Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Now There's That Fear Again

Besides being a writer, I am also a performer. I never meant to be a performer. I always wanted to be just a writer. This comes out of a place of fear. I have terrible, terrible social anxiety. The thought of going to a party alone terrifies me as does acting on stage.

Funny thing is, I've been on stage probably about 50 times. I know it's not much, but for someone who harbors the kind of fear I do, that says something. In fact, I have a performance tonight. And I'm more nervous about this one than most because a lot of my friends will be there. You'd think I'd have more security in my performance since I have people that care about me sitting in the audience. But it's the fear of their judgment and letting them down that really bothers me. And this fear is utterly irrational.

Being afraid of networking or giving a public speech or performing on stage is always irrational. But that doens't mean just identifying the irrationality of the situation makes everything okay. You have to first recognize your fear and then accept it. Stage fright isn't going to go away over night, and in fact it may never go away completely. But if you accept that it exists and understand that it is irrational and concentrate on the task at hand, the nervous energy that was once fear will be channeled into your performance to make it even better.

I'm hoping to break a leg out there tonight. I know I got talent, and I have nothing to prove to anyone. I'm giong to go out there, accept my fear, and give a great performance.

Wish me luck.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Keith,

I understand how you feel. Just yesterday, I was about to give a performance in front of my college audience. Worse, it was my first time to ever rap (being 'yellow' doesn't help) and no one had any idea what was going to happen. I was so wound up tight before the performance. I accepted it but that still didn't help! But I just kept saying to myself to have fun and no one had any expectations of me and while I still had the jitters when I started the performance. Eventually during the middle it wore off and I started just to be 'at the moment'. There's nothing like that feeling in the world.

By the way, I'm a writer and teacher as well and love doing improv games with my students. It helps improves their confidence and speaking abilities.