I've come to realize that I happen to be one of those people who seem very confident in all of my abilities. I'm very much so my own biggest hype man (as we all should be). Whenever faced with a challenge, no matter what that challenge may be, I rise to the occasion. "Oh, I can do that!" Is a phrase I find myself saying quite often. If someone inquires about a huge task that requires great skill and expertise, I will volunteer eagerly. Every once in a while though, people will actually believe in me as much as I believe in myself, and agree to let me take on such a task. At this point, I'm usually freaking out because I've probably bitten off more than I can chew. Alas, my eyes are always much bigger than my stomach! But isn't that how it usually goes? I'd much rather be too full, yet try to keep eating because it's so good, and just walk around hunched over all day because I'm so stuffed, than not get enough to begin with and walk around wishing I had more, ya know? Leave it to me to make this about food...
Anywho, enough with the metaphors! A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending another literary salon. I've written before about Women Of Letters before, as this was a similar show with the same host called "This Alien Nation" (get it? Alien nation? Alienation?? Genius!). The show featured a number of speakers, recalling their experiences of being born in another country and living in the US. It was awesome! Even After my very first time at one of these events, I told myself I could sooooo get on stage and tell my story like that... I'd be awesome, people would love it, it'd be groundbreaking! (I've heard before that Geminis tend to have delusions of grandeur, but that's another story for another day.) Interestingly enough, I met a woman that day who was the host of her very own storytelling showcase. After a few drinks, I got even MORE confident, and maybe she started to believe all of my ramblings too because she asked if I wanted to be a speaker in her upcoming show! I obviously said yes of course. When I got home, I immediately emailed her to follow up. About 2 weeks after that, she emailed me back with all of the details and the links to other women in the show... what did I get myself into! All of the women were super established storytellers already. My written piece was to be 5-8 minutes long, performed all by myself, MEMORIZED, and of a dark humor subject matter. And it was going to be at an actual theatre... in Manhattan! Needless to say, this was my very first time doing anything like this.
In the week's before the show, I did my best to prepare while simultaneously doubting everything in the process. The day of the show, it all really hit me like a ton of bricks. What if my story isn't good at all? What if I'm completely off subject? What if I can't memorize it all and freeze in the middle? What if nobody laughed at the funny parts?? See, this is why I'm much more of an off the cuff type of person. Less time to prepare = less time for doubt. I'd never thought I'd be so freakin anxious at all! I always saw myself as more of a natural born star than a whimpering nervous wreck. I then began to try and slap myself out of all the apprehension. Celebrities perform in huge arenas all the time. If I thought I had any chance of ever being anything remotely close to that, I AT LEAST had to get past THIS performance, right? I can't just go from wallflower Wendy to Beyonce' overnight. How the heck do I think I'm gonna write, direct and star in the greatest musical of all time (Gettin' By the musical) if I can't even get it together in front of an off-off-Broadway theatre?
Well guys and gals, I did it! I got on that stage, got blinded by the lights (literally), and managed to get through my entire story! I'm very proud of myself that I actually went through with it all. It might not have been perfect by any means, but is anything ever PERFECT? I've always heard that a lot of people have a fear of public speaking, and I really do get it. It really is all mental though. Hopefully, with more practice, I'll be able to get on a stage in front of however many people, and just talk like I talk to myself in the mirror all the time. I spoke with a few of the other speakers as well who told me I should keep doing more events and that they'd be there if I ever needed any advice. See, that's why I love being around other people in the arts. So supportive! The relaxation period after the show was also particularly very calming compared to the previous intensity that day.
We truly shouldn't be afraid to fail. I know, I know, it sounds terribly cliche, but after going through this situation, it all makes sense! Artists put themselves out there every day to be judged the whole world. That's pretty darn scary if you think about it! The biggest concern I had was if I'd mess up. The point is though, who cares we mess up taking chances! If I didn't do it at all, there'd be no chance for me to mess up OR succeed. Have a little bit of faith that whatever the outcome, something can be learned. It's much easier said than done, of course, but I'm glad I got through it unscathed! Don't be afraid to take those chances people!
P.s. This amazing moment was captured by Ashleigh! I made me think she wasn't coming because she had to work... but she called in sick! Also, Pierre and his girlfriend came to the show!! I honestly thought no one was coming, but I had a whole fan section!
P.p.s. They say when you are on stage with nerves, you should imagine everyone naked... But wouldn't that just end up turning you on?
P.p.p.s. I actually have another nerve wrecking event coming up at the end of the month. I agreed to showcase some crochet creations at a holiday pop up shop! Details on that to come soon!