I took me some weeks to finally write this post because the experience has been both frustrating and embarrassing.
April had been quite a tough month because I was struggling with my work at school and I felt like i just wasn’t getting anything right. In my acting classes we’ve been working on classical french plays (by Racine and Corneille) and we’re having public performances towards the end of June.
In short, I was having a hard time understanding the plays, reading them (think Shakespeare but in french!) and doing exactly what I needed to do to perform well on stage.
I love acting and it’s 100% my main passion, but because I wasn’t able to deliver week after week after week, I became anxious, frustrated, bored and pretty much silent in class. Most days I went into class feeling like an imbecile. And this build up of frustration made me feel annoyed about living in Paris and my overall experience as an exchange student.
The cold weather got me down, the culture, the way of life, the dirty metro, etc. Literally anything and everything around me I looked at with pessimism. I remember telling my friends after the holidays a few weeks back that I was coming back to France filled with regret. Quite dramatic, yes, I know. But this was honestly how I felt.
I spoke to my penpal and a few friends who gave me a lot of perspective. My being in Paris at the top drama school in the country is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m extremely blessed to have made good friends very quickly, be living in a decent place that’s easy to get to, be able to perfect my french quite rapidly, amongst many other incredible things. These conversations with my friends made me realise that I gave up on the work way before I gave it my all. And this realisation has changed everything for me.
I started to wonder what could happen if I truly gave my all to the work. How much progress could I really make in the coming months? What else could I discover about the characters, their world, their relationships and the language the writers use? Instead of taking 1 week to learn my lines what if I tried to do it in 3 days? All these useful suggestions suddenly came to mind.
What I really needed was a different attitude and a little bit of hope. In the last few days I’ve felt a million times better and I think I’m now back to my optimistic self again.
Of course moving abroad isn’t necessarily the easiest thing, and it does take time to adjust and adapt to a new lifestyle. But what’s important here is that I continue to allow myself to change, experience, grow, and that I get rid of all the unrealistic expectations that I held onto for way too long.