I woke up this morning with that old familiar feeling – discomfort, unease that steadily grew as my mind started to imagine the worst.
- No one would show up at the auditions.
- No choreographer would be interested in working with me.
- People would ask me questions about what I wanted and I’d be unable to answer.
- There would be no show to open in October!
The fear just grew and grew. There was no stopping the growing wave of panic. It became this whirling swirling mass of frenetic energy that spun around and around.
I took myself to the beach to walk which often helps calm me down. But even there, it did not ease up. Instead with each step I could feel the band tightening around my head, my legs turning to jelly, my breathing growing shorter and shorter. A vise tightened around my throat.
Sure, my rational self knew that was all ridiculous. I tried to ‘tell myself’ this was all in my head – that I lived in the actor’s capital of the world. That there were probably more performers here than the entire state of Michigan. But that did not help.
So having recently learned that it takes only 90 seconds for emotions to move through the body, and it is only the loop in our heads that makes them live on, I decided to give in. I decided to just let myself feel the fear take me over and focus on each part of my body as I acknowledged that we were freaking out.
I tell you true, I actually had to lie down in the sand as I let it wash over me. At first, I tried to force the calming with my breathing, but that did not work. So I stopped. I let myself have the time to let it work its own way thru. I felt the cold sand beneath my back. Listened to the waves at my feet. I placed my hands on my heart and my belly and slowly, very slowly LET my breathing find its rhythm.
It worked… My breathing slowed and deepened. My body settled. My mind quieted. There were little wisps that rose up, but it was essentially over.
It is ironic, and yet perfect that I should have this reaction after having successfully funded my Kickstarter with over 90 backers. In hindsight – that might have been the easy part of this journey!
But what I decided as stepped into this project was that it was not about ‘Opening Night.’ It was about every single step along the way in which I grew and explored and deepened – accepting both the blessings and the terrors. I’m pretty certain that this morning will not be the last time my fears go viral on me. But what I discovered is that in letting her have her way with me, acknowledging that she was taking over for a little while, I accepted all parts of me. I did not pretend there was no fear. Did not try to talk myself out of the fear. Just let it rip through and be done.
So even though I’m not quite sure where my actresses will come from, or which choreographer might align with me, I am doing what has gotten me this far: Trusting and taking one step at a time.