Stage Fright

Stage fright can be mortifying. Some freeze up while others respond by accelerating and trying to finish in as little time as possible. For me, it’s exhilarating. It’s bottled fear and it’s something I chug. — Wait. That sounds a lot more cocky than I meant for it too. Let me try again.


I face my fears. Whatever they may be. I face them and know I can survive just about anything. I still avoid horror flicks but that’s a topic for another time. Fears come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and the one that I got hit with today was stage fright. But not the normal stage fright. Not the public speaking stage fright. It’s the “I’m doing a show I’ve never done before” stage fright. Oh sure I’ve done it in my head, in front of the mirror or in the car, but that’s a little different.

It’s my grad show from SAK University and it’ll be a theater filled with friends, family, and people who(m) I’ve never met. Up to today I’ve been totally fine with the idea, but while I was stocking concessions (about ten minutes ago) I was suddenly gripped by this urge to get up and run away as fast as possible and not perform in the show.

I must be insane!

I’m crazy, this is crazy, I can’t do it.

What the @$!$*@& was I thinking?

And about three minutes later, after slowing my heart beat and regulating my breathing I calmed down and began facing the fear. The truth is that stage fright is fear of several things.

It’s fear of rejection – “What if I’m not funny?”

It’s fear of what others will think – “What will they think of my performance?”

It’s fear of messing up.

For public speaking I can overcome all three of these with preparation and a deeply embedded faith in my own ability as a public speaker. But for Improv, the preparation is a little different. We hear all the time “How can you practice improv?” It’s a lot like practicing a sport, you work with others, hone your skills and find what messes you up. You’re not preparing a scripted show, but you’re building skills and honing your talents.

What I have to remember is that on stage, I’m free. First off I’m doing something very few of the people coming to the show do or would do. I’ve overcome the stage fright and I’m on the stage, so that’s a win for me. The second part is that while I’m on stage, I can be anyone. On top of that, it isn’t going to be just me on stage. There are thirteen other people in my class, three of which who will be on my team, and I can rely on them to help me if I get into trouble. So I have to remind myself that I’m not alone up there.

Trust, that’s a big part of improv. I’m almost ashamed that I had to remind myself about it, but I did. The fact though is that I have the trust in my teammates.

I’ve prepared for this for years, dreamt of it even. I won’t say I’m as ready as I possibly can be, because there is always something more to learn in Improv – but I feel pretty confidant that I can avoid being a horrible flop.

The butterflies are still there, but they’re no longer scary, now they’re exhilarating for me and they’re a reminder that I’m only a few days away from taking a big step for myself. A Big step. BIG. But then, I’m a big guy, so I should be fine.

Fighting Fire

Fire is one of those things that society trains us for. Rome fell to it. Chicago. Atlanta. And so many others. Even in today’s world a fire is big news. Wild fires ravage wilderness and fire fighters are revered among our society. We’re so heavily trained by it that we will either react to it immediately or freeze up.

Well last night I proved that I react immediately.

I decided I would go see a show at SAK and just relax, ease back into work. I was getting condolences from people through out the night and at intermission I was standing in the theatre chatting with a co-worker when I happened to look towards the back of the theatre and noticed flickering orange light. The light was coming from where we store drinks, an area of space which is just walled off from the theatre but doesn’t have a ceiling of its own.

It took a moment to register and when I saw the small plume of smoke I immediately realized what it was, fire. I dove into action saying to my friend, in a somewhat calm manner, “fire.” I sprinted around and tore my way into the store room while my friend got the fire extinguisher. He passed it to me and I quickly pulled the locking pin and then extinguished the flame.

We took care of it all and know what happened. No major damage was done. It’s just one of those events which leaves you rushed with adrenaline and shaking as your body calms down.

I’m beginning the move to the new domain. I made a blog post on the old home, I’m still debating how I want to integrate the archives from the old site – if at all.

And also, in terms of fire, I need to figure out how to pay taxes this year. First year I’ve owed them and I need to investigate payment plans and such. Fun fun.

Changing Faces

The month of January is named after the Greek god Janus. Janus is represented as having two faces, one facing forward and one facing backward. He is the god of doors as well as god of beginnings and endings.

I’ve been blogging for nearly nine years now, in various forms and on various sites. I began using an online journal, from there I went to a personal blog on Blogger, then to GreyMatter, then Movable Type, then WordPress. All the time changing homes to various free hosts and domains. Most recently I lived at http://www.ronincyberpunk.com, a domain created while I was in high school and on which I blogged for over five years and created thousands of posts which held over four hundred thousand words of drivel.

The face of blogging as a whole has changed in that time. From a small hobby of a small group of people into a major activity of many people. For me it began as a journal of thoughts and, in some part, as an exhibitionist plea for attention online – a world I was deeply acquainted with. It is rather startling to look back over my writing through the years and follow how my style and tone changed over the years.

My blog moved from being a daily life journal on to an outlet for philosophical musings and still onto a geek realm. Ronincyberpunk was the creation of a high school student looking to be edgy and embracing the anonymous world of online writing. It was a creation from the word “Ronin” which is a romantic vision of a wandering samurai and the word “Cyberpunk” which refers to the Sci-Fi sub-genre. Combining the two created an online persona which would be my banner into adulthood and on to the point where it became a point of embarrassment to share with my friends. Now, we have my still edgy name, but a much less fantastic element.

Well, I might still be just as fantastic.

This blog is going to be a rebirth of my online persona. I’m transferring much of my archives from Ronincyberpunk.com over to this new domain and forwarding all the traffic it received. I’ve yet to decide how exactly I’m going to work the archives in. I might just go through the old blog and move over the best of the best entries, or I might move the entire archive and keep it separated. I just haven’t decided yet.

This blog also comes along at an important time in my life. Even as I write this my mom’s life hangs in the balance. In all truth I should be asleep so I am rested to return to the hospital tomorrow but my mind needs distraction, otherwise I find myself continuing to think about her, worry about her, and grow frustrated at how little I can do. This blog provides me with distraction at a time when I dearly dearly need it.

Life changes. People come and go from our lives, some quickly, others not as quick as we’d like. We change. We grow. We atrophy. We change. We don’t have two faces looking forward and back, but we do look both ways before crossing the street. Hopefully.