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If You're Making it Up, Make it Good

Back when I was acting, I learned pretty early on that you never know why you didn't get a role. Maybe your audition sucked or you weren't thin enough.

But maybe you were two inches taller than the man who was already cast. Or you were brunette and they wanted a blonde. Or the role was already tentatively filled by last year's intern. Or you looked too much like the director's ex-girlfriend and that would be too awkward. Or you were the director's ex-girlfriend... You get the point.

The self-talk that happened after an audition (or, I learned later, job interview or date or new mom introduction or what-have-you) could go down two roads -- You Sucked or You Were More Amazing Than They Could Handle.

Because I would never really know why I didn't get a role (and you couldn't go around asking directors why they didn't cast you if you ever wanted to get cast again), my first instinct was to assume that I had given a crappy audition or that I wasn't pretty enough. But over time, I learned about all the roles that are essentially cast before the audition. All the jobs where the internal candidate is going to get it but they have to interview for the position for legal reasons. All the dates where the guy was not interested in getting married ever.

And this taught me a new pathway: if you're going to make it up, make it good. It harms no one for me to think I was too pretty for the role, too qualified for the job, or too funny for the new friend. Sure, it boosts my ego and potentially distorts my view of my capabilities/credentials, but that's only if I really double-down on it as "the truth" (which is utterly unknowable anyway), and that's not likely if I'm using this as a technique to keep self-sabotaging thoughts at bay.

It kept my spirits up, and make persevering possible. And we can all use a little help persevering.

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