Ok, ok, I’m fine. It’s just that my noony noony moment turned into a “you’re going to procrastinate today” moment which did indeed last all day. Went to bed having achieved nothing all day except a gym visit, blog post and dinner preparations. I have so much to do they all seemed to get crowded in the doorway and not one thing got through. So of course I then hated myself a little bit. A lot. Normally when I procrastinate I do other useful but boring things like filing, but I didn’t even manage that on Monday.
I wondered why I did this and I think it’s probably a teensy weensy bit of self sabotage. You know, the thing where you think you might fail and so you don’t give it 100%? Just in case you DO fail and then you can say “oh, I didn’t really try hard on that thing, so it was always going to be crap”. That thing. It’s the perfectionist in me, partly, but also the bit in me that worries I might not be good enough at the thing. I’ve got lots on, and all of the things require a high level of expertise, skill or whatever. I just get the yips.
Anyway. So I procrastinate, feeling miserable. Then I get the lovely letters from my collaborators and referees and whatever and feel more miserable because I haven’t done the work I’d promised them. Sigh. You see the cycle here. It’s like I’m determined to feel shite. And then I have to do a gig. Now, I don’t have to do the gig. I could stand back and say nah, I’m done performing. But part of me is flattered that I’ve been asked, another part of me thinks I need to perform as it legitimises my musician persona for my students and the last part of me loves the premise of the gig.
So naturally I don’t do much prep for the gig either. In my old performing days I rarely bothered to remember the words (bad bad me) and I didn’t give much emotional energy either. This gig demanded emotional energy AND memory work. As a teacher I demand and expect my students to memorise songs. I demand and expect and emotional singing energy. Yet I don’t apply the same demands to my own performances.
So I spend most of Monday through Wednesday morning with minor anxiety about memorising the words. Note: I don’t bother to do the work for this. I just worry about it. Sleep poorly both nights, finally get up Wednesday morning to print out the words in a vain hope that by doing this I’ll somehow feel better about my lack of preparation. I feel better. Go to gig. Along with one of my colleagues we both have a minor panic about said new song which has about 3 words in it. Practice it badly. Then, in the middle of Wednesday afternoon, we finally get onto stage and voila, my anxiety completely melts away. Jeez. I forget I’m a professional sometimes. I’m GOOD at this stuff. Being on stage is an easy thing for me.
The gig went off without a hitch. The new song with the 3 words was incredible, my singing partner and I totally emotionally invested in the beautiful song “Say Something”. Our audience laughed, danced, and cried. Lots of crying. And I remembered why I do this stuff.
And I realised why Monday was a crap wasteful day. Sometimes anxiety is nothing more than a feeling of malaise. Out of focus and vague, no concrete thoughts or anything, just a feeling of … waiting. Watchfulness. The amygdala hijack of fight or flight. My adrenaline was up due to the gig so I was in readiness mode, which stops me from being able to work or think in a deep and meaningful way. So now it’s over, the gig is done. Time to forgive myself and move on. I have a Post Doc to write.
Noony noony noo…