acting · action · avoidance · community · fear · perseverance · self-compassion · self-derision · theater

How to Eat an Elephant.

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Thank you, to whoever read my blog Perseverance yesterday, which encouraged me to read it, which I’m
sure I haven’t done since I wrote it in November 2012. Particularly appropriate
today is the following:
With each creative endeavor, as you
know by now, I pull back at some point. Painting, acting, writing, singing. I
will spend a few months active in pursuance of these interests, and then wane.
I will talk myself back from it, in any number of ways, and move back into my
mediocrity.
Yesterday, I showed up for two theater auditions. At the
first, I sang a bit of a song (“Whatever Lola Wants,” from Damn Yankees) and a bit of a monologue (Sherry Johnson, from The
Laramie Project
).
It was the first time I’ve auditioned for a musical since
high school; I only just heard the whole song on Monday; and I’d never
practiced it with an accompanist before. Let’s just say, I could have done
better!
(However, I’m “lucky” enough to have already had several
auditions where I really bombed, where I
said, “I’m so sorry can I start again…” three times! So I know what
really bombing is! And I survived.)
At the second audition yesterday, for… The Addams Family,
A Musical
(HAHAH!!!), I was to prepare only
a song, and I sang the same one, this time a little better. But.
There’s a moment in the song, where it hits a high note.
It’s one that this whole week I’ve been nervous about hitting, not because I
can’t, but because I can’t when I’m holding back. It’s not an unattainable
note at all: it’s one I can’t reach when I’m nervous about it, scared I can’t hit it,
and am psyching myself out, even as I come to that line.
Then I can’t hit that
note. And that’s precisely what happened at yesterday’s audition.
And the paragraph from my blog Perseverance is achingly on point. “I talk myself back from it.”
That’s exactly what happened.
Now, granted, I’m pretty proud of how I handled everything
yesterday, too.
After my first audition, I immediately called a member of
Team Molly, and laughed really hard
about how I bombed it. The silence of the auditors, the awkwardness, the sad
case of the whole thing – I
laughed.
Because, really, what else can you do? It’s over, it’s done. I can get all
butthurt and self-flagellating, or I can ask myself what I learned from the
experience.
Which is what I did. I asked it aloud, so as not to give in to
the brain gremlins on my drive home: What did I learn?
Well, I learned that I need to practice my songs with accompaniment. I learned that I need to know my songs much better and stronger than one week. And I learned that I really do need to
take classes or lessons, if I’m serious about doing this. Which I am.
As with the “real” headshots I finally got done early this year, if
I’m really serious about making a go of this, then I have to literally put my
money (and energy) where my mouth is. I have to invest in myself.
It’s all well and good to show up partly prepared to these
things, and see what kind of results I get. Sure. That’s totally one way to do
this. But. That’s not at all what I want. I don’t want to feel I gave it a
mediocre chance.
No matter what the results, I really do want to try my best, and this is not at all my best.
This is lip service.
Nonetheless. As the first line of my morning pages said this
morning, “I did really well because I showed up anyway!!”
I also supported myself throughout the day, instead of falling into despair or
hopelessness, which would be really easy. And which would look like coming home
to a pint of ice cream and 8 hours of Netflix.
Instead, I drove back to the Bay, went grocery shopping, and went to meet
up with friends for an hour to hear their brain dump, and share a little of
mine.
And then I went to the second audition.
After which, I created plans for myself so that I didn’t
come home and isolate. I made plans with a friend to get out of both our comfort
zones and go to this poetry open mic thing that happens monthly nearby. Neither
of us were going to read, but just to go to check it out. Try something new.
And not be alone in our heads.
It totally worked. I set up for myself stop-gaps for my racing
thoughts, for my “not good enough” thoughts. I got into the day and out of
myself. And what all of this does is allows me to show up again next time.
Because who wants to show up again for something that you tell yourself you
sucked at?
Instead, I showed up again, and I will endeavor to support
myself with a steadfast vision by taking classes and making sure that I don’t
have to feel so psyched out and unprepared next time.
And, just so’s you know. I got called back to the Addam’s
Family audition, anyway. 😉 Wish me luck!… No, forget luck. Wish me love. 

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