Sunday I performed my songs at the Open Mic once again. On the drive in I began to feel nervous and that didn’t pass until ten minutes after my performance. As a result my voice was shaky and my hands hesitant and cramped.
I realize the best performances are the ones where the performer releases inhibitions and breaks through to unselfconscious creativity. That is not what we got yesterday and I believe my continued participation is my effort to find that freedom.
It is not only important for performing music but also in my painting, writing, cooking, and daily interactions. I can imagine myself unrestrained from inhibitions and responding and reacting without fear. I have even found myself in that flow more than once but for the most part I am hampered by thought.
Old behavior, past responses and future fears all conspire to keep me from being myself. Yesterday I couldn’t identify any reason I should be nervous. I had practiced and I had recorded the songs earlier in the day and was quite pleased with my performances on tape, but when I got up there on the stage I was already deep in anxiety.
I wonder if it’s even a good idea to challenge that feeling, to push through. Maybe I ought to just bow out if I can’t do it in comfort. Only problem there is I probably wouldn’t do it at all. Months could go by without a performance and that doesn’t seem to me like it would help matters at all.
In painting there’s a sacrifice required to meet the success of the entire painting. I often have to paint over some section I have worked hard on and found to be clever or skilled. The balance of the painting comes first.
Does my emotional balance come first? Do I sit out the performance in favor of a balanced emotional state? I am sure if I had any kind of concern about my public perception I would be more careful about making sure I was in a good frame of mind before I took the stage. Of course that would make for very few performances but at least I would never be all squeaky and shy.
I don’t know. I want to improve my creativity and that means taking chances. I can’t see things getting easier or freer by not doing so. Maybe I need to double down rather than hang back; make some really bad paintings, sing some awful songs at the top of my lungs. Dance like no one is watching.
It is a journey of discovery I am on but more than that it is a pathway to freedom. Each new painting rises from the preceding painting with ideas branching out and new combinations of color, design, and repetition promenading about like the bees knees.
I do my best to cast them in a favorable light, but who am I to judge what that looks like. Maybe all I can do is let them out for a while and see where that leads me.