Year 1: Crossing the Comfort Zone

"It's only after you've stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform." ―Roy T. Bennett

I’ve always been jealous of those who are so naturally confident in their own skin. In most cases that I’ve seen, it takes time and effort to find who you are and to become comfortable with that. We all tend to stay inside our little boxes of what we know and never want to overstep our comfort zone, afraid of being judged or misunderstood.

At least, that’s who I was—young, timid, and afraid of the boundary of my comfort zone. The summer before freshman year, I walked into Lochwood Academy for musical theater camp with no idea of what to expect, anticipation in my stomach. I loved to act and hadn’t had much opportunity to do so until I found out about the studio, where I was immediately drawn to sign up for camp.

On this day, however, I was caught off-guard when one of the first things we were asked to do was “audition” publicly for our roles in Peter Pan, the show we would be performing. This required singing in front of everyone, an area in which I always felt very insecure. Mr. Pietro Cortelli, our director, was immediately likable and very patient, but I still struggled through my audition and was close to tears from fright.

Surprisingly, I was cast for the role of Wendy. I was very excited, but also dreading the fact that I would be required to sing constantly, offstage and on. Every day, rehearsal was nerve wracking for me because I felt less experienced and more insecure than everyone else there. I learned to confide in Mr. Cortelli, who constantly pushed and pep-talked me into stepping out of my comfort zone and performing to the max extent of my talent. He never stopped encouraging me and giving me advice on how to improve, and the other teachers at Lochwood also took time out of their busy schedules to train me and offer advice of their own.

Over time I became more relaxed, but it definitely was NOT easy to perform on the last day of camp. I was honestly terrified and struggled with nerves for hours. After one more talk with Mr. Cortelli, I took my position onstage with butterflies in my stomach. It was unexpected when I found that, by the time I performed my first song, I was so much into character that I forgot how afraid I was. I acted and sang to the best of my ability, and our show went without a hitch.

I went home that day feeling practiced and accomplished. In the span of two weeks, I had improved greatly and was much more comfortable with performing and, ultimately, with myself. I began taking lessons that school year, hopeful and so much more confident then I had ever been. I had crossed the boundary of my comfort zone, and I didn't regret it for a second.

Author: Kirstan D.

Look forward to Part 2 this coming Monday!