Two close friends asked me a similar question this past week. They said, “Is all the stress you must endure to perform really worth it?” I didn’t hesitate answering. “Absolutely. It’s a process that takes one year of everything I love: creating, practicing, improving, problem-solving, writing, rehearsing, acting and more creating. I don’t do it for the applause; I do it for the joy of celebrating my unique gifts.”
Well, I would have liked to have answered the question that eloquently, but the truth is, I love what I do, and no one on the face of the earth can do what I do. The only way they could do it would be to be me. Truth be told, what I do is who I am, and once I give that up, I lose that piece that I’ve worked my entire life to create and believe in.
There is a certain irony, however, to the whole thing. I don’t like to compete, so in performing a one-woman show of my own making, there is no competition. I don’t like to be compared to others with similar talents. No one has the level of talent I have. It isn’t concert pianist level, it’s “dilettante diva” level, a term I invented myself. No one else can perform a “Dramatic Musilogue” because I invented it, and only I can define it. My acting ability is like none other’s, and that’s not necessarily brag-worthy, but it’s my level. No one else can put all of my talents together into one finished product because they are my talents. The irony, however, is that the bar I have to reach is the one I created myself. The quality of performance I have to match is the one I have mastered. Bottom line: I have to live up to me.
A month from now, I will be performing three concerts for a combined audience of about 175 people. I am not the least bit afraid of any of them; I’m afraid of me. Me will be there whispering in my ear: “Make this perfect. Feel this. Don’t forget to bring that out. Soft pedal that section. Be careful not to miss that note.” If I could just leave me home, I’d have so much more fun. Unfortunately, taking my fingers on this trip back to our former hometown means taking my brain and my conscience with me. This necessitates, therefore, packing deep breaths, “Calm” apps and meditation techniques.