Later today–maybe as you are reading this, I will complete Level 2 of my solo show class by standing on stage in a tiny theatre in New York, presenting my piece in front of an audience. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years. Years I tell you!
I first signed up for Level 1 over 7 years ago. At the time, I planned to move right on to Level 2 which ends with a presentation (what I’m finishing now) but it didn’t happen. Life got in the way.
Or I got in the way because it felt too scary or too hard or I didn’t have any idea what I would write or if I had anything worth writing about, or anything that anyone would want to spend 20 minutes watching.
Last fall, I signed up for Level 1, again. Helpful! I appreciated the refresher, the new teacher, the new group of interesting classmates. Then I signed up for Level 2.
Now, I’ve done some scary things in the last 7 years. I’ve learned some pretty juicy things through being coached and coaching others.
But guess what? It felt scary. I didn’t know what to write or how to do it. I thought, who am to get up in front of people and ask them to look at me and listen to me for 20 minutes? Who am I to claim this space?
What if I fall flat on my face, blank on every line or fart really loudly, like one of those long sing-songy ones that goes up at the end like a question? What if I stand there with my metaphoric bare ass hanging out doing something I care about and I bomb?
And then you know what I thought? BRING IT ON SISTER!
You know why? I can’t lose! Either I will get up there and walk into the center of that fire and discover it doesn’t annihilate me like some part of me thinks it might, or I’ll get up there and hit it out of the park or I’ll get up there and some other in-between thing will happen but ultimately, it won’t matter because I will stay right there with myself, no matter what.
THAT is the triumph! Staying with myself! Not ‘leaving’ because of some thought or sensation that I believe is wrong for what I’m doing.
I did one little thing at a time. I wrote 10 minutes a day. That was doable, sustainable. If it ended up being more (which is often was), great!
I showed up for class. I read what I wrote. I got feedback. I went home and cut things, added things, discovered things. I went back to class (Wash. Rinse. Repeat.) bringing the uncertainty, the fear, the doubt, and the excitement, the interest, and the fun.
Come on, I said. Everybody on the bus! Let’s go put on a show!
What’s happening over there in your life?
Is there something you once wanted to do? Something you once started? Something you still think about? What might it look like to pick it back up, turn it around, feel where its warm, see where it shines.
We are all here to claim our space. We stop ourselves when we believe we’ve lost our chance, when something precious feels out of order or shattered beyond repair.
Pick up that broken piece. See how it still catches the light. Listen. What wants to happen next?
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” –Anton Chekhov