Heart thumping, tummy twisting, breath hitching, I walked onto the stage. My palms were clammy with sweat, my eyes held a dazed look, but I held onto the last threads of my confidence knowing it was too late to back down.
I went to conquer, I wouldn’t go home conquered!
I took a deep, not necessarily calming, breath as I moved to the centre of the stage and adjusted my posture, waiting for the curtains to draw.
I heard someone counting down from the sidelines, but I tuned them out as I did every other voice. My eyes were open, but I was looking inside not outside. I couldn’t think, feel, see my surroundings. It wouldn’t be prudent right then. So I held onto why I was there.
I closed my eyes remembering.
Because I had a dream. A dream I had been nurturing and polishing since I was five. Because I had a passion that had pushed me through life and brought me here. Because I had wished and worked for this so long that I couldn’t remember having anything else more important in my life.
Except my mother. My mother who had been all that I had strived for and more. Who was my one and only inspiration, my sole guide, my teacher, my instructor. She was and always will be my world, because she gave hers to me.
I go back to those few times I remember having seen her, talked to her and I remember as clear as the day what she had said during one of our long conversations.
” Carmen, I can see in you my passion, my will to achieve, my thirst to succeed. But I see something more that makes my heart soar.”
“I see in you the power to overcome any challenge, the talent to prove yourself everywhere.”
My innocent mind hadn’t realised the lesson she had taught me then, nor the compliment she had paid, but right then at the stage I wanted nothing more then to prove her belief in me right.
I opened my eyes and the curtain was being raised. I saw the people sitting there, waiting, anticipating, curiosity carved in their expressions. I waited for the fear to strike, the shaking to start. But instead, as the music played, I rose my voice and did that which I had prepared most for.
We do not need to know the details of the play, nor the particulars of my dialogue, but I can say it with utter humility, I was loved and applauded that night in a way that has kept me going on, kept me making my way as an actress.
It might have been the end of my first performance, but it was just the beginning of my whole career.
And every time I hear the curtain call, I send a little prayer for my daring mother and a thank you to those who helped me get to where I am, teaching me your dreams can come true!
Performing is an art and I, Carmen Palitza, love it!
P.S. This is not a true story.