It Doesn’t Get Better

Posted: May 10, 2011 in Uncategorized

I was doing a burlesque show with another performer who was relatively new to the scene.  Well, ok, *I’m* relatively new to the scene.  But I’ve been doing it for 5 years and she’d been doing it for about 1 year so I seemed like a veteran to her.  We were about to start the show and she was visibly nervous, though doing a valiant job, trying not to be.  Still she looked at me, let out a shaky breath and said

“Tell me, does it ever get better?”

She looked at me with hopeful eyes and I knew that I was supposed to help.  I was supposed to offer the pearl of wisdom that would show her the trick to banishing her fears.  Instead I said

“Nope.”

It doesn’t get better, and here’s how I know:

A little while ago I was in a Barnes and Nobel, looking for a book.  I went up to the top floor to find the place PACKED with people.  At first I thought books were making a surprise comeback but then I realized they were holding  an event there.  It was some kind of panel starring Michael Showalter.

Since I’m a huge fan of The State and I’d just been watching The Baxter earlier that day I was pretty psyched to being the same room as Michael Showalter.  But I was also tired, hungry and not really psyched about the idea of standing around in a huge crowd of people for an indefinite period of time so I decided to shove my way back through the crowd and go home before the panel kicked off.

While on my way to the stairs I got distracted by something shiny and accidentally bumped into someone.  I turned around to apologize and, boom, it was Michael Showalter.

He's that guy. He was in that thing? You know that guy...

Now, I know he isn’t a huge name or anything, but I was star struck.  I was OBSESSED with The State when I was 12 (my best friend and I used to re-enact the skits.  I can still quote the vast majority of their skits verbatim.) Wet Hot American Summer is one of my favorite movies. I’m a big dorky fan girl.  So I just stood there like a dumbass thinking “OMG Michael Showalter Just touched me!” and he kept on walking.  As he walked toward the stage the person he was walking with asked

“So, Michael, are you still worried no one’s going to show up to this thing?”

Michael Showalter, whom I’ve been quoting and fangirling over for more than half my life, who’s been in countless movies and tv shows, who freaking *packed* this place, still doesn’t think people care who he is enough to draw much of a crowd.  He still thinks that.  Which means he’s probably always going to think that.  He has the same fears I have and always will.  Which probably means I’m always going to have those fears, too.

Here’s the awesome part:  That’s ok.

Being successful doesn’t mean you’re not insecure which means that being insecure doesn’t mean you’re not successful.  It’s really easy when you feel down about yourself to dismiss the things you’ve done.  So don’t.  Recognize that your fears will be there no matter what and don’t let them stand in your way.

So back to that burlesque show.

I told her that, no, it doesn’t get better.  The fears don’t go away and it’s never *easy.*  This was especially true of that that night for me because I’d forgotten all of my music and half my costumes and was REALLY flying by the seat of my pants this time.  But I didn’t break down and I didn’t give up, even though I literally living one of my worst nightmares.  I pushed down the butterflies and ignored my fears and did the best damn performance I could.  Because it may not get better, but *you* do.  You learn and you grow and the challenges always rise every time you tick that bar up but so do you and you get better at pushing yourself to meet them.

But I didn’t quite have that formed in my head at the time.  So instead I said

“No.  It’s always scary.  You’re always anxious.  But anxiety is just inches away from excitement.  And excitement is what makes it good.”

I hope it helped.

Thanks, Guys

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