This weekend, I learned that I am a 2019 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist. I was among the 25 to make it to the final round of consideration out of an applicant pool of almost 300. So, even though I didn’t actually win the award, learning that I am a Finalist is its own boost of confidence. Because it means that I was seen.
I’ve been applying on and off for this particular grant for about 10 years now. I think in years prior, I applied with a sort of “please notice me” mentality - meek, somewhat apologetic, and really hoping the grant could be something that makes me. But last year, while applying for 2019, I felt different. There was a shift in me. I was no longer applying from a place of lowness, desperately hoping for a launch into the heavens. I was more sure of myself. I knew what I had to offer, and that it was worthwhile for the panelists to consider. And I believe that level of knowing myself helped me write a strong enough application to become a Finalist. I was seen, because I actually believed I was worthy to be seen.
Now, I don’t want to set up a “prosperity gospel” of “If you simply believe it, it will happen!” Over these 10 years, I’ve also worked hard, written lots, made connections, gained skills and momentum. But I am saying that while you’re doing the hard work, if you aren’t fully believing that you’re worthy of it all (and that’s to be read differently than “entitled to it all”), it will bleed out into how you go about seemingly mundane things like grant applications.
Where did my self-assurance come from? Honestly - time. It has taken time to develop and discover both my writing and my identity. To go from apologetically inserting myself into the musical theatre field to proudly claiming my own space within it. Of course, self-doubt persists. It has not been eradicated. But, I’ve learned some life skills to help me sort through those negative feelings and hold myself with kindness. I’m already thinking of how I might update my application for next year. Even if I’m never awarded this particular grant though, I know I’ll be able to carve my own path - the path I need - to be happy.