The Nine Lives of Lorie Langdon
Have you ever noticed there are no do-over’s in life?
One of my favorite TV shows in recent years was The Nine Lives of Chloe King. I use past tense because, to my disappointment, the show was canceled after one season. But in case you haven’t seen the show or read the books, the basic concept is that Chloe wakes up on her sixteenth birthday with cat-like superpowers and nine lives.
That’s right, NINE do-overs! And not the lame kind, either. Chloe doesn’t have to fear death. She can take any risk without paying the ultimate price. But even with this superhuman ability, she still has regrets.
Looking back at my high school years, my regrets are vast. But perhaps not on the level of Miss King, who kisses a boy for the first time and inadvertently kills him, or chooses the sorta cute boy with the caterpillar eyebrows over the blonde Adonis with superpowers and a melting British accent. But painful all the same.
|Alek or Brian. Was there ever any choice?|
In third grade, I entered the district talent show at my enormous inner-city school. I dressed up like Dorothy and sang my heart out. I won second place. It was the most amazing feeling when the audience jumped to their feet with cheers and applause. The next year, I auditioned for the school production of Annie. But my sweet rendition of Tomorrow couldn’t compete with another little girl with a bigger voice, and everyone in my fourth-grade class made sure I knew it. But I didn’t let that defeat keep me down for long. The next year, I scored the lead in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
The summer after my seventh grade year, we moved. And somewhere on that twenty-minute drive from the city to the suburbs, I lost it—my ability to take risks. I worked hard at blending in with the masses, until my sophomore year when I saw an open audition call for The Sound of Music. I’d been singing those songs with my Mom since I could talk, and I’d dreamed of being Liesl almost as long.
For weeks, I practiced Sixteen Going on Seventeen in front of my mirror in anticipation of the big day. I showed up and sat watching the auditions, my confidence sinking a little more with each one. Until I was one of the only people left in the vast auditorium. When the drama teacher made last call and looked me in the eye, I got up and walked out.
I never went to another audition. Even though I was pretty sure I could’ve at least landed a walk-on or chorus part, I couldn’t risk them telling me I wasn’t good enough for a lead role. Like an infectious disease, this new fear of rejection spread to every part of my life, until I became so closed off and fearful that just walking into the school cafeteria gave me heart-palpitations.
Many years later, a frightening illness made me realize our time on this earth is limited and that there are things far worse than a little rejection. So, I put on my big girl panties and jumped into the writing world without a net.
|"I don't need easy. I just need possible."|
These days, I eat risk for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a double helping of rejection on the side. And instead of walking away, I face my fears head on and let them motivate me to stand up against seemingly impossible odds and never give up. Unlike Chloe King, I’ve only got one life to live, and I’m not going to waste it on fear or regrets.
LorieNow it's your turn:
Are you a risk taker? What would you do differently if you had nine lives?