Saturday, January 30, 2010

Striving for prefection

Last night was the second of my two preview shows, and I’ll be honest, I think I did much better Wednesday night. I was definitely more “in the flow” and I know exactly why. Three things happened yesterday that pissed me off (beyond my usual state of perpetual annoyment) (just made up that word) and I’m simply not yet such a polished performer that I can separate my own emotions from what I project on stage.

It’s not like anyone said to me afterward, “Gee, Linda, you seemed a little angry up there” or anything like that. On the contrary, lots of people told me they really enjoyed it and one woman named Patty, whom I never met before, positively gushed with praise. But I could tell I just wasn’t hitting my mark.

I’m know I’m being hard on myself and what pisses me off the most is that I let those three things—let’s be truthful, I’m actually talking about three people—get to me to the point that I feel it affected my performance. I let them fuck with the thing that’s most important to me right now, and I’m madder at myself than any of them. How dare I give them that power?

Believe me, it wasn’t a total disaster or anything, and after the show I was thrilled to meet two people from the blogosphere: Donna B, who writes Mystical Journeys, a beautifully touching chronicle of her father’s (and her family’s) struggle with Alzheimer’s, and Tricia, a blog reader from Champaign, Illinois, who is here visiting Vegas with her friend, Diann. Yes, thrilled is the word.

In addition to the fact that I need to find someway to find my flow even when I’m not quite feeling it, I realized something else last night: I’m not going to hit it out of the ball park every time. I hate that realization. I want a home run or nothing and that’s just not realistic, is it?

I think that’s why it’s easy to talk ourselves out of working toward a goal; we expect perfection right out of the gate and get overwhelmed by that prospect, and so we give up before we take the first step. We need to remember that all creative endeavors evolve over time; I know that my show will be tweaked some more before it starts its regular run next month, and it will morph more and more with each passing month. (God willing it runs for many.)

The nicest comment I heard last night was from that woman Patty. She said something like, “You’re doing God’s work,” words that made me well up as I remembered them in bed last night. And that’s what really matters, right? When you’re doing God’s work, you’ll totally be forgiven if you flub a line or two. It’s more important that you just do it.


Lorna said...

Amen, sistah. And it's good to have to deal with the less-than-prefection thing once in a while. Makes you appreciate the good times even more!

JeannetteLS said...

Had a counselor who told me "Perfection is an irrelevant and ridiculous goal." I loved her! And if people enjoyed your show, then it hit THEIR mark, whether or not it hit yours... and I would think, in the entertainment business, that counts for more. I DO love seeing other people who are inanely, insanely hard on themselves. God's work. Being true to ourselves and our callings.

I got a book in the mail! Signed and everything with the absolutely obligatory F'd up name! Thank you. I don't give a rat's ass about the name. And isn't Donna wonderful? JUST wonderful?

I was brave enough yesterday to start writing the more difficult parts of my life--and doing that is partly from YOU and from Donna and a few others.

You aren't gonna get easier on yourself, I'm sure, but leave that to the rest of us, while you get into your own groove--a place where good enough IS good enough and a home run is an absolute high for you, not just your audience.

Just congratulations again, Linda Lou. My middle name, for the record? Louise. Later.

Jeannette, Jeanette, Jeanet, Janette, Jetty, and ME said...

The greatest pieces of art are those with flaws. I love watching a comedian crack up at their own jokes or forgetting or flubbing a line. It lets me know that they are human. You are throw away the perfectionist hat and have fun doing God's work and doing it well.

Debbie said...

linda, the topic of this post is so coincidental ... jump on over to my blog if you wanna read about someone beating themselves up. I read your blog the other day when you were prepping for your show and were very excited and i remember feeling to myself ... WOW ... she's doing it. What courage! What self-confidence! And I felt inspired and envious at the same time. I wanted to comment but didn't ... just didn't know how to convey those two emotions without coming off as negative or a crybaby. What I wanna say to you is GO GIRL!!!!! YOU'RE DOING IT!!!! And for someone like me that is COMPLETELY INSPIRING. How many people have the courage, the chutzpah to get up on a stage and try to make people laugh?!
And you're doing it. And if it's any encouragement at all, there is one little blogger out here in cyberspace who is thinking about you and pushing myself forward ... because of you.
keep up the good fight!

Donna B. said...

OK Linda, now here this: All those people in the audience? The ones you want to make laugh, touch, and share? Very few, if any can or ARE doing what you are CUT YOURSELF A BREAK! Also, as I told you after the show, no one knows but you that you weren't as "on" as you wanted to be. As long as you walk out on that stage and genuinely do your best, you ARE hitting it out of the park!!! There will be days like Wednesday, when you get the went beyond your expectations...and those nights are blessings. You are boldly and sincerely sharing your life, and if more people did that, this world would not be so uptight about somebody finding out their deep dark secrets. You defuse so much when you talk about it. I, and plenty of others in your "fan club" believe in you and want to smack you when you get so hard on yourself! Hugs to you and to your talented presence on stage!

Julie D said...

Don't be so hard on yourself, babe. You're going to have a lot of "off" nights in this venture. It's the nature of the beast. But trust me, the only one who will know it is you.

Chin up and tits out. You're rockin' this show.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Oh, you girls are too good. Thank you!

@ Jeannette: Yep, Donna is just wonderful!

Hurricane Mikey said...

It's tough being a 'prefectionist'. Somebody's always looking to take you down a peg...

Anonymous said...

Ditto Julie exactly!!!

I'm sure you did great!!!!

Elizabeth Patch said...

Every time you get up on stage, you ARE hitting a mark! Post some on youtube for those of us that can't get to Vegas

I Hate to Weight said...

bravo. all around.

gayle said...

I am a perfectionist and it has kept me from doing a lot of things!! I have heard great things about your show!!

Rochelle said...

Yes, you have a gift, Linda, of relating your story so that others who have experience or felt the same things don't feel so alone and of making people laugh! That is God's work definitely!