heaven on their minds
I suppose it is always reassuring for people in the band or company who have been listening to the show to come up and swoon about how great you sound. How could I not like that? Especially since I feel constantly overwhelmed by feeling dirty about all the mistakes and split notes that I know are floating around in the theatre.
Just before the performance last night someone in the band said 'whoah, you are really nailing that part' and for a microsecond that was reassuring. I felt a bit puffed up and flattered.
But for the following hour of the show that phrase rang around and around my head. Whenever I split a note, my head said 'well, he'll never say that again will he? You didn't nail that! Or that!'
And how I hate that feeling. I really, really hate not playing 'perfectly'.
The more I read about performance anxiety and social anxiety I am convinced that shame and embarrassment are a huge compounding factor in stage fright. It is not just the automatic feelings like shaking and blanking out, it is the social shame that amplifies and perpetuates it. That wash of shame that tells you to shrink and make you feel like you are covered in shit and that you really believe people are disgusted by you.
It steals the joy.
Splitting a note produces a really bad feeling. I cannot help it. I cannot stop that feeling no matter how much I rationalise it.
The flip side is that not splitting feels good. And I like feeling good. Who doesn't? I think maybe I play to reassure myself that I am worthwhile, that I am better, I am special. I want people to notice me. I crave attention. I want to be wanted. I want to be seen.
I want to be missed when I am gone.
I always have 'heaven on my mind'.*
*What a waste of time though. I heard a couple of podcasts recently where psychologists were talking about if you ask a crowd of 200 people to stand if they can remember the full names of their great-grandparents and usually only a few people can stand up. We will be largely forgotten within three generations. Wanting your life to matter past a few generations is fruitless.
Thanks for listening.