In a city like New York, it is really easy to take yourself too seriously. People flock to this city to fulfill their big dreams. New Yorkers strive, hustle, and fight to accomplish their goals. And this New Yorker sense of determination is why I feel so alive in this city every single day. HOW INSPIRING to be surrounded by people who are dreamers and fighters. However, in this hustle, I am slowly learning that I have to not take myself too seriously.
This idea of going easy on yourself in a city that is all about the grind and the hustle might sound contradictory. However, I think being able to step back and even laugh at myself fuels my sense of vision and perseverance.
From middle school until college, I was the queen of beating myself up. I thought that if I could be super hard on me 24-7, I would get more accomplished. If I told myself: "You're not good enough" at all times, I would somehow become good enough...in school, in dance class, in my career. But (classic) the opposite outcome resulted. As I continued to pick on myself...I lost confidence, joy, and my sense of internal vision.
As an artist, I realized that taking myself too seriously was stealing my creativity and passion. Yes, it is important to be disciplined. But, I think it is equally important to explore the boundaries of your art without rigidity and standards of perfection. Since being back in NYC post-tour, I have found the most joy in being able to LAUGH AT MYSELF in this crazy career. I make sure to prepare my heart out for every audition, but sometimes I go in the room and a joke doesn't land or I forget an eight count and jump into a split. I am not proud that I forgot the dance steps, but I have to laugh about it and move on or I will get trapped in a vicious perfectionistic cycle that will steal my artistry and joy. Being able to ease up on myself helps me take criticism better, and it helps me listen to directors, conductors, and teachers with a more open heart and mind.
Being able to laugh at myself also helps me CREATE more work of my own. When you don't take yourself too seriously, it becomes easy to create interesting characters or make bold (maybe too bold) acting choices. The more you let go and ease up on yourself, the more fear fades away. And honestly...I think it comes down to this: Do we want to operate out of a place of joy or a place of fear? By staying open and letting go of perfectionism, I choose JOY!
Happy Monday, y'all!