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.

Without

Disclaimer: I’m sorry, everyone, for being so emo and sappy over the holidays… I have a promise to myself never to erase any posts; otherwise, I’d erase this crappy poem. Instead, I’m adding this disclaimer.

 

Without,

Things are different.

The sky hasn’t fallen,

The planets orbit as usual,

Toddlers cry and children laugh,

Parents love and people die.

But things are still different,

Without.

Without,

Molehill fears become mountains,

Nasty insecurities become screaming flaws,

While outwardly things remain the same,

A mask making up for everything,

Without.

Without,

Experiences are private once more,

Sharing becomes hard work,

Terrors and nightmares rule the dark,

Loneliness is a natural state,

Without.

Without,

Is simply harder than with,

Is sadder than with,

Is a struggle worthy only of the word

Without.

Horror

Horror doesn’t only happen at night, you know. It happens on the streets of London and in the slums of New York. It happens in the homes of the rich and the poor alike. It happens in your back garden when you’re not looking, or right in front of you when you’re trying not to see. Horror is everywhere.

Believe me, I know. Why? I’m not sure you’d understand. I’m not sure you really want to know. See, there’s a problem with you people – you always say you want to know, but then you cringe and cry, snivel and beg, and I need to deal with it. It all gets very tiresome. So if you want me to tell you why I know about horror, you need to promise me that you can deal with what I’m going to tell you. Well?

Ah, there, I knew it. Once you’re confronted with what happened to everyone else who asked the same question, you back off. That’s smart of you. Sometimes you people actually do learn something. I like that. There’s nothing fun about playing with your food if it doesn’t know what the outcome is. The mouse, for instance, instinctively knows that the cat wants to eat it, so when a cat’s paw descends on its tail, it’ll bit that bit off in order to get away. Of course, once it does that, the cat will catch it by its body and eat it anyway. But the point is, the only reason it’s fun for the cat to play with the mouse is because the mouse knows what’s coming. And now, you do too.

Now, now, don’t give me that look, please. You knew from the moment you called for me what was going to happen. Yes, remember? You’re the one who called me here. You called horror upon you, and horror comes in the guise you gave it. It’s time for you to live with it simply being your own fault. You think you’re dreaming, I know, and maybe you are! But tell me… Right now, does it matter whether or not you’re dreaming? I’m pretty horrible either way.