Clayton said something the other day that really took me by surprise and made me pause. We were talking about a project he was short listed for and a callback that he had been preparing for for the past 3 weeks. It was going to be last Friday but got bumped. I suggested to him to say a prayer about it. He said “No, I’m not going to I don’t want to jinx it”. I told him praying doesn’t jinx things. He said “Mom, every time I work hard and really want something to happen and pray about it, it doesn’t happen”. This instantly made me sad- that he associates praying and seeking support from God with being a jinx, “bad luck” and negativity. Determined to prove him wrong, I told him I’d say prayers- I know he could play this role in his sleep he’s been preparing for so long, they will of course love him.
I realize it may seem silly to some to pray for something like this. And you don’t have to tell me that there are far greater prayers going out… especially during times like these. I get it.
But I don’t think that makes any prayer less significant than another. And when the hard work and investment put into roles feels really important to this 8 year old, it’s worth some prayers.
So when I encourage him to pray for comfort and Gods will, it makes me really sad that he doesn’t find that in prayer and actually feels the opposite. How do you teach a child that even when you give something 110% and pray to God for it to happen and it doesn’t, time and time again, that it’s not the praying or God that is at fault. That we don’t get to blame things on God.
This is a hard lesson. And to be honest I don’t know the right answer because even as an adult I have fallen to my knees and questioned “why Lord?”
And now yesterday, I was told the callback he’s been preparing for, for nearly a month, cut him- to save time with shutdowns and filming right around the corner. So when he said to me: “please don’t pray anymore mom you’re going to jinx it” …what do I say now?
This is like a punch to the gut. I literally feel nauseas and starved for air.
These are the days that I hide in a closet and scream and cry because I know I’m about to break my child’s heart…again and when I do I will have to be strong for him, encouraging and most importantly positive.
I have to tell him how amazing he is and how some kids don’t ever even get a single callback let alone as close as he has come. I have to talk about all the maybes- like maybe they wanted an older or younger kid or Maybe they wanted a quirkier kid or one with freckles or a southern accent. Maybe the kid who got the part has been doing this for years and never booked anything and this is his big pop. I have to tell him we should feel happy for the boy who got the role because he’s been working really hard too.
I have to tell him how wrong he is when he says he feels like he’s not good enough and he is never going to book anything and hug him while he cries.
Then there are days like this one when I just don’t say anything and hope enough time goes by that he will forget about it.
Clayton feels every emotion so deeply. He doesn’t let anything role off his shoulders easily.
I don’t have all the answers, hell, I don’t know that I have any answers- especially when it comes to the right way to handle so many disappointments. I’m sure that replying to agents and mangers and saying wtf?! and telling them how pissed off I am is probably not the appropriate response, and I’m sure they’re thinking I’m a loon at this point but I AM pissed that production doesn’t care about kid’s feelings and that’s considered “business as usual” especially in times like these when maybe these kids are already feeling stressed and scared and could use something like acting to take their mind off things instead of make them feel worse. I AM tired of breaking my kids heart. I AM terrified that no matter how much my child loves everything to do with acting and being on set he will choose to leave the industry before getting his big break because he’s tired of working his butt off and ending up in tears, and…that he’ll end up regretting it.
I don’t claim to know much about this industry. Every day and every experience is new to me. I try to be open and absorb as much knowledge as I can. I do know it’s hard AF in every imaginable way. And I know people think my kids not an actor because he hasn’t booked anything- I see the eye rolls, I hear the scoffs and I feel how our friendship has changed because of the jealousy. Regardless of what anyone thinks- He is an actor. He proves it every day. This is what the acting journey is. And I don’t say any of this because we aren’t extremely thankful for all of these opportunities and people on our team, because we are. We are so incredibly thankful. I say all of this because this industry is so overly glamorized. The allure of being an actor or model is based on an illusion…that you just book a movie and are famous over night. It doesn’t work like that. Sorry. And as I’ve promised all along, I have no intention of sugar coating what this experience is for us, and for others- whether it’s what they’re posting or not