Performing. It’s something we all do. It’s something we hate. It’s something we love. It’s something that comes subconsciously, naturally, into everything. But why? Most of us don’t even realize it or acknowledge it.
I read a blog by a friend, if I can even call him that, that talks about this performance culture that so many of us are surrounded by. Here’s a link, he’s better than I am anyway: https://adamamanse.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/seeking-originality-and-finding-yourself/. See, performance.
We compare ourselves to everyone, in one way or the other. I’m short. I’m not thin. I don’t look like the girls who all the guys talk about. I’m a writer. I write poetry and music, but I share more poetry than music, because that’s something I thought I was the best at. I couldn’t handle when I found out I knew spoken word artists that might be more talented than I am. I rarely played music for people I didn’t know because my voice isn’t amazing, I don’t sound like the musicians that people want to listen to. I didn’t try out for plays or play sports anymore when I got to college. Why? Because I was embarrassed. I didn’t want people to laugh at me if I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want people talking about me. Performance.
I had a new friend say that I hide myself. She asked me why. People in Mammoth don’t realize that I’m a musician. They don’t all know that I write a blog. They don’t care. I never really thought anyone cared. People are surprised when they find out that I started leading worship when I was fourteen. They’re surprised that it’s something that I’ve done before. People are surprised when I do spoken word anywhere. I get embarrassed when someone calls me out about it, so they assume I don’t like it, that I’m afraid, but that’s not true at all.
I am in love with performing spoken word. I am not in love with performing to prove something. I don’t have to be better. Maybe I am better. Literally, no one cares, do they? Not in the real world. Performance.
I wonder if this is maybe one of the reasons the I ended up back in Mammoth. I don’t have to perform here. I can be whoever I want for a while. If someone hears that I play guitar or piano or write music, they’re not expecting me to be amazing, or not amazing, or anything. They’re just interested that I do anything at all. A guy I used to work with for some reason believes I’m the best. But I know that he didn’t go to college where there were so many musicians, and I never felt good enough.
Maybe I came home so I can believe that I’m good again. When I inspired other people in college to start writing poetry and doing spoken word, they got offended when a friend of mine said I was the best poet he knew. But that was my whole life then. It’s what I thought I would end up doing. And maybe it still is. Being a poet in that kind of culture made me feel like I was always in competition.
But life is not a competition! No one cares! Stop performing! Get it together, people!
I am good at what I do. And other people are good at what they do. If you want to write, then just write. If you want to perform, then just perform. Stop focusing on everyone else.
Maybe I came home so that I can get away from performing for a while. The culture here is still a performance culture, I just don’t do any of the things that people are competing against each other for. I’m not a great snowboarder, and I know that, and that’s not my life. I don’t go to bars to find guys. I don’t feel like I have to be the best. I don’t have to perform.
I think the next step might be learning to love what I can do. I don’t need to be so concerned with what everyone else thinks. Because although they care, they really don’t care. And maybe I needed that for a while. Performance.