I had an anxiety dream last night about the Hackney performance I am participating in next week.
The usual thing; lost and disorientated at night in a monolithic graveyard; my clothes falling apart; a serial killer on the lurk; my make-up either lost or not able to fill its necessary function; and of course, arriving late for the actual event.
I’ve been speaking at public gatherings for some years now, and never felt completely comfortable about it, despite having spent years when I was younger, doing speech and drama training as a way of conquering an inherent shyness.
I give a presentation and invariably enter a zone of assumed confidence (despite clutching a transcript of my words as back up in case of middle aged memory loss or the losing of my thread of thought which has been known to happen…in one instance due to a particularly aggressive interruption and questioning by an audience member who challenged my theory on heightened aggression in seagulls, due to over ingestion of steroid packed fast foods).
Afterwards I have no idea how successful the talk was, although usually I gather the reaction from the level of engagement and questions afterwards or the look on the faces of the audience, which has been known to be blank, stunned and somewhat disturbed.
Why do I do it?
Ostensibly it is a ‘needs must’ situation. My writing and art make me happy, keep me sane and basically are intrinsic to my well being. In order to have any hope at making the arts a paying career, even at the lowest level, I need to get out there and speak about and promote my work.
It is also a way of interacting with people and inspiring and challenging myself with new ideas and perspectives. In my experience, stagnation and depression are one and the same, and pushing my limits and boundaries creates a movement that nullifies feelings of being stuck.
I live for the excitements, the buzz that a new plan, project or idea brings.
In my younger days, excitements were generally generated around drugs, sex and parties.
Later in life I went through a brief stage of doing adventure sports which was disastrous and short lived as all training would be forgotten in the final push through the fear barrier as I would for example, belly flop out of a plane and neglect to open my parachute on time.
I wouldn’t say I have evolved, just modified my life choices to make them a little more…safe…and life affirming.
So in the name of the excitement, the progression, I have given my fears new fodder to ruminate on. Performance, an area that is strange, frightening and unknown but gods, it’s interesting and exciting!