Performance Anxiety

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I work in an interesting place. Almost everyone I work with has some sore of talent. I’m not kidding. Artists, singers, dancers, actors. You name it, someone here can do it, has done it or is a master at it. It’s awe-inspiring and totally intimidating. We have a fun little evening event here for the adults where we can “perform.” There are snacks, adult beverages and good times to be had by all. I want so badly to be talented and to be able to showcase said talent.

Now, I know exactly what you are thinking! Katie – you have talent! You can do things! Um. I cannot. We laughed at length yesterday at the lunch table about our skills and acts we could perform. Sarah, our comedic lunch partner joked about doing Harriet, Sweet Harriet from So I Married an Axe Murderer. We cheered and encouraged her to do so. It would be epic.  If you have not seen this movie – do it. Snow day tomorrow. Netflix it.

Per usual, I continued to have the conversation with myself as the day wore on. And also probably with Lauren. What am I signed up to do? NOTHING. I have no talent. Now, you say, that is crazy. Being able to put my pants on one leg at a time does not a talent make. Ok. Sometimes it can count.

To prove my point, here are some highlights:

I love to sing. In my car. At my desk. At my house. All the time. In my head, I’m a total singing BAMF. A clear indication that I am not the singer that I am, my boss will walk into my office and tell me not to quit my day job. Don’t care. I sing from the heart! But I will not be getting up in front of my colleagues to belt out a jaunty tune.

Have you ever heard of Janet Jackson? That’s Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty? Well – guess who thinks they dance JUST like her? S’right. Me. What about those years and years of dance lessons? Ok. Way to call me out on that one. There were like 5 years of lessons. Probably. I can’t actually remember. And I started when I was like 3 or 4. The ONLY reason I can even remember wanting to dance was because my sister took dance and during her recital she got to wear this weird, frilly, sequined white and pink get up with this weird Pope hat and I thought “I MUST HAVE THIS.” Basically I took dance so I could wear the recital clothes. I’m pretty sure if the orange and purple one still fit me I would wear it. AND you could wear make-up on stage? Count me in. But, alas, my dance career was short lived. And I can’t keep a beat.

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Speaking of keeping the beats – what about my years as first chair flute player in band? Yeah. You heard it here first. First chair, baby. For like a week. Let’s be honest. I was not good. I honestly think it was because my teacher tried to do me a solid and help me out. That’s what you get when you have the world’s biggest sneeze without a tissue into your hand on the first day of school…#foreverawkward

Now, I suppose you can say that I am confident-ish. There are times when I think I am really good at things but really am not. Sometimes (most of the time) this is when I have enjoyed a few libations but some occur during a regular day.

Example 1: Cutting hair

A few weeks ago, I stumbled into my good friend Little D’s office. Our other friend was in there and I commented on how long and beautiful her hair looked. She popped up and was like “Great! Can you cut it? Even it out a bit?” She abruptly left the office only to return a nanosecond later with a rusty old pair of scissors*  and said “Have at it.” Now, this is that moment when a normal person would have been like, Naw…That’s ok. I’m really not equipped to do that. OR Explain to me exactly what you would like for me to even out? OR Do you have a sharper pair of scissors? Guess who DIDN’T do that. You are correct, sir. I immediately was like, “Yeah. I got this. Let’s do it.” Halfway into my quite sizable chunk of hair, Dana exclaimed in a most gentle of ways, “Wow. Seems like you sure are cutting a lot.” At that same moment, Little D is telling me “Don’t stop now!” So, I kept at it. I felt this surge of power. It was so intoxicating. But then I finished. Things I didn’t do: ask Dana to take her hair out of a pony tail. Know how to cut hair. I am happy to report that Dana and I are still friends.

*not actually rusty and old.

Example 2: Weird things.

My sister, who is my best friend in the whole wide world is notorious for starting an activity with the line, “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” This also includes picking me up from high school (I am confident this also helped secure my dork-standing) with her best friend driving while she hung out of the window and played the TRUMPET. I could hear them coming for miles. Among Colleen’s brilliant ideas that she continues to deny even being the mastermind behind include ruining my mom’s dates. I can keep a straight face and often am the one that is chosen to execute these adventures while she lays in a heap laughing so hard she would cry. I used to dress up in crazy outfits and completely cover my face in makeup. With my familial background of clowns, I feel as though this is fitting role for me. I would hold intense conversations with these folks as though NOTHING weird was going on. Sorry, Mom.

What this lack of talent means is that I will not be performing at coffee house. Except, I will be singing your song along with you (quietly) and tapping my toes and cheering you on. And being surprised by your talents (who knew you could do that?). And envious. And proud of my friends and your bravery that allows you to put yourself out there. As for the rest of us, my other talentless buddies, you be you. I like you just the way you are.

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One thought on “Performance Anxiety

  1. Mary

    First of all, I remember a mutual friend who had a sore talent which she described to us in gruesome detail. Ok now I’ll go read the post

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