Tuesday, July 18, 2017

When people already think you're strange...

...they might not wonder so much when you have bright green silk sticking out of your bag for veil practice at lunchtime, or take your daily walk with earbuds firmly ensconced, muttering to yourself, and accidentally smacking innocent passersby with an inspired arm idea. Because I do all of these things regularly. So at least it's not new news. :0

I have 2 dance gigs on Saturday. One is a cultural showcase for a children's reading program. The other is a paid dinner party/restaurant gig in which I'll dance a solo set. Let's just say I'm NERVOUS.

And when I get nervous, friends, I occupy my mind with preparation like nobody's business. So I listen to my set list multiple times. I practice improvised dancing to it, and film myself, on the lookout for weak hands or painful facial expressions that I can eradicate. I practice with Sword, or in his absence, a subbing umbrella, so that I can block that piece to within an inch of its life.

That's been occupying my mind quite a bit this week. It's just one of those things: this is my creative passion, and it means a lot to me to do it to the best of my ability. I will say, Sword has been a good boy. He's getting *4 gigs* this summer, and is downright gleeful about the whole thing. He's been on his best behavior.

But even when Sword is good, I am still highly suspicious of him, and his possible next move.
I was thinking today during my walk about how nervous I still get before I perform, even all these years later. And the restaurant gigs are the biggest anxiety-inducer among them. You're dancing for a lot longer than in any other situation, you have an uncontrolled environment containing food, moving people, and children, and your audience may be drinking/rude/completely indifferent or a combination of all three. See the potential for anxiety in there? ;-)

Indeed, when a person is nervous, it often shows in their face. And that's what I battle against the most when I practice. I film myself, and cringe when I see Thinking Face come out. Petrified Face is even worse, as you can imagine. So for the past year or so, more so then actual movements, I've been working on my face. :0

I mean, it's not like I can change my face. It's the face God gave me, and it does tend to look more serious than the average persons. 😬 I wish I could change this about myself, but there's only so much a girl can do. Claire always tells me:

"It's like acting! You put on your Happy Face even when you're nervous!"

And she's right. But I find that Putting On Happy Face on me actually looks like Don't Look At Me Sideways Or I May Cry Face. So last New Year's Eve, when I had the biggest gig of my career, I came up with a new idea. It's my Channeling Joy Via My Happy Place Face.

Seems like a subtle distinction, but it's an important one. :0 I'm not actually happy at that moment, you see. When I'm about to perform, and then begin to do so, I feel sick to my stomach. Pasting on a smile over top of THAT is decidedly not a good look. So I think about what does make me happy. My family and friends, for one thing. Indeed, Middle Eastern dance *does* make me happy at it's core; it's transformed this painfully shy child into a woman who isn't afraid to talk to people anymore, and to put herself out there doing the things that she loves. So I think about those things. And when I think about those things, I actually *feel* more joyful. I've noticed that my face, while sometimes still pleasantly contemplative, has become a lot more happily animated when I dance.

I think I can boil it down to this: before I dance, I am like Harry Potter summoning my Patronus. I  take my mind to the happiest memory I can think of. Then a big, ghostly animal comes and protects me from Voldemort...er, I smile and project joy when I perform. ;-) Let's now call this the Patronus Face. I should procure a copyright on this phrase. ;-)

So I'm working on my Patronus over here, big time. According to Pottermore, mine is a Wild Rabbit. How fun. :0

We have book club tomorrow, and Tea Time on Friday this week! What is going on with all of you as we begin the week?


  1. I can really relate to this post. Being a nervous and shy person myself, I've often been told to "fake it until you make it" in difficult situations -- advice pretty similar to the Happy Face idea. And, like yourself, my "faking being happy or confident" face appears to others as if I am near tears, haha! I'm just starting a Harry Potter re-read, so the Patronus Face sounds like a great idea to me. Have a great week!

    1. Kevin, right?! Very applicable to many situations in life. :0

  2. 😂😂😂
    Now I need to go figure out my patronus *halo*

    I like the idea of the Channeling Joy Via My Happy Place Face. I think I need to try that on for the next 5 weeks of camps. :0

    1. Sam, yes, head over to Pottermore, girl! Indeed, it's been a long summer for you, work-wise. But you're almost there! Pull out that inner Patronus!

  3. I like Patronus Face. They are times when I could use it and thinking put on your Patronus Face is likely to make me smile.

    My patronus is a Dolphin.

    1. Melanie,

      :0 I'm so glad!

      We all have different Patronuses (Patroni? lol!), so far, how interesting!


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