Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 175

Stage fright. The need to perform on cue and suddenly freezing.

Stage fright is a term I use a lot for freezing in the midst of an activity. Like needing to pee really bad when you're out in bushwalking with friends, so you go behind a tree but because there are people waiting for you, your bladder won't release due to "stage fright". And what about when you walk into a crowded room and the party stops and stares and you're suddenly a deer caught in headlights. You conjur up a quick smile, perhaps a meek "hello" and continue forward. Or not. You just stand and wait until everyone stops looking, hoping the ground will swallow you up quickly before you break out in a sweat. Stage fright. Oh, and then there is when you are sitting in a meeting, someone asks you a direct question, everyone turns and looks at you expectantly, you freeze. F&^%. I don't freakin know! No one told me to study up on that. So you stammer and dribble some bullshit and if you are clever you may even flick pass the issue to someone else, who shits themselves on the spot in your place. Stage fright.

We have many life exepriences where we can suffer metaphorical stage fright. But what about actual stage fright? Being on stage, performing and then suddenly forgetting it all leaving you staring blankly and in terror at the audience.

After months of rehearsals and one kick arse costume creation, my beautiful Tahlia did her first ever calisthenics solo yesterday in front of a packed audience. She even had extended family come to watch. She was very excited with the right mix of nerves. Her biggest concern was that she might not nail her forwards and backwards walkovers given she had only really learned to do them confidently two weeks prior. Mummy's (and Nanny's) biggest concern was that the costume would hold up and not leave her with a wardrobe malfunction part way through. Mummy and Nanny were also very excited with the right mix of nerves.

Her number was called and she entered the spotlight. She was amazing. She turned, smiled and danced down the stage. She performed perfect leg raises without a wobble. She shimmied and glided and smiled and winked. She nailed the walkovers and her headstands and swallow poses. She was a star and she was enjoying it. Not far to go. Just another diagonal dance down the stage with a tiger stand and she would be done. And that's when it happened. She froze. She stood and a flicker of panic and horror crossed her face. She just stood there. Come on baby girl you can do it. I tried to send her signals via energy transfer. Down to the front corner and tiger stand baby. Come on sweety. But no. It didn't work. She had hesitated and now she had stage fright. Would she burst into tears and run off? If it was me I am sure would have. But no. This gorgeous girl shook off the terrors, smiled brightly did a little run and a skip and got herself back into position for a beautiful ending. We were so proud of her! She had suffered the worst thing imaginable in front of a packed audience but got through it. She had experienced stage fright. Of course she was terribly disappointed when she returned to her seat. She was on the verge of tears and was quite shaken up, but she didn't crumble.

Although she didn't win any medals she won so much more yesterday. She had been faced with the stage fright demon and conquered it. This experience will extend well beyond her first ever calisthenics solo. This episode will be the metaphor we'll use in so many situations down the track. Speaking in front of the class, walking into a party .... and perhaps even peeing behind a tree.

She has another solo comp in two weeks time. Her first experience has toughened her up. She is ready. In her own words ... "bring it on!!!!"


  1. Well done to Tahlia, I reckon the silent thoughts helped!!!!!!

  2. She is so lucky. A big well done to her! (And you.)

  3. Well done Tahlia, what a great effort.


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