Friday, January 25, 2008

On dealing with disappointment and insecurity

In this profession that I am seeking to pursue and therefore the lifestyle that I must lead I deal with a lot of disappointment. You are rejected from competitions and auditions and are turned down for roles much more than you are accepted. The way that you may get accepted next time is to listen to someone tear apart your performance and tell you how to improve it (if they’re nice) or why it was just not good enough (if they’re not so nice).

It’s not merely the authority that tells you their opinion but everyone who learns that you are a singer. Everyone has advice for a musician, because well they like music and they know someone who knows someone who’s doing very well for herself and singing at the Hilton.

Needless to say I receive some very questionable advice, and some very good advice. The good advice comes in two varieties: 1. The same thing that everyone tells you, which is right but you’ve already heard it about 20 times, 2. The rare glimpse of something new, and worthwhile. However that happens so rarely that it is really a gem to be grasped.

But back to disappointment and criticism. To succeed you have to just decide that the disappointment and sometimes mean comments are just not going to affect you. You have to be incredibly confident walking into a room, know your music, know your history, and know that you are the best at it, all while being modest and kind to everyone and not acting like a total prick. But you still have to be confident, you never get anything if you don’t think that you will. That on top of the fact that the situation that you’re walking into is by all accounts very nerve wracking.

So you build yourself a little emotional fortress where you are untouchable. I am for the most part rarely nervous about auditions and performances because of this and can take all sorts of criticism with out any reaction other than, “that’s interesting” or “thank you”.

As a result (tangentially perhaps) I am incredibly insecure about some things that just don’t make any sense from the outside. Karaoke being the most ironic I think…Emblies you sing for your supper all the time, and you can’t belt into a microphone for drunk people? Well not really I’ve never tried. I’m also insecure about dancing (unless I’m with a certain group of people).

In my personal life people tell me that I am one of the most secure people that they know in my own skin. I have always been told this, in fact that’s the universal thing that people said to me upon my leaving high school, and it does not seem that this has changed. However I find that the security is easier to project than actually feel. There are many things that I’m insecure about in life, and you know there are two choices and a right time for both actually. Sometimes you have to leave the thing that is making you insecure and not make it part of your life. And other times you have to expose yourself to that insecurity and learn how to not be insecure about it. Do you have things that you just have to remove from your life because of the negative impact they have? And what have you triumphantly faced that makes you feel like you are now 12 feet tall now that you can deal with it?


Alex said...

Hmmm... That first question is a kicker. I'm not sure I've quite left them behind, though I may have cyrogenically frozen dancing; also, whenever I try and speak a language that I know other than English I totally lock up.

As for the second question, two things come quickly to mind:

1) Wearing nice clothes. Formality has never really expressed itself naturally through dress for me. It has always had more to do with composure, manner, and a willingness to help/please.

It has taken me years to become at all comfortable in nice clothes. I had to, in the end, make a game out of it, and have fun dressing up before I could actually express any sort of honest respect through what I wear.

2) Job Interviews. I am extremely self-critical. I always have been. This makes it super hard for me to "sell" myself in situations like an interview. I always see, or remember ghost-like failings, potential flaws, and drive myself into a corner. It has only really been in the past few weeks that I have been able to put my fears and predictions on hold long enough to come across as anything approximating confident.

Cherith said...

Hey Embly -- how fun to find you on my blog. i'm pleased for a way to keep tabs on you and your journey ... take care.