Ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum.
I sit in a coffee shop feeling my heart beat as I try to find a sense of calm. In a little over an hour I will be at an interview for a directing job. Just a small college show, but my fears overwhelm me and I feel panic building.
What am I afraid of?
Once upon a time I believed I would be a famous director. I thought I had the talent and vision to create powerful and meaningful theatrical experiences for even novice theatre-goers. Or, at least that’s what I tricked myself into thinking.
The truth is that my doubts ate away at me. That little inner critic took control and won. I didn’t have the courage to pursue my dream fully and I let the nay-sayers and the cruel manipulators who wanted to keep themselves on top push me down. I lost faith in my ability. I lost faith in my talent and knowledge. I lost faith in myself.
I still got directing jobs, though. Usually through somebody else’s recommendation. Actually, that’s how I get most of my jobs of any type, through a connection or a recommendation–rarely through an actual interview?
What does that say about me?
Since moving back to Massachusetts, I’ve seen plenty of directing jobs, although most of them were near Boston. I used the hour drive (without traffic) as an excuse not to apply. You know . . . rehearsals would start around 6 or so which means I would have to leave by 4:30 at the latest to be sure I’d get there and wouldn’t have any time to see Sarah, etc. etc. etc.
But really what held me back from applying was fear.
Then this job came up, and the excuse didn’t stand. This University is 15 minutes from my house, without traffic. The play is quirky and interesting, written by a woman and with strong female characters. It relies heavily on movement, music, and, I believe light. In other words, all the things I love.
No excuses. I had to apply. I didn’t even let myself stop and think. I sent in my resume as soon as I saw the ad, even before I’d read the play. If I had procrastinated, the inner critic would have found another excuse for me to run away and hide in fear.
Which brings me to this moment of nervous tension building.
But here’s the interesting thing, since I started writing this post, suddenly my fears are beginning to calm. It’s as if words are my meditation. By allowing myself to blog, to share my words in a public sphere, I have slowly learned to be brave about all my artistic endeavors. The inner critic doesn’t have as much control anymore.
I can, and will, go into this interview knowing that they want me to succeed. They want to find the director who will be the best match for this project. I believe that could be me, but if for some reason they disagree that isn’t a reflection of myself or my talent.
Sometimes what it really comes down to is personalities.
I no longer have the dream of becoming a famous director. I have other dreams trying to make themselves knows–writing and publishing novels; developing theatre for social change projects; becoming a successful arts advocate in some way; and other dreams that I have yet to put into words. Directing is a part of my life that I’m not willing to give up completely, but it is not the guiding light to my creative soul. Still, I think I need to confront this fear in order to continue to grow into the person I want to be.
Wish me luck.
What are you afraid of as an artist? What do you do to confront those fears?