My anxiety at even looking at my to-do list is overwhelming. I’ve taken to heading out for a run every time I feel the overwhelm. So I run a lot these days. But I get the sense that admitting I feel overwhelmed is verboten. Taboo.
Frankly, that doesn’t help.
Another performer told me once that, no matter how things are, it’s important for performers to tell people that things are great. “They need to know that your life is wonderful,” he said, meaning the fans and the audience.
OK. My life is wonderful.
And frankly, I often feel overwhelmed.
Why, I don’t know. Maybe I never learned to manage my homework well. Maybe I’m a perfectionist. Maybe everyone experiences what I’m feeling and some have greater tolerance for it, or better escape skills.
Maybe it comes with the territory if you decide to forge a new path; or if you decide to create in large forms that involve other people – like writing for orchestra. Maybe I really love being alone, but don’t know how to say that, so feeling behind-the-eight-ball with the details of creative preparation is a way to get that solitude.
Maybe this is just the way it is – and the way it would be for anyone – and the overwhelm comes from thinking it should be different. Maybe everything’s right on keel and – like, when I used to be terrified on nearly every airplane flight — I simply feel each bump exaggerated.
But pretending it isn’t so seems like the wrong approach to changing it.
The fact is, I struggle with management of my own life, creative and otherwise. The one time I feel completely liberated from all of that is when I’m on stage. That is my adventure, my travel, my moment of lift-off. And all the day-to-day, and practice and preparation I do is to fuel that moment.
So, am I asking for advice? No. I’m just making an admission. Things are great. I’m feeling overwhelmed. And I can’t wait for that next moment the curtain opens.