If this title made you cringe as it triggered a shitty highschool experience, read on. If it didn’t, read anyways because maybe it will still be interesting andalsoImlonelyandneedreaders.
I hear the term ‘anxiety’ used so much now that I’m not even sure what it is anymore. A simple google search gave me this as the first result:
noun: anxiety; plural noun: anxieties
While this description is all well and good, my mind doesn’t always process textbook definitions. Besides, definitions are always changing for social/political economic reasons. A few decades from now, our conception of anxiety may be completely different (this doc does a decent job at illustrating the point I am trying to get at: http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/episodes/age-of-anxiety).
Jenny Lawson (my latest idol) does a smashing job (she doesn’t really smash things…I don’t think) at describing the unlikely relationship between anxiety and performing (not performing as in performer performing, but public speaking is branched with performance i.e. presenting in front of an audience [PS I use a lot of brackets and here’s a bracket within a bracket to show that I’m aware of my bracket obsession]):
“Most people are afraid of speaking in public, but I am fine onstage and I can comfortably speak in front of a thousand people. The scary thing is not being onstage…the terror and dread is in the millions of potential problems getting to that stage. What if I get lost? What if someone recognizes me? What if no one does? Where do I hide until it’s time to go on? What if when I’m hiding people see the real me … the terrified me who is boring and strange and has frightened, panicked animal eyes until she’s onstage and knows she’s in the right place and has no other choice but to speak? Then the terror melts away for a few minutes because at least for those moments I don’t have to make decisions or wonder what my face is doing. I can relax because for that brief time I have no other choice but to breathe and move forward” (Furiously Happy, 237).
You go Jenny. Just know that if I ever get the opportunity to meet you it won’t be a real ‘meeting’, because being stalked by a fan would understandably make you nervous, and I would be too nervous to say anything, anyways.
I thought it would be fun to add my own definitions inspired by an anxious person who, curiously, adores performing for people:
1) Understudy Syndrome
-The sense that one is lesser than they are–due to social and/or self-judgment– when in actuality they are one of the most hardworking, undervalued members of the production (not to be confused with Upstage Syndrome, in which the individual suffers from an ego so large that it distorts their skills out of proportion).
2) Stage 1 Left-Right Disease
-An incessant jumbling of facts, dates, and/or instructions. Contrary to common belief, the information in and of itself is unnecessarily confusing and should not be solely blamed on the patient's ‘faulty’ memory.
3) Oedipus Complexophobia
-Obsessive fear of having an Oedipus Complex, i.e. assuming that one’s ideas are stupid and wrong despite how much others may want to see it onstage.
4) SAD (Second Act Disorder)
-A constant deflation of one's achievements, believing one could do better if given 'a second chance’.
5) Chronic Curtain Call Condition
-The moment one realizes that their pursuit as an actor is more difficult than anticipated, and that maybe your parents and pragmatic friends were right after all. The façade of getting lead roles easily in school is over, and even though you smile and bow as everyone cheers during curtain call, there is still that indeterminable itch in the pit of your stomach because you know that after this production, nothing is waiting for you and it could be months until you find work again (see existentialism, nihilism, absurdism).
And there you have it. My new terms. To be frank (No, really, I can be Frank. Cast me in whatever you like), something positive that has come out of this 'waiting' phase is that I get to be more reflective. I’ve had some valuable time to think about what it is that I truly want. I get to read more (currently juggling between A Short History of Progress by Ronald Wright and The Orenda by Joseph Boyden. Yay Can Lit.) and focus on my other interests, like writing. :)