I talk the talk, but to be honest I don’t walk the walk. If anything I’d much prefer to ride a bus or a train or a cab.
I say I run to keep fit, but the truth is I don’t even run; I walk. I like to blow myself up, but really it’s all made-up.
And even talking about make-up, as a sign of how lazy I am, I bought good make-up and stopped worrying about my face. Rather than try, y’know, to keep it clean and clear and aim for a Korean complexion, I relaxed and just thought: ehh, never mind the pimples, I’ll just wear make-up when I perform.
I just explained what I’d heard to someone: performance is the ultimate mirror. Maybe it’s more an endoscope than a mirror. When you improvise, you have no material but what’s inside you, and you turn your insides into raw inspiration and firmament, building your world with your secrets and thoughts and feelings and shit and organs and flesh and blood and heart. With nothing, you can only draw from within, and what comes out is terrifying because it is you, it was in you all along, and what you may have to confront is what is inside you and has been all along.
The hardest truths to confront are the lies you tell yourself.
I think one thing that I do have going for is this: I have, through some luck, some good habits.
Thousands of terrible ones, of course, but there are some good ones. Giving a shit. Attempted efficiency and optimization. Shamelessness in asking people for their opinions.
I don’t deny; I am antisocial. On the one hand I recognise it as a truly destructive problem; waiting at a bus-stop, I would intentionally stand out-of-sight and behind a pillar rather than walk up to the acquaintance and start chatting. I have; I did, just this week. I hide everything behind sudoku on my phone and podcasts in my ears. The podcasts itself are a manifestation of the crippling symptoms of antisociality; craving people and voices and thoughts and stories, I turn to canned spam, substitute mock meat, listening to pre-recorded conversations and pretending that I’m having some, any, at all.
On the other hand, there’s this crippling fear of crowds and people and intimacy and others. People hurt, and I’m never sure of the rules for associating or dissociating. I panic, I’m awkward, and when things are unclear I always mess and bungle things up.
A comedian once put it this way: performers are messed up, and you can tell. You can tell because in a theatre, in a pub, there’s five hundred people seated facing one way and the performer’s the only idiot looking in the wrong direction, onstage, lit by lights and everyone else looking. There’s something in the truth that people are moved to perform because they crave the attention and validation from the audience, and imagine they can find love and happiness and satisfaction from it.
Some of them do.
And maybe it’s a symptom of my own brokenness that I take to performing naturally; not because of all the attention-seeking and crying-out-to-people-to-love-me, but simply because the lines are very clear, and demarcated by footlights and elevated platform. It’s the perfect social interaction medium for someone who worries about them #blurredlines. The place where there is no question about the rules; you get up there and make them laugh, then come downstairs and **** off. You don’t have to talk to them before, and you can talk to them after once they’re laughed out and they already love you. No sweat.
Stage. Audience. Lit. Darkness. One. Many. Wrong way. Right way. Putting it all out there, risking it, taking a chance, safe in the herd?
Not for me. I’m safest onstage.
Basically tl;dr today I got reamed. My career — really more of a careen — has been befraught. I could blame the environment, easily, there’s tons of trials and tribulations and more bullshit than in the Augean Stables that Hercules needs to clean out, but the feedback has all been about me.
The feedback has been largely negative.
It’s not been wrong, I don’t think. I don’t deny the intellectual laziness or the fatigued cynicism and general displeasure or angriness. Maybe Michael Jackson was right; you gotta start with the man in the mirror, and when life gives you crap by gee golly jeepers you gotta find a way to squeeze lemon juice out of it. And even now I’m not admitting to my mistakes, doing a sort of half-assed guilt-trippy passive-aggressive “Yeah, I’m shit, but they’re assholes!” shtick. That’s probably a fault, too, not calling people out on their honestly negative practices and incredibly draining, discouraging environment.
It would be easy to give up. So easy; and frankly it seems the much better option to leave gracefully (and accursed) than to try again. Why fight the rising tides and the crashing waves on a sinking ship?
What do I do? Help.