When I was at Uni and pondering some offers my favourite prof (my acting prof) sat down with me over a cup of earl grey and laid the land out before me. “You see Emily, you need to decide what size fish you want to be and in what size pond.” I think, back then, most people would have put money on me wanting to be a big fish in a little pond but four years later when I upped sticks & moved to London I was probably the most surprised to learn I loved being a little tiny fish in a (very) big pond.
This has been on my mind a lot lately for oh so many reasons. On the personal front I’ve just moved to Nappy Valley where every mum drops their kids off at nursery looking like they just stepped out of the Boden catalogue or a Vodaphone advert. And on a professional level I’m trying to work my way back into a side of an industry I’ve had a break from for between six – ten years. The things I need to sort out – headshots, memberships, classes, representation - are all familiar but also different with the gift of time and hindsight. I’ve changed. The industry’s changed. We kinda need to figure each other out again. And so there’s uncertainty and fear but also an understanding of what it all means to my/our LIFE which makes me think that if I wasn’t scared I wouldn’t be taking it seriously.
And those perfect mums? I’m not competing. In fact I drop Maisie off in sweats and shabby workout gear because I leave her to go straight to my training sessions. I’m doing something for me. Which is far more important than looking nice for other mums who probably feel insecure about themselves.
I can’t explain why but being a small fish in a big pond makes me very happy but it does. I can make mistakes, I can be silly, I can feel unsure and I can look like shit at 9am in the morning without feeling self conscious or like I’m being judged. Sure, those mums might be judging – I don’t stick around long enough to find out, but also, it doesn’t matter if they think I’m stylish or pretty because right now I’m being more true to myself than I have been in years and the road to authenticity hasn’t/isn’t an easy one.
This little fishy likes it’s big pond sure enough.