Wednesday, May 28, 2014

(Never) good enough: Cairo backstage classical scene*

My mind went on explosive mode yesterday - it had to. I caught myself on one of those classical blue valleys where I feel like quitting the whole thing and getting this pressure of CREATING off my back. Just becoming a smart ass business woman or a farmer - anything like that.
 Three facts contributed to this explosion:
1. The perfectionism ghost and how castrating it can be (even if I still move forward and DO things, ACHIEVE stuff and CLIMB mountains with success I tend not to enjoy a second of it);
2. Doing the second (and final!) revision/edition of my upcoming book - finding myself on the verge of a nervous break down due to all the corrections, cuts and re-writing I have to do.
3. Reading Andre Agassi´s auto-biography "Open" (no idea why I would even pick the biography of a tennis player) and seeing myself in it wayyyyyyy too much. He was a 1st level athlete competing with the best in the world - I´m a dancer (combination of athlete and artist) known worldwide who has never competed with other dancers but, what is probably worse, has always competed with herself.
P.S: I am loving this book!
The whole "perfection" ghost is falling on my head and I have to wonder it it´s time to ENJOY more and worry less about the results. A story immediately comes to my rescue, reminding me not to let victories and creativity´s pleasure pass me by.
Classic of mine:
Some years ago (4 years, to be exact), I was presenting my BEST show EVER. This was in Cairo, Egypt, and the night was ours: my night and my team´s night (musicians, dancers, assistant). I´d worked so hard and sacrificed so much of my life for this moment: not the famous name, not even the respect of the Oriental Dance Mecca but THIS NIGHT. I knew I had done my best work so far; my musicians followed my lead and also knew how great they were; the audience, usually warm, was ON FIRE - inspiration and connection was on our sides and nobody could ignore the fact that this was the BEST show of our lives.
Once the show was over my team retreated to their backstage room and celebrated - loudly, happily, NATURALLY, like  human beings do.
What about me? Ah!
I was held my the audience for a while (pictures, autographs, heart felt hugs and generous words of praise for my work); then I retreated to MY backstage room and sat quietly with a cup of tea on my hands. I could listen to the celebration noise by my side (it almost bothered me) but all I did was to ask my assistant for a notebook ("Are you all right, Joujou? Are you feeling ok?" - She asked, worried about the absense of a smile and my bizarre quiteness).
As my team continued to party - and fairly pat each other on the back for the once in a life time show - I took notes with a philosophical expression on my heavy face:
Where had I failed in this magnificent show?
What could I improve?
Which musical arrangements could be created in order to inhance the music repertoire I had chosen?
How could I be - even - better?
Sepulcral silence on my backstage room; loud music and laughter on my team´s room - an irritating thirst for perfection separating them.
Well, well...This gives me the creeps right now.
It´s healthy to have an outsider´s look on our work and being able to see where we can improve (there´s ALWAYS space for improvement, as far as I´m concerned) but letting the JOY of victory pass you by, especially when you know you REALLY deserve it, it´s an whole other story.  
Every time I´m creating something - dancing, choreographing, writing, etc - the old dilema revisits me like a ghost who refuses to let me go. Facing the truth is not easy: I´ve achieved and lived so much in my short life but have enjoyed VERY little of it due to my "not enough" addiction.
 I AM ENOUGH is on repetition mode. It has to be. My dreams keep growing and I keep making them come true but, from now on, I WANT TO ENJOY THE RIDE and tell "perfectionism" to (simply) FUCK OFF
I hope you do the same. Greatness and Joy are on the other side of the ghost.

Thanks to Katya Faris for posting this "quote" from one of my favourite books
"The Help" (by author Kathryn Stockett)

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