Tuesday, June 5, 2012

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again and again and again and...

Failing is painful.  To own the fact that I did something wrong, or worse, publicly humiliated myself is simply horrible.

Personally, this particular "F-bomb" - the word "Fail" - has been known to wear out the elastic on my granny panties for years now.  It's kept me from moving forward with my life and more importantly, being true to myself.  Will I let it take control of my destiny again?  Will I allow its dark voice to determine my life's possibilities once more?  I hope not.  Failure is what I'm writing about today and my fear of it is precisely why I write this blog; to avoid making the same ridiculous mistakes twice.

Directly out of high school, I enrolled at the Los Angeles School of Broadcasting in the heart Hollywood, California while, at the same time, taking journalism classes and working at the campus newspaper at my local city college.  I was struggling but keeping up with my studies.  I managed to obtain my FCC license and in what spare time I had, was given an internship at CNN Entertainment Studios as a Production Assistant.  I was on the fast track into television news media, my ultimate dream job.  Despite the fact that my instructors, who were professional broadcasters, believed I could go all the way, I had absolutely no faith in myself.  I was afraid of failure.  I dropped out two credits shy of completing my courses at the studio and faded into oblivion.  I stopped going to school, never earned a college degree, and ended up taking miscellaneous data entry or waitressing work up until my current stint as a stay-at-home mom.

Writing - another glorious idea; something I've always felt I could do and do well but with what little college education I have under my belt, the dreaded "F-bomb" has reared its ugly head again.  I've been afraid of  failing at the only the only thing I've ever considered myself truly good at.  I fear that my tiny amount of self-confidence will be torn to shreds by a stranger's critique.  If someone - anyone - says my writing needs improvement, I'll have nothing to turn to.  No dream to hang my hopes on.

So, the question here, my dear friends and blog readers, is have I submitted anything for publishing?  No.  Just hitting the "Send" key on my first blog submission literally made me sick to my stomach.  The very idea that anyone in the world would have the ability to openly criticize my writing had me quivering in my virtual universe.  Some of you may have also noticed that recently I removed the "Comments Section" from my blog page. Ironically, it had nothing to do with opinions about my daily posts.  I recognize that there will always be people willing to disagree with my point of view.  This is perfectly fine with me.  It was done simply because I agonize over my grammatical skills.  I didn't want someone to correct me.  This sounds so absolutely pathetic as I type it.

Failure and Fear.  The words are almost interchangeable as far as I'm concerned.

This past Sunday night I stood in front of a group of strangers and for five minutes I put myself  "out there".  I tried to be funny; yet, to my ear on that stage, I only heard my friend chuckling off in the distance.  I saw blank stares from everyone else in the room; however, I managed somehow to keep it together.  I didn't run off the stage in tears but I sure as Hell wanted to.  Where was the laughter?   What was I doing wrong?  It was the longest five minutes of my life.  I was a complete flop.

Tonight my plan is to do it again.  Another audience.  A tougher crowd.  A later show.  Another stage.  I'll change up my routine.  No story this time.  Shorter quips. What happens if they don't laugh again?  Can I take that rejection once more?  AND, I have to face those other comedians.  Those same guys and gals whom I've seen before.  Who now know my name.  These folks who gave me a friendly pat on the shoulder and said, "You were good".  No I wasn't but thanks anyway.  No false sympathy, please.  Give it to me straight.  Tell me I sucked and what I have to do next time.  I need thicker skin.  I'll take my bumps and bruises.

I have failed at this and I will continue to do so - but dammit, I will not give up on this dream.  Even if it doesn't take me anywhere further than the amateur stages of Denver I will keep it up until I hear the laughter I know I'm capable of receiving.  Fuck those "F-Bombs" anyway!  "Fear" and "Fail" are just a couple of 4-letter words some idiot made up.  Yes, they're words and as my dear friend over the weekend said, "words hurt" but my dearest I disagree...they only hurt if you allow them to.