Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Transitional Properties of Me

I was recently invited, nay encouraged, to take charge of the way I feel when performing and believe that I can turn any feelings I might label as fright or nerves instead as excitement.

When I taught dance to kids we asked them to think of their performance as a gift to the audience, especially the people they loved who were out there. It's a nice analogy and I wish I remembered it more often right before I step on stage. It's also, maybe, a bit of a burden because if you do screw up that means you trampled your gift to your mom and that doesn't feel so good. Fortunately no one ever called us on that. There's always going to be a kid, though, who hears you encourage them and tells you to go to hell because they feel what they feel and you can suck it.

I try not to be that kid...on the outside.

So I'm at least considering the possibility that crafting excitement from fear is possible since they're so close to the same feeling. Not always possible but sometimes. Let's see.

1. When performing? I'm sure it's possible. Might take some practice but totally doable. This is going to mean I need to create more opportunities to practice.

2. Before surgery? Um, no. Or, perhaps maybe but that's not the kind of person I want to be.

3. On a date? I'd say that not only is it possible to make the change, it might even be crucial to success.

4. Before a test, say your driver's test or the LSATs or whatever? Sure. I'm not a testing geek but I'm a geek in a lot of other ways so I can see how it could happen.

5. Before an audition? Technically it's performing so I think it is possible and I'd even refer you to #3 regarding success. However, I'll also refer you to #1 regarding practice. So much practice.

6. While giving birth? I am told this is possible. I think these people are nuts but I cannot speak from experience on the subject (and hope I never will) so I'm going to choose to believe them without testing their results.

7. While traveling, especially flying? This is entirely possible and I'll tell you how I know. Many years ago, just when I was beginning to get nervous about flying, I told a friend. He said that whenever he flew he looked out the window for takeoff and that moment, you know the one, just when the wheels leave the ground, is so miraculous that he's always thrilled. Now I look out the window and wait for that moment on every flight and, even if I feel a little fear, I get a rush of excitement when the wheels leave the pavement.

8. When facing up to a mistake? I get the worst bad stomach and crazy head when I've screwed something up at work or with a friend. It paralyzes me more often than not. Even when I know it's not so big a deal I am afraid and I don't even know of what. Will I be fired? Will the friend leave me? Will there be yelling? Physical violence? Will I have to stare at disappointment all over a face? Who knows? Maybe it's the uncertainty of not knowing. I don't know how I could turn this around.

9. Heading off to war? You know, I'd like you to stay at least a little scared. I like to think it keeps you safer.

10. Accepting an award? "Why would you be frightened to accept an award, Kizz?" I hear you ask. Because I can be frightened about anything. Are you having cold cuts for lunch? I'm a little nervous for you. However, I could, I truly believe, turn that around in the case of a real live opportunity to deliver some of my most practiced speeches to an audience of millions, or even tens. Yeah, yeah, yeah, awards don't mean you're the best at anything, but they do mean that someone's been paying attention to your work and that? That's something to get excited about.


  1. What a way to look at how you behave every day. What if we all thought about the way we lived our lives as gifts to those around us?

    That last picture is my most favorite picture of the two you.

  2. It's one of my faves, too. If only the world knew what we were singing right then. Oy.