I woke up last night from a nightmare.
I had gone to bed early; so early that I assumed I couldn’t possibly sleep off the whole 17 hours before the next day’s 8:30 audition call time. In the nightmare, however, I did. Not only did I sleep more than ten hours, a feat I don’t believe physically possible for me, but I slept for 19 and woke up at noon, having missed the audition by a whole three hours.
I woke up from the nightmare and frantically checked my iPad next to my head, while noticing a lack of even dimmed natural light coming into my room through my windows. The clock told me it was 11:30 p.m. I found it rather ironic.
This week provided more of an emotional roller coaster than I’ve experienced in a long time, maybe in my whole life. Between auditioning for a non-vocal music performance group for the first time, performing in my first dance performance, having craziness happen within my personal life and having my last day as an editor happen, this week took me from some very low depths to some very high pinnacles. I’m still riding the emotion of the last 48 hours, which involved such a series of good news that I can’t even explain it. The audition results, though likely something I’m allowed to discuss, are ones I’ll be careful not to in great depth yet, but for the moment, I don’t count that audition as one for one specific show, so for the moment, I haven’t technically auditioned for a single performance. However, regardless of which way that went, I’ll just say that performing in that first performance and noticing the silence in my life and the newfound freedom of not needing to be attached to my phone like an editor for 24 hours-a-day was a joy that I’m still coming to realize. The comfort I felt in dance class that day when I realized that I didn’t get totally lost with every new dance step or sequence, the joy of knowing that even on Sunday I wouldn’t have to worry about what ran in the paper Monday. The joy of those two things alone left me breathless, relieved in a way that caused me to ask to be alone for a few days from even my girlfriend so that I could get used to having all the conflicting emotions in my head at once that have been introduced in the last 48 hours.
Of course, there also remain nerves. Today is the first day, in just a few hours actually, that I’ll formally audition for one specific show: Springdance 2015. It’s a good kind of nerves, not a ‘fearful’ type, but more of a “I can’t wait to see how this works!” type of nerves. It’s not fear, because to call it that would imply that, to some degree, I live my life in fear, and that’s something I refuse to accept in notion or in practice. There’s a difference between being anxious and being afraid. Both cause a person to be nervous, but anxious has a positive connotation; it means being excited and a little apprehensive about what you’re about to do.
I’m very apprehensive. I audition today because I feel obligated to, both because I gave one of the best dancers I know my word that I would try out, and because I feel personally obligated for other reasons. To say I actually “want” to audition, though might be going to far. Though I won’t likely be a great dancer at the end of next semester, I’ll surely be better, and I wish I could wait one more semester before giving both the teachers present today a first glimpse of me. I’ve met both, talked to both, but neither has seen me dance very much, if at all. Today will be where I make my first impression on them, and I wish I had time to wait one more semester to improve before making that impression, whatever it ends up being. One of them is my Ballet teacher next semester, a person I’ll get to know while my own takes sabbatical, so by the end of next semester she’ll know me a lot better anyway. But today will show her, in some sense, what she’s working with physically from me, and that’s something I’m a little anxious about, maybe even a little fearful of. I’m also apprehensive of the fact that this will be the first time I audition with some really amazing dancers who specialize in styles I haven’t even begun to learn yet, let alone master, one of being that friend I promised I’d audition. This will by my first impression on some of them as a dancer too, at least regarding those who haven’t taken class with me yet.
Between it all, I’m rather nervous about today. I have to believe I can dance a little bit at least. I’ve spent a year doing this and this semester I feel like I really turned a corner in how comfortable I felt, just moving in general. I can dance to random songs in my apartment (with all the blinds closed and the lights off so nobody can see me of course) and feel more comfortable than I’ve ever felt just hearing the music and knowing where to put emphasis. I’m more comfortable with that, a lot more than I was a year ago and a lot more than I was even back in August at the beginning of the semester. So between what I’ve seen from myself and what I’ve been told, I have to believe I’m not a total disaster. I’m just new.
That doesn’t mean I’m not a little intimidated though. I know I’m not where these others are, and I won’t dare to allow myself to even think of it as something competitive, that’s not the angle I’m taking on this. What slightly intimidates me more than the idea that who I’m performing for today, is the idea that I’m actually at a college level, having just started this whole dancing practice and I get to share a stage with people capable of stuff like this. I’ve seen these performers, and I know they’re amazing. I’ve seen many of them perform multiple times (the dance division does two annual shows, one per semester). Yet here I am, a guy who is still trying to figure out how he fits in to all this and who just started dancing this year, sharing a stage with these guys and girls. With these athletes! It’s like being an NFL rookie at the Pro Bowl or an NBA rookie at an All Star game. It’s that feeling you get when you look around and see the players you grew up watching and getting that sense of being awestruck just before you realize that you are here to play in the same game as them. Or that moment you’re a small business owner of some local mom-and-pop restaurant in your home town that just got in to the Fortune 500 category, so you go to an owners meeting and you see people like Bill Gates there, and you just can’t stop thinking “Oh my gosh…I’m here? Little old me?!” How I feel is a lot like that.
Of course I’ll do what I can to confine those nerves to the page for the time being. Something I realized yesterday was that my confident side is strong. I’m able to go into a place excited and push my nerves to the back of my mind and just go for it. I didn’t realize I could do that, maybe it’s a new skill I learned recently. So I’ve been devoting mental energy to practicing self-control over that stuff. Controlling when I feel giddy and cheesy and excitedly anxious like a little kid and suddenly flipping it off, at least the appearance of that side of me, and going forth into something with at least the appearance of confidence.
At home, around close friends, and in my writing I’ll allow myself to blush at the amazingness of what’s going on in life now. To contemplate all the wonderful things coming to fruition and to just let myself dream and get excited and get nervous and to be overwhelmed by it all. To visualize all that is happening or will happen behind closed doors that relates to me and to dream about how it all happens, to think about in excitement all the wonderful experiences likely to happen next semester I just don’t get in my own way. To anticipate and dream big, and hope without limits.
But out in public, out with people I’m not yet real confident with or that I’m not sure are ready to know my full cheesy side, I’ll be careful to display the confident, relaxed side of me that I just realized I have, regardless of how it contrasts with what I’m feeling inside.
At least…that’s the goal :).