I never know when it will hit me. All it takes is one little comment, one casual glance, one set of eyes rolling at another…..one dismissal, by somebody you admire….one moment of perceived abandonment. I have performance anxiety.
Oh, not always. In fact, give me five thousand people, and a microphone, and I can have at it without notes.
But, mine is a deeply emotional affliction. And, it only occurs in the midst of a large group of musicians, on the concert stage. We call them orchestral solos and, as beautifully written as many of them are, they can send you to the brink of hell.
So, to anyone who ever feels a pang of jealousy or resentment of me, just remember this: Things are rarely as they seem. Dropping your pants in public takes everything you’ve got and, when you bare yourself naked, that tick can bite. When this happens, there’s nothing anybody can do.
Meditation, affirming self talk, is supposed to work. That is, if there is time for it. Plus, you need a secure society, a group of people who truly care for one another. This is called a family. When you don’t have a family, all you have is yourself and your perception of your value. And, that works – when you are alone, or when performance is not commanded of you. But, when it is time to put out in public, you face all the demons. And, yes; the demons a.l.w.a.y.s. show up. You see them in the faces of the wives of the husbands. You see them in the other musicians, the ones who want your seat. You see them in the colleague who finds you annoying. You see them in the mothers who wish they were single like you, all of them totally oblivious of your reality.
Aging is also a factor. In my case, though precipitating life events were the cause, the effects have been cumulative. And, when you reach that tipping point, it takes an enormous pole shift to right your ship. We all hope for that force to emerge, that life saver, the one that waves its wand and vaporizes all the vermin. Yeah, good luck with finding it. I thought I had, but this morning is another waking moment. And, today, I bring you this. It’s just a taste, but perhaps quite enough. See? Now, you know.
So, have a beautiful day. And, if there is anybody next to you in the bed, or waiting in the kitchen with breakfast, or hoping to meet with you later, remember to touch, and hold fast, and appreciate one another. Don’t command performance. Love is a notion, but sometimes it almost feels real and, if you have somebody, you have it all.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo
9/20/15 All rights those of the author. Permission to share granted, upon request. Thank you.