Shrinking Apology

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The shrinking apology is my goal.

That is, I want to stop apologising, especially in ways that cause me to shrink. See, I want everyone to know that I know my own faults before they judge me. For some reason, I think that they will judge softer when they know that this isn’t my best work, that I had a cold, that I know I could be better, etc, etc. But the truth is that I need to be able to stand by my work and expand my shrinking self.

I suppose in part this is because the very work we do as artists is vulnerable and exposed. And rather than feel exposed, I’d prefer to share a nice hard shell that is already justifying and defending any issues that could come up. “Ha, I know you aren’t going to like my work and here are three reasons why.”

This hard turtle shell exterior doesn’t help me though. In my own mind, it reinforces my smallness, my inadequacies, my failures.

So to counteract this I have been practicing just being out there, no excuses. Submitting self-tapes (auditions that you tape on your own and submit to a casting director directly or via your agent) with no apologies — such as — “well, I have other takes” “sorry for the lighting” “I could have done this differently” “it was early in the morning” “excuse my allergies” “I know the words aren’t perfect” “I could be stronger” “I can do it again” “sorry if this isn’t good enough” (the list goes on and on). At the moment, I usually write an email full of apologies and then re-read it, and hesitantly start editing out the apologies. Then I get my husband to read it and he edits even more!

I no longer want to shrink with every apology, so now I’m working on shrinking my apologies and though I feel more exposed, I am also telling my artist self that “I stand by your work. We may not be perfect, but we are trying our best and can be proud of what we share.” This is where I am at. Recognizing when I am apologising and belittling myself is a huge step. Editing it out of my emails and conversation and body language is the next step. And after that is celebrating my imperfect offerings and standing by them with pride. Whooeee, that feels scary! It also feels empowering and enables me to take more artistic risks. After all, it is those very imperfections that make us unique. That make us, well, perfect.

#shrinktheapologynottheself

I Flit, I Float, I Fly

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Getting the opportunity to do what you love, to live a dream, can feel a bit like flying. At times you bask in that feeling of soaring, of being fully in your skin, fully and wholly who you were meant to be. At other times you feel the terror of the unknown or the judgement of looking back at what you’ve done so far – “Oh I should have lifted that wing a bit further. What if they are disappointed in my flight? I can do it better, I promise.” But what is the true takeaway from the experience is that feeling of soaring, right? That is what actually matters. Not what others thought of your flight, not what you thought of the flight, but how you felt in the midst of it, in the knowledge that you were exactly where you were meant to be. As much of the perfectionist shell that I have already shed, there are still little roots/weeds of wanting to get things “right” that pop up from time to time. Luckily, I know the truth. Time after time it has been proven to me that imperfection is the open door to possibility. Imperfection has gotten me jobs. Imperfection makes us relatable and human. Imperfection is a beautiful gift, so let’s just embrace it.