You know, sometimes you have these great intentions – you lie awake at night and say, “Tomorrow I’m going to challenge myself. I’m going to do something that scares me.” Then you wake up the next day and once the coffee starts flowing, it’s back to the same routine? Just me?
Last week I did one of those things. It was scary as hell, but I did it nonetheless.
In early February an acquaintance of mine put out the call for submissions for a show featuring live readings about motherhood. Last year I envied the women involved for having the guts to get up and share their stories about motherhood to a sold-out theater.
I spent twenty-four hours pumping myself up. I had a piece ready to go. It had already been signed off by my partners-in-crime/rocks-that-I-lean-on, Tina and Pam. They gave me pointers and told me I’d be fabulous.
Three weeks later, I was asked to attend the live auditions. Those happened Saturday.
I got up a little early to make sure I had time to apply make-up and dry my hair (read the previous blog post for more on that ordeal). I picked out a cute dress, realized that I didn’t have a perfect pair of shoes other than flip-flops to go with it, and quickly changed into my “safe” outfit – black sweater, black pinstripe pants, a pair of my favorite heels.
The trip down to the auditions was riddled with traffic and I showed up only minutes before my scheduled time. A fellow author friend (Hi, Phyl!) was waiting for me to give me hugs and encouragement. We chatted a bit and then I trekked up the stairs.
The ladies casting the show welcomed me and I took a seat, thinking, “no big deal. I’ll just read and be done.” But the second I started to read, my anxiety issues took the driver’s seat and for the first few paragraphs I could basically hear my voice quavering and see my hands shaking and I was powerless to do anything about it. I was knee-deep in the middle of a panic attack. I stopped, took a deep breath and apologized. The ladies were understanding about my pause and I went on. The voice shaking slowly subsided and by the second page of my story, I felt I had it under control.
I got some polite laughs from my small audience and made it through the piece without crying, passing out, or vomiting so I’m calling it a win. As soon as I was done, I was able to chat perfectly fine, like the panic attack never happened. I’ll never understand this body of mine. Seriously. I can sing to a packed bar, tap dance to a full theater, jump onstage and dance with Sir Mixalot while my roommate ceremoniously slaps his ass as he charms the concert goers with his tales of big butts, and coach a gaggle of OMers through spontaneous practice. But sitting and reading to three people = panic attack.
So, here’s to trying something new! Yes, it can be scary, and like me you may be turned down when it’s all said and done, but challenging yourself is rarely a walk in the proverbial park.
Now, I’m off to take The Peeshwank to yet another in a long line of auditions that he will breeze right through. Clearly the “audition with the greatest of ease” gene skips a generation in this family.
Yes, the Sir Mixalot thing actually happened. And it was just as awesome as it sounds.