Stage Fright

When I was younger, I loved putting on a show. My friends and I would create little plays with our dolls and perform for each other. I would rally the girls younger than me at old family friends’ dinners and we’d end the evening by enacting some fairy-tale story for the grownups. I participated in drama classes starting in second grade and didn’t stop taking them until my teens.
There was a glitch, though. I didn’t get accepted to the performing arts high school’s drama program, and that broke my heart. Later, when my dad became ill and passed away, I became even more introverted than I’d been before (in all aspects of life except acting, I’d always felt shy and awkward). Acting became a thing of the past, an old dream that was quickly being shadowed by my passion for reading and writing.
I don’t want to be an actress anymore. The pipe dreams of rock-stardom have disappeared as well. But the stage fright that had gripped me melted away during the past few months when I went back to acting in an amateur theater group at my school, a place where I can practice both writing and performing every week with an entirely new show. It’s a hit-or-miss kind of production, and all the more fortifying because it means I’ve seen that a bad show isn’t the end of the world.

Oddly enough, now that the end-of-year performance at the music school I’m taking voice lessons at is upon me, my stage-fright is virtually nil. I need to leave in twenty minutes and I haven’t even picked out what I’m going to wear yet. I know that I’ll probably get rubber legs once I’m onstage, and maybe I’ll even have the nervous jitters in my stomach that’ll be asking me to please run away as fast as I possibly can. But right now, I’m feeling none of that. And while it’s pleasant, I also feel almost too reckless, too uncaring.

UPDATE: And now, back from the concert, I realize what an idiot I was to write this. I jinxed myself or something. I had an awful night, an awful concert; I was out of tune and sang badly. I’ve rarely been as embarrassed as I was tonight, singing the wrong notes in front of a roomful of people, all of whom came only to see their children sing and who were probably wincing at my voice booming out of the bad sound equipment. I know that I’ll get over this. I’ve gotten over worse. But right now? Right now I’m going to allow myself an evening of self-pity and depression. I suppose those are needed sometimes, too.

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6 thoughts on “Stage Fright

    • If only I’d felt the stage-fright, I think I would have felt better about the fact that I messed up so badly… But I didn’t feel any before, which made it all the more frustrating :/.

      And hey, having anything in common with Elvis is pretty awesome :).

  1. We all have less than stellar moments. Good for you for getting up and there and trying ! Some would let their fear prevent them. You succeeded merely by stepping out and letting your light shine 🙂

  2. If you are prone to stage fright (like me), you must also be prone to the harsh self-evaluation that follows on the heels of said performance. Normal! Sickening, isn’t it? But not necessarily based in reality. The fears of what might happen were not prescient and the fears following are probably not even be based on what really happened. Think of this fearful person as your inner writer who feels more comfortable floating over the action than immersed in it. When the writer imagines the most outrageous thing, when they nitpick every tiny little imperfection, that makes them better writers. You have been spending so much time writing that the writer thinks she’s the only one. Gotta reintroduce her to that other facet of your personality.

    • You make a really good point. I think you’re absolutely right, I’ve been used to standing on the outside of a situation as a writer… I guess it’s good to experience things, even embarrassing things, because it gives me more material to work with, right?

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