Saturday, November 23, 2013

Performance Anxiety

I have really dense, naturally wavy hair. It is not so curly that I can't have a straight 'do without difficulty, and it's wavy enough to hold a curl for days. It's a massive forest of hair; when it's long, you can brush it for hours, run your fingers through it, and it's really soft, pretty and beautiful. I'm sorry that I'm being such a braggart, but my hair is one of my defining features. I really, really, love my hair.

When I was little, I had blonde hair, similar to the colour it is now. I have a big, huge cowlick in the front which prevents me from ever having normal looking bangs, but that is the only flaw. It was a pretty, flowing, golden blonde mane that was so thick and pretty. One day my Grama told my Mum that she needed to cut my hair because I was too lethargic and "it was sapping my energy". My mother didn't believe her, but because it was heavy, hard to take care of, and she had two other children to take care of, she cut it off. Apparently afterwards I seemed lighter and so much cheerier that she ended up believing that it really was all that hair.

I have had long hair only a couple of times in my life, and I can add my testimony to that of my mother's that my hair does sap my energy. It's long, heavy, and gives me a headache. It doesn't hang straight, so it covers me like a cape (or Cousin It), and is very, very hot. I hate having long hair because of what a hassle it is, but it's so pretty, it seems like such a waste to not have long hair and show it off.

I am a really good public speaker. I've won speech contests, debates, and student council elections based on my ability to speak in public. I'm also entertaining, funny, and quick on my feet. In a nutshell, I'm good in front of an audience. Really good.

I really hate being in public.

I get all kinds of anxiety leading up to the "performance", I'm not nice to be around, and I find it hard to function in regular life. Afterwards I am physically, mentally, and emotionally drained and usually have to spent time alone in a quiet, dark room in order to recover. Why is this? This really bugs me. Why am I good at something, like, really good, that is so taxing on me? Once I'm "on the podium" so to speak, I'm safe, the podium protects me - it gives me my power, but the times before and after are terrible. This is really hard for me to wrap my head around. A friend of mine posted on Facebook an article about creative people and one of the points was that creative people are both introverted and extroverted. I find this to be so totally true, and explains a lot. Many creative people are also crazy, which explains a lot too, but I'm not talking about that right now.

I identify as an introvert, and for the most part, I am, but every person I tell this to calls me a liar because they see me in public when I'm "performing". I still hate this about myself. I'm still trying to figure this out, but the point I'm trying to make with this rant is, WHY? I just don't get how, like my hair, something so wonderful and beautiful like a talent, can be so hard on a person. If it's a talent, shouldn't it come naturally? Shouldn't it be easy? (it is easy, like I said once I get up there, but the preparation and let down SUCKS) If I went the mentally healthy direction, I would never ever go out in public, but isn't that putting one's talent under a bushel? I have short hair for my health, and when people see pictures of my long hair, jealousy is usually expressed and the question asked why I don't have long hair. The answer, always, is me tilting my head backwards as if I'm being weighed down by my pony tail which is literally how I feel when I have long hair.

It just seems like such a waste of talent, but is the expense of mental and physical energy worth it? I'm most definitely not an extrovert, so should I leave the extrovertedness to the extroverts? This is so frustrating to me.

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