Thursday, October 29, 2009

Guest Post: Lori

Lori was one of my good friends in high school, and I saw her a lot because we were in marching band together, had most of the same classes, and even got our first jobs at the same movie theater. She is super smart and has an artistic flair in everything she does. Lori lives in Texas with her husband and two adorable dogs; she currently works for the American Heart Association but her passions include cooking, gardening, and writing. --Miri

For as long as I can remember in my adolescent life, I have had stage fright. However, one of my fondest memories of my childhood was a day that my parents took me to some kind of fair and I was volunteered to be the lead in an impromptu play. In my young and innocent mind, I remember being brilliant, but then my adult brain takes over and tells me that that couldn’t possibly be so. Why is it that as we get older, we start putting so much emphasis on what other people think? For me, it gets to a point where I am actually holding back so much I make myself miserable. My husband and I were at the Shops at Legacy one night when there was a cover band playing on the street. For the most part, except for a select few that I am insanely envious of (my husband being one of them), all the adults were sitting, standing with crossed arms, or completely ignoring the music. But the children were a different story, dancing and thrashing about, having a grand ol’ time. And as much as I wanted to, I could not bring myself to move to the music.

I probably gave myself IBS during my first year at college, because as a music major, I was required to play—alone—on a stage, very frequently. To this day I’m not sure how I had the nerve to do so, but these were some of the most frightening and gratifying times in my life. I remember the nights before trying to come up with reasons to get out of the performance (breaking my own finger being one of them!). I also remember breaking out in a cold sweat right before I went on, trembling like that last leaf holding onto the branch for dear life before the barren winter takes hold of it. But then adrenaline and muscle memory takes over and before I know it, I'm playing my last note... and then, the beautiful applause. I would immediately start scrutinizing my mistakes, but as I look back on those performances I think, who would have known (other than my fellow flautists) that I had played the end note at forte instead of piannisimo?

One of my recent goals is to “speak” at a spoken word event at the Dallas Museum of Art. I’ve fantasized about doing so, and have even gone so far as to pick out a piece of prose to present. But just thinking about it makes my stomach flip. On the other hand, what kind of life am I living without experiencing stomach flipping events? Am I just taking the safe road through life? Perhaps these are the experiences that really define me as a person... and I'm sure in 40 years if I never take the risk I will sincerely regret it.


Lin said...

Well, Lori, you are doing far better than I am, that is for sure. I'm terrified of public speaking (and even a little scared of speaking in front of a group of children) and I pretty much do nothing to change that. I probably should work on it. haha.

Also, I kind of love how that picture of you matches our blog colors (see the blue in the earrings?). I'm a nerd like that.

Miri said...

Whenever I have given talks or taught lessons in church, I have always been so scared that my hands were shaking and I could barely breathe. (I used to borrow Megan's fuzzy pink notebook to stroke before I went up to teach, because it was comforting.) I was always terrified the whole time. But almost every time I finished, people would come up and tell me what a great public speaker I am, and how I didn't look nervous at all. So the moral of the story is that sometimes, we might be totally terrified of doing something, and still be really good at it! Which is why we should try to have some of those stomach flipping experiences Lori talked about--we might discover some talents that we would never in a million years have thought we'd have.

annie said...

i think this is so true! doing hard things can be so rewarding. sharing your soul or your words or your moves with a room full of strangers is terrifying, but when i think about the things in my life that have been the most meaningful to me, i remember times when i went out of my comfort zone or someone else did and managed to touch my heart (as i'm sure you did for people when you performed). bravery is so powerful. thanks for this post...i needed it today.

fierygiraffe said...

What it really comes down to for me is when I look back on my life when I'm old and wrinkly, I don't want it to be full of regrets. I'm always giving myself excuses not to step out of my comfort zone, and sometimes I just have to psych myself out and do it! I'm not sure if I'll ever get up the nerve to do the spoken word thing, but I am sure I will always regret it if I don't. I really miss performing... as terrifying as it was it was truly soul-satisfying.

Thanks so much for posting my thoughts, and for all the encouraging words! And Lin--I knew those earrings would come in handy one day :-)

Nathalie Shorten said...

Since I am inexorably heading towards the old and wrinkly stage, I have a bit 20/20 vision to add. I remember refusing to lead music in Sacrament meeting because I thought it would be just too scary. Now 20 years down the line, I have done this many, many times, including Stake Conference, and it's one of my favorite things.My ultimate goal would be to lead music at the Conference Center in SLC! I also tremendously enjoyed being a ward choir director for almost 5 years. Yes, it was maddening sometimes, it was frustrating, it was scary, it was hard dealing with egos and know-better-than thou's but I did it anymway and I am so glad. It has enriched my life so much. I am glad I took the plunge! Granted, there are other things where I would rather slit my wrists than do and at this stage of my life, it's totally okay. I'm still not ready but I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I've grown a little more relaxed. It's good, right?!?