Never Stop Dreaming
By Jessica Lowndes
I was a very expressive, somewhat hyper active kid. Singing to strangers in speedos (yes, there's an embarrassing home video) and always living in my own dream world of make believe— from building forts and talking to myself to flipping my imaginary fins like Ariel from The Little Mermaid and dressing my Barbies up to go to the Oscars... I always had to be doing something creative. Chasing boys around during recess was a hobby at the age of 5. Lunch time weddings (with a boy that shall not be named) was the daily routine... until he killed my pet snail that is. I brought Samuel the Snail in for show-n-tell and made him a sexy shoebox home furnished with Barbie furniture... like something out of a catalogue really. The boy that shall not be named thought it would be funny to smash Samuel against a rock one autumn lunch hour. So, needless to say, I ended it on the spot and there were no more wedding ceremonies with him from that day on and for as long as we both shall live. At the age of 6, I was begging my mom for dress up clothes so that I could perform the full production of Lion King, from start to finish, in the pink 80's inspired sponge painted living room. I did the school play thing, did the singing in my bedroom mirror with a hairbrush thing but it wasn't until 5th grade that I truly knew, without a reasonable doubt, I wanted to be a performer and I announced to my folks, "I'm going to live in Hollywood when I grow up”.
5th grade, the same year I was introduced to the Grease soundtrack and got speakers for my discman, I had an incredible school teacher by the name of Mr. Buzza. He was the first teacher that didn't "shh" me in class for talking and he really believed in me. He was going to do everything in his power to give me the confidence to follow my dream and he succeeded. He went as far as making my classroom job the actress/playwright. Every week I would write a play for the class to act out that would tie in a moral lesson that he wanted to teach... He's a big reason I decided to pursue acting.
It got me thinking about having faith in yourself and the future you aspire to have. It also got me thinking about those special people that are brought into your life to push you and encourage you to follow your dreams, no matter how risky or how scary they may be.
After living in LA for the past ten years, I have most definitely learned a thing or two about not giving up. Even on the tough days where I’ve felt like running back home to Vancouver or the not so pleasant days where I’ve found myself crying in my car after an audition or meeting that may not have gone my way, I remind myself why I got into this business in the first place… It’s simple really. It’s my passion and doing what I love makes me so incredibly happy. It just makes sense. Sure, there are moments that have made me think for a second “What am I doing? Why am I doing this?” But then I take a step back and see the big picture. Challenges are just a part of living the dream and I wouldn’t trade those tough days for anything because the not so great days make the really great days worth it! You appreciate them more. I don’t allow myself to be crippled in that negative state of mind because I’ve always been the type of person that when I set my mind to something, I do it, no matter how hard or impossible the task at hand may be. I’ve got to say, there’s also no better feeling than picking yourself up and trying again. That in itself is something to be proud of! It takes a lot of strength and determination to not give up on yourself. We’re our own worst critics. All of that said, I would urge you to follow your heart. For me, following my dreams is what keeps my soul alive. I hope these tips can be an example to you and perhaps a reason why you should follow your heart as well. I hope this helps you and encourages you to keep going.
1. Courage - Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Take risks. Even if it means acting like a complete fool. Risks only bring you more opportunity. Some goals take a lot longer than others to achieve, but that’s what makes it so worth it. Have the strength to dust yourself off, pick yourself up and try again if it doesn’t go the way you plan it the first time around. Never give up. Prove the haters wrong! There is tremendous power in that.
2. Confidence - Believe in yourself. No one is you. That’s your advantage. There’s no one you need to impress but you. After pursuing something you’ve always wanted to do, not only will your friends and family be proud of you but you will be proud of yourself! Your confidence will only sky rocket from there and you’ll enjoy the excitement and joy that comes with following your heart.
3. Compete - Always compete with yourself first and challenge yourself to be the best you can be. Hold yourself accountable and be willing to learn from your mistakes. Stay humble and respect those who are brought into your life to help you succeed in your journey.
4. Conquer - Continue the pursuit of conquering your dreams. Pursue with passion your dreams and give everything you have got to everything you do.