So I’ve been thinking about my fears and what progress I’m making on facing them. Some of them are being faced regularly and others are much more nebulous. Drawing is one that I waver and come back to. Writing involves so much self motivation that I find it very difficult to get myself to cooperate on that particular goal, mostly though the fear facing continues in many small ways all the time. I ask questions I would have been afraid to ask a few months ago. I try activities I’m scared of and give myself permission to fail spectacularly. It’s all been a big growing experience and full of adjustments for me and those around me.
A while back I announced that I went and tried some improv with friends as part of a project a local psychologist is exploring. He had contacts with some theater folks and from there a small group of people willing to brush off some rusty improv skills emerged, of which I was one. The improv experience was scary but ultimately very positive. I got called out at one point for doing something wrong. I don’t actually recall what it was, but at the time it felt like a big deal. I kept going though and ended up having a great little run of improv with my friend, Bob Diven. I followed that up with a slightly less successful run with someone else but the success with Bob sandwiched between two less comfortable experiences reinforced to me that failure and success are not indicative of future success or failure. What goes perfectly one moment may flop the next and what’s going painfully may blossom into excellence. You just don’t know and you have to keep going in order to find out.
My friend, Gail Wheeler, was at the improv experiment with me and saw me working my way through it and was encouraging every step of the way. Cut to this Friday afternoon: I get a text from a friend who’s directing King Lear asking if I’d want to read for the part of Cordelia. I know that I said auditioning for something is on my list but this really threw me for a loop.
My initial reaction was a thundering “Hell no!” but I didn’t text back yet. I decided to think about it and I called Gail to let her know that I’d been asked about auditioning for the part. She said that she knew and she’d suggested me for the role, partly because of my work in improv. I told her how terrifying the thought of actually being cast is to me and she just said “Well, Scare Yourself Summer.” I told Neal, my boyfriend, after I got off the phone and said I was nervous and he reassured me it would be fine and to remember that it’s Scare Yourself Summer. I was at a birthday gathering tonight for a friend and when talking about my fear with her she also reminded me that this is Scare Yourself Summer.
I couldn’t believe the lack of kowtowing to my fears that was going on! Before this project, my fears would have been coddled and soothed as though I might bolt at any time but now I was being reminded of my own self imposed goals and encouraged to manage my fear. I felt a little bit like I’d really shot myself in the foot by getting this project out there in such a way that it’s now being thrown back at me when I’m tempted to run and hide. I was initially rather unhappy at the lack of coddling I was getting, but that transitioned to happiness that the project is developing its own momentum. If people are reminding me of the project and its goals without me prompting any of it, then the project is finding traction in people’s lives and making some kind of impact. That alone made me feel like I should be profoundly grateful for the reminders from others that fear is a just an emotion, not a premonition of oncoming disaster.
I finally did text back that I would read for the part and see how both the director and I felt after that. I haven’t read for it yet but I’ll keep you up to date about it. Thank you for all the support and encouragement you all have given and for helping this project become a success. You all help me to fear less and give more.