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Photo by Kelsey Schork

Let’s get real. We’ve all wanted something that someone else has and sometimes, wished we were someone else entirely. We’ve all felt intimidated, insecure, and small around someone who exudes “greatness.” Daily, we stack ourselves up against our neighbors, friends, competitors, and even random strangers, in hopes that we’re landing closer to the top of the food chain. Comparing ourselves to others is so common and frequent that often we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

Comparison can be a killer. It is a thief in the night that will rob your confidence from you when you least expect it. …


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You know when you walk into an audition or class and you’re undoubtedly surrounded by “perfection?” The dread that courses through your veins, hoping you’ll blend into the fold and not be so recognizably different?

That was me, 12, at ballet camp. I was going through some uncomfortable phases of “becoming a woman.” My thighs were growing at a rapid pace and I was not getting any taller.

I could only imagine what the other girls were thinking: “Who invited the Italian sausage to class?”

I laugh now about the certainty I had about this subtext. I may have been right. Maybe not. Either way, all of them were thinner, prettier and more comfortable than me. That was what I envied the most — the comfort. Whenever I would come home from a long day of dancing I would look in the mirror to see if my thighs had shrunk. …


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As I was about to finish my graduate work, I had a director say to me — “Whatever you do, DON’T go into teaching. Don’t sell out on your performing abilities. Don’t sell out, Jenna.”

DON’T. SELL. OUT.

Artists of all genres hear this expression“selling out” so frequently and because most artists are mainly in this circus for the passion of it, (it is certainly not the money) that sentiment strikes a particular fear in us.

Her voice echoed in my mind for weeks. I couldn’t help but believe that she thought I was a sellout. Not bold enough to fulfill my truest passion or what she thought it should be, not brave enough to scratch and claw for that performing spot in a big city, and that somehow, I would be taking the “easy” way out of the arts by going into a career in education. …

About

Jenna Del Monte

Artist, Educator, and Optimist. Clinical Assistant Professor at the University at Buffalo.

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