Angela was a top student whose parents put academics above everything else. But after her father found a worrying tape in her room, her family was finally introduced to a different side of her.
Angela was a straight-A high school student. She came from a long line of highly intelligent professors and scientists, so there was always pressure on her to carry on the family mantle.
She worked tirelessly to achieve good grades so as not to spoil the reputation of her family lineage. She excelled in her academics and attended several Olympiads.
Angela was excelling, but her heart was never in science or mathematics like her parents and grandparents. At heart, Angela was an artist and had always dreamed of pursuing a career in acting in the future.
However, her parents did not support this dream. She had tried several times to persuade her parents to let her pick up theatre, they thought it was a temporary hobby she would grow out of. In their eyes, it would be a waste of their daughter’s time and her real talent, so they would not go for it.
“Your mother is a chemist, your father is a mathematician, and your grandparents were professors of applied sciences. You have the step of a scientist, not an actress. You will not succeed as an actress, Angela. It’s better you study and don’t waste your time on nonsense!” her parents told her.
One day, Angela’s mother, Lisa, and her father, Abe, were sitting at the dinner table preparing for dinner. They called Angela several times to join them, but she wasn’t responding. Her father eventually decided to go check on her in her room.
Abe walked into Angela’s room to a sight that almost brought him to tears. He saw his daughter in tears, recording an audio tape at her desk. Angela appeared to be in deep distress.
“Angela, are you all right?” Abe asked with sincere concern.
Caught off guard by her father’s sudden presence, Angela quickly wiped away her tears and simply responded, “Yes, yes. Everything is fine, Dad.” She then abruptly got up and ran downstairs.
Later, Abe explained what he had seen to his wife. They were both perplexed and worried about Angela.
“Why wouldn’t our baby girl feel comfortable telling us if she was going through something? Abe, what are we going to do?” Lisa said, almost in tears.
“Don’t worry, darling. We’ll get to the bottom of this. Whatever is going on, the truth is in that tape she was recording,” Abe assured his wife.
The next day, after dropping his wife at work and his daughter at school, Abe decided he would use the hour before work to further investigate his daughter’s situation.
“Please stop. Please, guys. I just want to go to class,” Angela cried.
Abe went into Angela’s room, looking for the tapes. They were safely hidden, but he turned the room upside down until he finally found them. He started to go through the tapes, and what he came across left him unnerved and heartbroken.
“I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t! Why me? Why must I suffer in secret? Why does everybody else have a right to make me feel like I’m less? Even if I told my parents or teachers that I’m constantly being bullied, it would only make things worse!” a troubled Angela wept on the tape recordings.
Abe couldn’t believe what he was hearing. His daughter was being bullied at school, and he had no clue this was happening. “I was so concerned with her academics that I never stopped to consider her relationships and social life. My poor baby girl. Those scoundrels need to be taught a lesson!” a raging Abe thought.
Abe called work, explained that he would be late, then headed straight to Angela’s school. When he got to the school reception, enquiring about his daughter, the receptionist told him she was in the assembly hall.
When Abe got to the empty hall, he saw Angela on stage with four boys around her, spewing insults at her and pulling her hair.
“Where do you think you’re going, huh?” one boy said.
“Nerd!” another said.
“Please stop. Please, guys. I just want to go to class,” Angela cried.
“Aye! You stop that right now!” Abe barked furiously, rushing towards the stage. Before Angela could even say anything, Abe grabbed two boys by the ears, intending to drag them all the way to the principal’s office.
“You two better follow me if you know what’s good for you!” Abe yelled at the two other boys.
“I wanted to. I really did. It’s just that you and mom have never been supportive of my passion for drama.”
“Excuse me, sir! What do you think you’re doing? Leave those children alone, now!” Miss Crawford, the drama teacher, said from the front row of the hall.
“What?” Abe asked, completely confused. He hadn’t noticed Miss Crawford there the whole time.
“Please, calm down, sir,” Miss Crawford insisted.
Once Abe had finally calmed down, Miss Crawford and Angela explained to Abe that what he had walked into was a rehearsal for an upcoming play on bullying. Miss Crawford explained that Angela was playing the lead role and was an incredible actress.
“So, when I walked into you crying with the tape… was that all part of the play as well?” Abe asked his daughter, trying to make sense of everything.
“Yes, that was all part of a task Miss Crawford had given us for the play. I was in character,” Angela explained.
“I feel like such an idiot. Why wouldn’t you tell me any of this, Angela?” Abe asked, dishearted.
“I wanted to. I really did. It’s just that you and mom have never been supportive of my passion for drama. I really wanted to do this play, and I was afraid you guys wouldn’t let me. So, I kept it a secret,” Angela confessed.
Abe felt ashamed of his actions. But even more than that, he felt guilty for discouraging his daughter so much that she didn’t feel comfortable sharing her dreams with him. He had always wanted the best for his little girl, but somewhere along the line, he must have forgotten that what’s best for her might not necessarily be on his terms.
“I’m sorry you felt the need to hide such a large part of yourself from us. Your mother and I should have supported your dreams more. I’m sorry we didn’t, my baby. But, from now on, all that changes. I promise,” Abe concluded, hugging his daughter warmly.
“Thank you, Dad. I love you,” Angela said, almost in tears.
“I love you too, my angel. More than you’d ever know,” Abe professed, also fighting back his tears.
From that day on, Abe stuck to his promise, and he and his wife supported their daughter’s dreams more. Abe’s wife was a little reluctant at first, but when Abe explained how passionate she was about drama, she finally opened up to the idea of pursuing drama. Abe even convinced her to go to Angela’s play.
Finally, the night of the play came. Abe and Lisa were both there to support their daughter, and while they were excited for her, they were never ready for what they experienced that night.
Angela completely stole the show. Her parents had never seen her like that before. The presence and emotion she brought on stage was a side of Angela they had never witnessed in all the years of raising Angela.
“That’s my baby!” Lisa even yelled at one point in the play, clapping hysterically out of sync to the surprise of the rest of the audience. They had both become her biggest fans and personal cheerleaders.
After the performance, they approached Angela, and her mother earnestly confessed, “I was wrong, dear. I’m so sorry. You are a very talented and amazing actress. You really stole the show today. I’m so proud of you.”
“Thank you, Mom. Thank you both for coming and supporting me. It really means the world to me,” Angela said as they all embraced each other in a warm hug.
After that, they allowed Angela to relent some of her studying time and focus on her drama. Additionally, the newfound support from her parents brought out a new confidence in Angela. She was truly happy.
Now that she had backing from her parents, she was even able to spend extra hours after school with Miss Crawford, taking classes and working on various tasks to help improve her acting. After a month of active classes, Miss Crawford came forth with news that would leave Angela over the moon.
“Ma’am, you said you had something to tell me. What is it? I’ve never seen you excited like this before,” a curious Angela said, eager to discover why her teacher had been acting so strange.
“Okay, okay. After our lesson, I wanted to make a whole thing of it, but you know I’m not good with secrets. If I hold it in any longer, I’m going to explode,” an excited Miss Crawford explained.
“So? What’s up?” Angela asked, nervously leaning closer with excitement.
“I received an invitation requesting you to play a role for an upcoming role,” Miss Crawford explained.
“A role? As in a new school play? I thought we were done for the season,” Angela responded, slightly confused.
“No. Not for the school. For the local theatre!! This is big, Angela!” Miss Crawford exclaimed with a loud yelp of excitement.
“But… how?” Angela asked, bewildered.
“The local theater director was at our play last month, and she thought you were absolutely phenomenal,” Miss Crawford explained.
“Wow! I don’t know what to say!”
“She loved you, Angela! She’s offering you a pretty big role. It’s all the way up from here, my girl!” Miss Crawford explained before pouncing on Angela with a huge hug.
Angela told her parents, and they were completely over the moon. They had come to understand and appreciate the many talents their child was blessed with. Angela worked around the clock preparing for the play, and she was absolutely magnificent when the day finally came. From that day on, her parents never missed a single play.
What can we learn from this story?
Do not project your hopes and dreams on your children. Angela’s parents limited the possibilities of her future and neglected her passion and talent because they hoped for her to do things as they did. However, the reality of the situation is that her road was unlike theirs.
We are all different and unique. Angela’s parents had not only summed up their daughter into a certain category but, to a larger degree, themselves. We are all multilayered, and it is necessary for us to unearth these layers to become our best selves.
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