“Forgive yourself before you go on for the mistakes you are bound to make”
My Mom sometimes directs a musical for our church in the summertime. I have portrayed everything from an orphan pickpocket to a dice-rolling gambler. Anyone can be in the chorus or audition for any part. It was community theatre at its’ best.which means that it produced a great experience, a good show, and a bevy of hilarious mistakes from a few non-professionals, some that took those mistakes more or less to heart. She used to say the opening sentiment to the cast and crew before the start of the show. It’s something that I’ve never managed to grasp.
While mistakes are pretty inevitable in live theatre and performance, I tend to go out expecting every move to be THE BEST I’ve ever done it and have a really hard time feeling satisfied without that positive self-critique (three words that are for most of us, rarely strung together). It’s strange to hold myself to such a performance standard when I don’t think of myself as a human being, a dancer, a daughter, or in any role to be perfect or sometimes, even adequate.It’s easy when you imagine yourself capable of more or better to become impatient, angry, and intolerable of anything less than this imagined standard. And it seems I’m not alone.
I’m sure most of us have seen the new Dove campaign ad, but if not, it’s a must-watch. Do you wonder what your most prominent feature is? What if your idea was totally wrong?
I shudder to think how I’d look in my self-evaluation portrait. I would however, love to do something like this so I’m working on drawing different ethnicities and ages in my doodles.
Speaking of portraits, I tried to draw the apprentices and trainees of Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company and gave up before finishing because none of them are really captured well. I don’t know why I gave Stephanie an ET-like hand, or why beautiful Ellen has a chin like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast or why she looks so wide (she’s not) and Carolyn…well, I don’t know what to say except I’m sorry for making you look like an angry fisher-price figurine. Sometimes you just have to stop trying and draw hedgehogs until you get your drawing mojo back.
To the ladies pictured here, I repeat Dove’s message, ‘You are more beautiful than you think‘ and add ‘and much MUCH more beautiful than I am at this moment, able to commit to paper.’ No wonder our self-images are so confused. Sometimes you just have to laugh at your attempt and not beat yourself up. Your self-image won’t look better with a metaphorical black-eye.
To sum up, I think none of us really know the extent of how we come across. But it doesn’t have to be so sad- just look at these and try not to laugh. I had my kindergarten- 3rd graders draw ‘headshots’ for their music folders.I really really wish that Dove would hire children to draw all of us in crayon and then we’ll all have a smile on our faces.
As one of my heroes Roald Dahl says,
“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely.