Friday the 13th, and I’m changing my life around. Nothing can go wrong, right?
Here goes nothing!
My name is Keith Vartanian, though you probably already got that from the dozens of times it’s plastered all over my page. Conceited, much?
I’m native to the best (and most-hated) sports town in all the land, Boston, Massachusetts. Sports are so highly touted there, that, as a kid, it is an unwritten rule that you’ve gotta at least try all of the sports. There is nothing a Larry Bird-loving dad loves more than seeing his son’s arching shot go through the hoop in his youth basketball game. I mean, they literally treat it like they’re actually watching Bird. It’s kinda crazy. But also kinda awesome.
I, of course, was entirely unathletic in my early childhood. I tried almost everything - baseball, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, hockey, track and field - and was good at none of it. The even bigger damper on my diaper of doom was that my father was a fantastic athlete. Not by a gift of shiny athleticism, though - he was the smallest dude on his team, always - he just was a consistent workhorse in that he gave 150% and had a chip on his shoulder that said, “You think I can’t hang with you? Watch me”.
That chip on his shoulder was and is his biggest bragging right. His favorite Celtic ever is Isaiah Thomas, who only spent a cumulative 2.5 years on the team, but who’s heart made him a Celtic legend.
He knew that I didn’t have the natural talent, but he knew he could put the same chip on my shoulder as well. And he did.
For years, all I ever heard from both of my parents after every strikeout, every missed pass, every missed goal, was to keep trying and not to quit. Being 7, I didn’t think too much of it. Don’t get me wrong - I cared, because being unathletic in Boston also means sitting alone at the lunch table. But I didn’t care enough to put in the extra effort. Just having my parents pushing me wasn’t enough. I needed something more.
Introduce Taekwondo, and Sensei Marcelino Amaro. At the age of six, my mother took me down the street to the local “karate” school (they were all the same to us back then), to hopefully give me a sport or activity that I could latch onto and be good at - a place where I could be accepted. I immediately fell in love. That day changed my life forever.
Through the years, Martial Arts and my Sensei became that extra push I needed. It taught me how to not compare myself to others, but to how I’ve changed. It taught me respect, control, discipline, but most of all, it taught me how to push myself - how to keep going when all you want to do is give up.
As soon as I learned how to do this, I noticed significant improvements in so many other areas of my life. I went from hitting last on my baseball teams and playing right field to having the highest batting average and becoming the starting catcher. I went from barely playing high school soccer to playing on my high school team. I even tried gymnastics, a sport that had been in my life since I was born, with my father being a Women’s Gymnastic Coach, but had never been something I had done. My high school team was state champs for decades in a row, but that all of a sudden didn’t intimidate me - I was on that team for my entire high school career.
Martial Arts helped me way beyond athletics. It gave me this sense of confidence that if I put the work in, hell f******g yeah I would be good enough. I worked hard at everything I did - was a high Honors student, consistently got roles in the school plays, and still considered myself athletic. I was winning in a lot of areas, so I thought.
I went to college for acting. I tried super hard there, too, and was having real success. I was getting auditions and callbacks for national tours, TV shows, and even film. My confidence started to turn into a guaranteed thing, and every conquest has its downfall, and that was mine.
I won’t say that I became a braggart - I didn’t boast and think that I was the greatest - I just started to think that I could get by without really trying. This was further reinforced when I signed with my talent management company out of college - what could go wrong?
Fast forward three years, and I haven’t booked a single acting job. Not because the talent isn’t there. Not because I’m not giving myself opportunities.
The sole reason is because
I noticed this a while back, but have been too afraid to do anything about it.
But today, Friday, April 13th, 2018, is the day I start trying again. Today, on the unluckiest day of the year, I take my life back.
Wish me luck.
Or don’t? Is that a bad thing on Friday the 13th? Is it like an opposite thing? If you wish me good luck it actually means bad luck?
Stay tuned to follow my journey. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!!