When I was in middle school I auditioned for drum major for the marching band. Man did I want that role. I even took it as far as screaming at the top of my lungs for everyone to ‘shut up’ when we were told to quickly & quietly get back into our seats. I'm sure anyone who was in the group could tell you my scream was deafening.
While the volume of my lungs was quite impressive the role of drum major was awarded to a much more musically talented individual. She deserved the role, most definitely, but had you asked me back then I would have told you the whole thing was rigged.
A few months later I proudly got up on stage & belted out the Happy Birthday song in an audition for the middle school's production of Peter Pan. I was sure I would land some kind of role, I had a pretty decent voice. I was right, I did land a role...in the chorus as one of the lost boys. There was nothing wrong with being a lost boy, it was what was said to me by the music teacher before I learned my role that broke me. She mentioned she thought I was a bit chubby & would make a cute lost boy. That's just not something you say to a middle-schooler.
Anyways, I never auditioned for anything again. Those two auditions broke me.
After my freshman year of high school, I walked away from band returning my clarinet to the rental shop & never looking back, but I couldn't give up chorus. I loved singing too much, I still do, but I never auditioned for any of the elite groups. I was too afraid of failing, of receiving another rejection.
As I've gotten older, my give a damn has dropped substantially. I'll try something not caring whether or not I fail, at least I can say I tried. I mean, I'm not going out to any American Idol auditions or sending my painted rocks to the Albright-Knox Art Museum, but I am painting which is something I never saw myself doing, and I sing freely in the car and shower, sometimes so loud my daughter puts her hand over my mouth and tells me to "stop."
I'm sure part of all this is a phase that everyone goes through when they transition from adolescence to adulthood, but I have to say letting my "I do not give a damn" flag fly is really kind of satisfying. It's not to say I don't care at all, I do, my social anxiety definitely kicks in at times, but I'm a lot more willing to put myself out there and try something new or attempt a hobby I otherwise may have avoided. The idea of rejection doesn't petrify me as much as it once did. Does it sting, absolutely, but the next adventure might be a 'yes' & you won't know unless you try