My Path to Creative Mastery WEEK 6
This is #6 out of the 52 weeks I will document my efforts of tap-dancing my way to mastering the creative process. (And all of the micro-skills that go with it!)
Can we talk for a moment about fear?
It came up a number of times this week.
I got accepted into a clown festival for a show that doesn’t yet exist. To be ready in 3 months. I get naked in it. I expose my family roots. It’s edgy. It’s going to offend.
Here is the write-up I proposed:
“Full of bold moves, masterful dance and hilarious wit, award winning comedy artist Candice Roberts hit’s the zeitgeist of our current cultural shift with her gender bending physical comedy. Sexy, stunning and uproariously funny, Get Lucky is a provocative take on the life of a simple “hoser’s” journey to becoming a better man.”
This is Larry. A character based on my upbringing.
It’s art! Ok? Not everyone is going to like it. But I think some people will love it. I also think some might hate it, and think I’m a complete weirdo.
Haha. I actually just laughed out loud. I’m writing in an Italian cafe full of old men speaking very loudly at each other in Italian. I am the only woman in here. I see a couple of card games happening and the occasional disapproving glance over to me. What is it? They must know that I’m writing about my weird show.
Did you notice that the write up says “full of masterful dance and hilarious wit”? Gulp. I see you there fear.
If there is one thing I’ve discovered of late is that fear is quite easy to encourage to move on.
Fear has a purpose. It’s purpose is to keep me safe. If I can take a moment to:
- assess the legitimate threats to my physical and emotional self
- acknowledge the fear without judgement
- surrender to the physical sensations in by body (by surrendering, I mean observing, witnessing, noticing.. what are the particular sensations?)
….then that’s all it really takes to move it on. Bye Bye fear, thanks for your concern of my safety!
Fear is a vital response to danger. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response. Taking a moment to assess, acknowledge, surrender and witness to the sensations can clear even the originating leftover trauma from the body. They say it is the fear of death that underlays all fears.
Am I afraid people will laugh at me? I’m a clown! Go ahead!
So maybe it is a fear people won’t understand me. That I will be misunderstood. That people won’t like me because of their misunderstanding. That I will be abandoned by my friends and loved ones. And because of this, I will die of depression.
I might die if I make this new show.
This summer I presented a show that got a 0 star review. Who gets a 0 star review? (I must also tell you here that on the same day I also received a 4 star review from a MUCH more reputable source).
I did cry for a minute in the women’s bathroom but then was supported by a stranger who became my friend. (I support crying in public places!)
That 0 star review actually gave my show some buzz and I became somewhat of a legend (in my own mind at least), among my theatre peers. Ryan Gunther, fellow comedian and theatre person reviewed the review I got:
“Clearly, there is a subtext to this review that we, the fringe-going and review-reading public, are not privy to.
Either the performer, one of her characters, or the show itself, broke his heart, stole his significant other, or murdered his childhood dog.
There is no other reasonable explanation for how a comedy show could make someone this angry. Confused, sure. Uncomfortable, most definitely. But even Big Bang Theory (or Owen’s go-to reference-point for unfunny: SNL) doesn’t make people angry. It just doesn’t make them laugh.
This is the worst review I’ve ever read, and I’ve read some terrible reviews. It does none of the things a review is supposed to and several things it very much shouldn’t. Since the seal on zero stars has now been cracked, I’m giving this NEGATIVE INFINITY STARS.”
I didn’t die. In fact, my boyfriend didn’t leave me over this and I still have lots of friends. Lots and lots of friends.
F#$k you fear.
But wait, I actually love you. If you are not actually keeping me safe from a real immediate threat to myself or loved ones, then you must be telling me that I am ON TO SOMETHING. aha… I see what you are doing!
Ever since I became 100% in loving acceptance of who I am and where I am at by acknowledging and witnessing negative emotions as soon as they arise in my otherwise pretty clear body, dealing with fear has become easier.
I haven’t always felt this way. I did spend a good amount of time at the beginning of this year crying and meditating and acknowledging and sensing and witnessing and surrendering a lot of GRIEF in my body. I think that I have cleared out a lot of leftover trauma from my body. For now anyway.
I used to believe that I was born into a sad body. So not true.
Grief comes with a possessive quality, a fear of loss and a refusal to let go. It comes with insecurity, abandonment, and helplessness. It can be triggered by a loss of a belief system, a relationship or hope about ourselves. It comes with feelings of sadness, loneliness, regret, longing, heartbrokenness, anguish, disappointment.. And so on…
In my body, it felt like a squishing of my heart, a weight on my chest and a choking in my throat. I went into it. I separated the physical sensations from the triggering thoughts and experienced those physical sensations to the fullest of my capacity. I did this until the feelings lifted. And they did.
We’ll see what happens should another experience trigger some other monster emotion to rear up it’s ugly head. I actually welcome it.
F#@K you fear! I love you! Bring it on, I’m cleanin’ house!
Fear, comes with a quickened heart and a shortness of breath. It can be stimulating, electrifying and exciting but also it can come with feelings of panic, paralyzation, worries, paranoia, and anxiety. (and and and… )
I see you fear. I see you and I acknowledge you.
I said yes to the clown festival. I’m booking my flight. I hired my tap teacher to choreograph me a dance piece. I tried out some new material in a new to me venue. I’m joining an all female clown work/play group (if they’ll have me). I wrote another blog. I made another not so perfect tap video of me in my process of where I am at.
F@#k you fear, I love you. Every time you get in front of me I’m going to look at you clearly and without judgement until you step aside. Thank you.
This week I found 8 hours to dedicate to my tap training. (Though, I tell you, I really wanted to focus on my new show, but I set aside a different time for that.) I discovered “metronome” on google. I love you metronome. I am committed to mastering this creative process. Only 9,455 hours of deliberate training to go!
This piece was learned from a youtube tutorial. It is presented as an exercise in moves from Fred Astaire’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz”.