This week we are suppose to talk about a time when we acted bravely, but were really scared inside. (Unless I looked at the wrong week, and then…oh well.) I am completely, and totally drawing a blank on this one. I’ve gone for a walk to help me think clearly. Nope, didn’t work. I kept wondering if you could have above 100% humidity because it sure as heck felt like it. But still, no brave acts came to mind.
Now I have been nervous/scared too many times to count because that has usually been in the form of an audition or pitch in which case the thought process goes something like this. “You’ve prepared for this. You’re ready. If they don’t pick you/ask for the full manuscript, that’s their problem. You’ve done your best, so SUCK IT UP AND DEAL WITH IT!” Then I usually march in, unless marching is frowned upon, and do my thing.
But what if I wasn’t prepared? What if I was about to embarrass the living crap out of myself because I had no clue as to what I was doing or hadn’t practiced? The thought process then goes more like this…”You suck. You know that, right? You totally should have practiced. You’ve already paid the entry fee, so you already committed yourself to this and if you quit now without even trying, you’ll be an even bigger loser than if you go in and stink up the place with your lousy performance, so SUCK IT UP AND DEAL WITH IT!”
Yeah, ultimately, my inner dialogue is not kind to me either way.
This one time, in junior high band….:-) No, really, it was junior high band. I hated practicing my clarinet and for some stupid reason, I signed up to do a solo for our annual district solo and ensemble contest. Probably because we’d get a medal if we got a superior or excellent rating. (I’m a medal and trophy junkie. Always have been. I’ve signed up for marathons and half marathons simply because of that addiction.) I had also signed up for a baton twirling solo. THAT solo, I had practiced to near perfection. The clarinet solo? The only time I recall that I practiced was with my band director who had to be my piano accompanist. She kindly suggested that I spend some more time practicing my music. I smiled and nodded because I liked Mrs. Legare and didn’t want to disappoint her. And really, I intended to practice. For real. But the baton solo was so much more fun. Let’s face it, practicing something you’re already good at IS more fun. So I went in for my clarinet solo along with all the other clarinet players from my school for whom Mrs. Legare was also accompanying. Several of those other clarinet players were also my fellow majorettes for the school. Apparently, they found the time to practice BOTH their baton routines and their clarinet pieces. I could tell you how much more difficult my twirling solo was than theirs (very much true) and needed to spend the extra practice time on it (not necessarily), but the point was I got up to do my clarinet solo even though it would have been soooo much easier to walk out of that room.
So I played that solo. And boy did I ever SUCK! It was awful. And Mrs. Legare knew it too. God bless that woman, she kept playing, trying to adjust to my awful playing. I’m sure we were both thankful when I finished. As was the judge who had to critique that awful racket. Mrs. Legare was smart enough and KIND enough to recognize how much I was embarrassed and chose not to say anything to me afterwards and I am eternally grateful for that.
I can’t say that my little story exactly counts as bravery in my mind. It was really more of a source of facing the consequences. And as far as acting brave goes, I’m a horrible actress. In some weird way, acting is a form of lying in my brain, and I don’t lie. I believe karma will kick my butt in a heartbeat if I lie, so I have never really been good at acting. Mustering up confidence to face a challenge might count as bravery to some, but for me, bravery is a much higher level. Firemen rushing into burning buildings are brave. Policemen facing gunfire are brave. Military folks are brave. Me going forth with an unpracticed clarinet solo is just stupidity facing unpleasant consequences.
What qualifies as bravery to you and have you been brave?