Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Recovering A Sense of Safety

I've found as a performer, and artist, that at times it's very difficult to find support in those you would assume the position. Teachers, artists we look up to, friends, family members, acquaintances, audiences, all have a separate reaction and opinion from what we may think they have. I have this issue. You see, I have this masochistic side to myself where nothing is good enough. We've all felt that. I was once a terrible auditioner and performer in class. Why? Was it ill-preparation? Very rarely, much to the disagreements found in some professors who found this false. Even in High School, where I was definitely in the hierarchy of those with natural talent, I had an issue with expressing myself 100% artistically in front of a group of people, until I just let it go. Hard to understand? When I'm entering an uncharted territory (ie: Freshman year of High School/College) I'm learning how to build and break walls at the same time. I'm ultimately harming my artist child within by not allowing myself the space to create and expose myself to new ground.
"Judging your early artistic efforts is artist abuse," Cameron stresses, and she's right. I'm without a doubt incredibly abusive to my artistic state of consciousness. I put myself down at all times, perfecting the art of masochism and mastering it with my own internal metal bat. "I could have done better," "I'll never be good enough," I say these things at all times, possibly because I've found that people who make promises, people who express themselves one way and those who are attempting to encourage you into one direction, flake out on you. Those you look up to, sometimes aren't the ideal role models for you. It's ok to appreciate someones work, but it doesn't mean you have to agree with their methods. In order to attempt to break down my mental blocks, I have to realize that mistakes are essential for growth. Stumbling down the staircase (not literally, but it won't surprise any of you if I did) is normal. Baby steps are essential. Strange for a guy who tends to scoff down his dinner in under 5-10 minutes, eh? Cameron puts it like this: "Creative recovery is like marathon training," (great, running, something I DO understand).

"...We want to log ten slow miles for every one fast mile. This can go against the ego's gain. We want to be great --immediately great -- but that is not how recovery works. It is an awkward, tentative, even embarrassing process. There will be many times when we won't look good -- to ourselves or anyone else. We need to stop demanding that we do. It is impossible to get better and look good at the same time."

I'm 100% willing to throw myself and my insecurities out the window during this process (this means apologizing to those who have been lugging onto the weight of my insecurities as well). I'm willing to listen to Marishka and say, "Fuck it!" and walk into the audition room with my preparation, my intentions set, and my first breath of fresh air and take my risks. I'm willing to be a terrible artist and at least make the choices I can. Hey, I may not be the best singer, but I'm capable of carrying a tune with my unique little warble. Not everyone needs to "wail" and "belt their titties off," or do they? I didn't think singing meant you can act too, eh? I'm willing to do both and risk it all at the same time. I will at least give myself the chance to regain my integrity and my strength as an artist.
After reading a wonderful list of commonly held negative beliefs that tend to hold artist's back from becoming a successful, prolific being, I've come to terms that I've narrowed myself into 8 of the 20 reasons. Not a lot, but not a little either. NONE of these negative beliefs are true, in fact, they are just that: beliefs. It is my job to confront this negativity and push past the ideas that hold onto them. I find this a funny chapter to touch upon, especially, because I've found myself over-analyzing a lot recently. And for that I'm incredibly sorry, to myself and ultimately to you. Making excuses, finding excuses, and over-thinking my current situations tend to be from an ample amount of time I'm given alone. And my current state of mind is rather lonely, as of late. I've also found myself to be a bit selfish. Not for my artistic recovery but personally. For that, I am sorry as well. Confronting your personal issues goes along with recovery as well. I feel a bit better already. What I am is scared. Julia Cameron you are RIGHT! I'm scared! Core negatives and consistently pushing them aside only makes your fear increase. Cut the bullshit! If you keep it up, these negatives will consume you mind and go for your throat and ultimately choke you until you're blue in the face and your loved ones don't want to hear it anymore. These negatives attack your lovability, your intelligence, your self-worth, your sexuality, and anything it can get it's hands on that makes you feel vulnerable. I can be a sane, solvent, responsible, faithful, saved, happy, and sober person with my work.
In college, a professor of mine had us discuss our affirmations prior to going on stage and performing. We'd stand in a circle and hold hands with our case, close our eyes, breathe and then go into what we wanted to achieve that night. Common one's would be to "Stay focused," "Engage the audience," "Connect with different cast members," "live in the moment," and so forth. Affirmations help achieve a sense of safety and hope. At first, all this talk of positive energy flow, and third eyes and filling your heart with love, made me such a skeptic. I was thinking "Who is the professor with her new-age methods and her gaucho pants? How is this going to help me as a performer?" And then in one particular show it just hit me smack in the face. I found my place of being, I found my moments, I found what I was looking for: my preparation, my sense of self and my confidence. It was all there all along. I didn't have to see the Wizard to figure out that these affirmations pushed me to full-force, performance mode. In rediscovering this, I need to make mental notes (and maybe say them out loud) on how much of a brilliant artist I am and how I can act my way out of a paper bag. Automatically your censor starts playing Beyonce's "Ring the Alarm" and you're screwed. At first, yes. Maybe. It attacks you worse than a virus when you're sick. But these affirmations can prove to be the Vitamin-C (or B-12, whichever you prefer) that you need. The more you beef yourself up, the more your confidence can rebuild, the more you can find inner peace with yourself and your work.

This weeks plans:

1. Continue my morning pages. So far so good...
2. Appreciate myself more. Make affirmations.
3. Take myself on an Artist Date. --I run in Central Park at least 3-5 days a week to clear my head. I also attempt to discover new places in Manhattan to treat my eyes for new sights and information.
4. Buy silly things -- I don't have money, but my dear friend Kristina had the heart (and $2.99 splurge) to purchase me a Disney Princess coloring book. Hey, it's a start...right? Reawakening the child inside of me?
5. Time-Travel logs. -- You'll be getting these starting tomorrow.
6. Imaginary Lives. --Another entry.

No comments:

Post a Comment