on the Social Entrepreneurship Certificate Programme 2014 at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria. It’s a year of learning. I’m so highly delighted I could burst.
It’s the beginning of – The Life of Tselane. Part II.