I don’t do things that scare me or make me uncomfortable too very often. I keep meaning to fix that, but I’m so busy with all the things that are inside my comfort zone I often forget to go ahead and take a chance on something Out There.
And I mean, everyone is full of the “do one thing that scares you every day” like that’s so easy. Like there aren’t really good reasons for why it’s scary. You’re being told to take risks, to gamble and take chances – the people who tell you that certainly aren’t the ones who are going to take the financial hit or lose the relationship or damage their health if things don’t work out.
But still. There is no growth without losing some skin, right? The world you have built up around you was once scary itself, and eventually became the status quo, also became the stagnation trapping you in place. At least that’s how it tends to go for me.
I was thinking about this last night, sitting on a workout-type paid-hangout-with Grey deLisle-Griffin. It’s really tough sometimes to tell the difference between when I’m holding back due to nerves, fears that I’ll screw up and everyone will hate me (or more likely I’ll be awkward and everyone will think I’m weird (and not worth working with)), and when the hesitation is actually practical, when I can’t squeeze out the time or I can’t afford it or (hardest of all) I’m not ready.
And DAMN the last one is the hardest, because so much of being “ready” is just nerve. Sheer confidence often trumps actual skill, particularly in performance. Which is not to say that skill and talent aren’t valued – quite the opposite. The quality of talent can determine what kind of a career you have, but your boldness will be the make or break point of actually having a career.
When I went on mic in front of Grey it was hard to figure out which affected me more, performance nerves or the frosty cold booth. (Grey commented on shaking my voice as if it were intentional…um it wasn’t an affect, it was effect but I don’t know what caused it.) I decided to go with a character I’ve worked on before – ethereal, calm, wise – knowing that the challenge there is to get the life as big as any wacky, loud goofball.
The greater challenge was actually to put on a very slight British accent. I wanted the character to have a polished sound, articulated and enunciating properly. Right away Grey came back with instruction to put on a British accent. I just wanted a “proper” sound, but I didn’t want to go full on Emma Thompson simply for fear of screwing up.
It’s continually a lesson to me when the note I’m given is to play a note I started out with for myself. It’s like I’m waving at a place I want to go to and the direction comes back “Go to that place.” Why didn’t I do that from the beginning?
So. I’m never allowed to forget Grey offhandedly tossing out “the British accent is great” without a second thought and then moving on to other things. It was fine. I was fine.
Fear is stupid.