For the past two months I have been struggling with two events and their consequences. I have been trying to ignore it, I couldn’t put my finger on what the feeling was, and I presumed it would go away. But I’m pretty sure that the only way I can find what it is that I’ve lost is to really talk this through…
The first thing that happened was, a personal thing, something which made me rethink basically EVERYTHING in my life. I felt I had lost control on every string which tied me together. It was ages since I had performed, I hadn’t applied for any new festivals, filled out any proposals, I was just waiting in limbo. At the same time, I became very aware of how much weight I have put on, that I had been single for a year, that my social life centered around a handful of people, places and things.
Basically, this was not the adventure I had first planned when I moved to Manchester, nor was it the reimagined Mancunian life I had hoped to return to after Christmas.
I started getting panicky, but I took a few deep breaths and began to take back control. I started dieting, looking for new opportunities, socializing more, and basically refocusing my energy.
A lot of that energy was pinned on going down to London to perform. It was a big achievement for me, it was something to get excited about, to remind myself of. Something that was going to mark the end of this weird anxious period.
Well going down to London did not go how I had planned. In the first post I wrote about this whole experience I avoided focusing on the negatives and instead looked at it as a learning curve. But if I am being honest, I’m still not quite there yet.
If I’m honest, how badly I feel London went, how stressful it was, how much it did not live up to my expectations, how much it wasn’t the solution I thought it would be has stuck with me.
And while in my personal life all is swell, as a performer, I have lost something.
I’ve lost that excitement of going on stage. Of getting up there and doing my thing. I don’t see performing as a happy place at the moment, because I don’t want to expect too much, after all that is the best way to avoid disappointment isn’t it?
Instead of the butterflies and adrenalin that I normally use to fuel my performance, before going out recently, I’ve felt anxious. I’ve been focusing on emergency routes, fall back plans. Predicting how things could go wrong.
Now that might sound like a very sensible thing to do on the one hand, and of course it is. But not when that is getting in the way of excitement.
As a performer I run on energy, it is what makes my work make sense. I normally have a nervous energy that is charming, and infectious, recently I’ve had that type of nervous energy that makes people uncomfortable.
Or at least that is how I feel my performances have been recently. Of course, I am my own biggest critic, and others have reassured me that I have nothing to be embarrassed about.
So this is my conclusion. I have lost my excitement, I don’t run on adrenalin, I don’t reach a high. I just feel flat, even if to an audience my performance doesn’t.
I’m now turning my metaphorical house upside down looking for it, I’m looking under and through old reviews, I’m moving boxes of old pictures, filing away bad experiences, and it is coming back. Now that I know what I’m looking for the search is basically over.
Even admitting this all outloud, I can feel butterflies, or at least hear them, I’m obviously getting closer.
Unfortunately the same can not be said for my mobile phone.