Paul Walker, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ray Liotta, Val Kilmer, Russell Crowe, Kiefer Sutherland, Kurt Russell, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Robert Downey, Jr., Jason Statham, Jet Li, Ed Harris, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Edward Burns, Donal Logue, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Penn, Sean Penn, River Phoenix, Joaquin Phoenix, Patrick Swayze, Heath Ledger, David Carradine, Kevin Spacey, Dennis Quaid, Christian Slater, Anthony LaPaglia, Anthony Michael Hall, Oded Fehr, Nicolas Cage, James Spader, Keanu Reeves, Ashton Kutcher, Jay Mohr, Dane Cook, Michael Biehn, John Cusack, Eric Roberts, Denzel Washington, Aidan Quinn, James Remar, Ryan Phillippe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Timothy Olyphant, Ewan McGregor, Gary Sinise, and Terrence Howard. Could we become as great as them?
I felt so alive as a child. Nothing could hold me back. The world was my oyster, and I was to be its pearl. I wanted to roam, tear loose, and run to the hills with my arms in the air. I wanted to fly. I wanted to live, but that childhood was left behind, parked beside a bench on Merrick Road.
I tried to get it back. I stood on the stage. A heavy, red curtain held me up. Spotlights stung my eyes. I waited, nervous. My name was called. This was it. My turn to shine. I was wrong. She asked my name because it rang a bell. She had my brother a couple of years before my arrival, and I was to pay for all the wrong that he had done to her. And once I confirmed that I was his sister, she sent me away, off the stage, and destroyed my dreams of acting, but she set the stage for the hardships of high school to come.
But I still tried to fly. I needed to escape my world. I was drowning fast, and I had to hold on. I found sanctuary in music, reading, and I crawled through each passing day. Then, I saw the flyer. It was a Lip Sync, and I knew that I had to do it. I lost two years of dreams because of her wrath. I wanted the stage, and I wanted them to see the real me. Then, I would return back into the shell of a quiet girl lost to daydreams, so I faded like a flower, melted into the heart and soul of Roxette. And for those brief moments, I was finally free.
I got a taste. This was the dream burning inside my heart, but she refused to let me in. The doors of theatre would remain closed until community college, but by then, I barely knew who I was. I returned to the stage a few more times, alone but strong, and I held onto that freedom, lifting my wings to the stars above. But in the end, I had to let go.
As the years passed on, I lost myself. Trials that I faced tore me down, shattered my heart, and left their scars behind. I pieced myself back together again but only to repeat this vicious cycle. I was falling down into nothing, and this is where I would have stayed, if my grandmother, may she rest in peace, never saved my life. And two years after my high school graduation, I slowly began to find myself, if only briefly.
I felt alive again. The camera burned in my hand with intensity, and my mind spun a reel of imagination. The college kids before me were ready for their close up, and the scene was set. And I was ready to shoot. Lights, action, and camera. I found another dream, and this one stayed a little longer than those before it. And I was finally happy, but then it was time to move on again. And again, I fell into nothing.
If only I could go back, I would do my life over in a heartbeat. The men that tore me down would have been denied. The bullies would have been silenced. The stage would have been mine. I can't go back. I can wish to a thousand times, but that won't change my life. But I realize now that my life is far from over, but how do I find who I once was? How do I bring her back?
The room was small. Soft fans curled around the air. His voice settled across those parked in metal chairs. His lessons would open the doors denied to me a long time ago, but could I walk through them now? He is molding us into the beginning stages of acting, and the fledglings beside me take flight. But I remain sitting.
He tells me to let go. He says to stop thinking. My mind is fast and furious, and I can't find the brake. But I can reach the clearing, touch clarity, and silence those thoughts, but then I step back into that hailstorm. And my mind whirls back and forth between then and now, and I try to hold onto her. But she slips through my hand, and I remain in a shell left hard from all those dark years now left behind me. Who the hell am I?
Acting will be coming to an end soon. Did I learn anything? He was a good teacher. There is no doubt about that, and I can see a crack in those doors. My foot is ready to slide in place, keep them open, but could I walk through? I'm afraid. I'm afraid to let go. I learned a long time ago to not be vulnerable. The vultures are circling, and they can smell blood. And they will descend, so I became stone. My emotions rest in a twitch of a smile or blink of an eye, and I hardly laugh out loud. I've become the oyster, burying down the pearl, and drifting across a body of ocean. My wings are gone, and dreams hang like decoration upon the stars. Only the pen in hand sets me free, giving my soul voice, and in writing, I finally feel. But am I still alive?
The doors to my past are closed. The windows to my future remain fogged. I'm standing at another crossroads, debating which way to go. I wanted to do this class. I wanted to know if she was still there, and she is. She is waiting for me to wake up. She is waiting for me to hold onto her and never to let her go like I've done so many times before. Am I ready? I don't know, but I can't go back now. I can't bury myself down in this ordinary life, but can I fly? Or will I crash down? I don't know, but I know I have to try. I always wanted this, and I drink in the talent of those shining before me across the screen. But can I be like them? Can I be as great as them? I don't know, but I know I have to try. Otherwise, why ignite a dream only to burn yourself with regret in the end?