I just finished several months work with a wonderful production. Much Ado about Nothin’, my jukebox musical inspired adaptation of the Shakespeare play had a great run. The kids were adorable. The show, fantastic. The goodbyes, tearful but happy.
So, why am I still crazy? Why am I still anxious? Why am I depressed?
This happens every time. So, I am not entirely surprised, if not a bit annoyed at myself. I work for months (years if you count the writing and previous productions of the same work) on a show. I stay up all night making costumes and hats and searing my fingertips off with hot glue, all in service of a goal. All in preparation for the hard deadline of opening night. It comes. It goes. And part of me just, well, it revolts.
It second guesses. It doubts. It takes all the accomplishment and rips the life right out of it. It’s that voice of negativity, that says, “yeah, that went well. But what does that really have to do with you?” OR “Yeah, the show was great, but now you’ve neglected your family…” OR “The audience was just being polite. It was full of parents, they have to like it.” And my favorite… “Well what do you have to show for all this?… No one is going to publish it…You’re not going to make any real money from it… In the end, really all you did is make fifty feathered headbands…And those won’t last. ”
Sometimes, when the show is really too bulletproof to be reproached she brings up something stupid from my past. Like “Remember that time you lied to a bunch of college students doing surveys on the street and told them you were still studying art instead of working a retail job. They knew.”
The inner voice of negativity is a real bitch, if you haven’t noticed.
I hate her. I hate her so much because I know how she makes me sound. Pathetic. Whiney. And a little bit paranoid- okay, a lot paranoid. But she’s there. And I can’t deny her because she is very, very loud.
Which is why I am excited for another mark on my calendar. I am going to see a new psychiatrist in two weeks. My hope is that through either a new medication, or some kind of talk therapy, anything, I can make that inner voice of negativity exit stage left. Or better yet, trip into the orchestra pit and never hear from her again. (I am not sure what the orchestra pit is in this metaphor. My subconscious? Whatever, I want her gone.)
Until then, I will look at the pictures of my sweet, sweet kids dancing and acting their hearts out, read the thank you notes, and smell the bouquet they pulled me up on stage to give me.
And tell that bitch to quiet down. I’m writing a new show, now. And I got to get back to work.
That note says “Dear Holly, Thank you for writing and directing our amazing show. I learned a lot about theater this summer. Thanks!” Can you ask for more than that?