Friday, March 25, 2011

Slapping Darkspume Upside the Head

Remember this guy?
Yeah. Darkspume. Gnome of Despair (who plays the bagpipes of Dooooooom). He's my personal gnome. I spend my life trying to slay him. Maegan's got Fangxiety. Russo's got BadKarma (dudette REALLY has bad karma, bless her). I've got Darkspume.

Self-doubt (which I believe is one place from which despair comes) is a bugger. It creeps in, sometimes silently, sometimes screaming and screeching its bagpipes so loudly you can't hear yourself think, and you freeze up, completely unable to produce.

I've spent the last three months like that with my book. Stupid little Scottish gnome keeps whispering in my ear "Ye're goin' to fail, lassie. Look at that weak plot. Look at your wee protagonist; couldn't lift a haggis and throw it if her life depended on it. And yer pacing?  Sorry. Fell asleep. Wha' were we talkin' abou'?"

And then I realized something: A) I am not a goddess. I'm just a regular person. I don't have to be perfect and it's okay for me to make mistakes. If my book is great, WOOHOO! But if not, WOOHOO! I WROTE A WHOLE BOOK ALL BY MYSELF. 

2) It ain't all about me. No seriously. It ain't. I know. Shocking. But it really isn't. ain't. I noticed that when I'm freaking out and feeling all despair-y and lack of self-esteem-y, that the main person I'm focusing on is . . . me. Whereas, the minute I take my focus off of me and think about my reader, my husband, my children, my friends, voilá! Scary despairy feelings magically disappear.

To put a finer point on it: when I perform--whether it's singing or acting--if I panic over my mistakes, or worry I won't do well enough, my audience feels it and starts getting nervous for me. Then we're ALL stressed-out, and can't pull out of it. (I have a story to tell you about this. Next time.)

However, if I totally remember that I am up there for them, that I am not performing so my audience can look at me and say: "O Great Goddess Janiel, Queen of the Chords and Tremulous Warblings. We are Unworthy! You are a Marvel!"--but rather to bring happiness, or relief, or diversion to them, that's when despair and self-doubt fly. And my mistakes don't matter. I can joke, and my audience laughs, and we're all friends, and everyone is happy. It's the THEM that matters in all that I do. And that's what makes Darkspume pack up his sad, worn out little bagpipes and leave.

So, stomp your feet, little Darkspume-y man. I ain't listening. I'm going to go have fun with my friends, and not worry about a thing. 

Just like John Legend. This is for you, my peeps--


Sara B. Larson said...

Self-doubt can be literally paralyzing. I know you can overcome it and get your what I KNOW is an awesome book, (just from the little I got to read way back in the day)out there and get an agent and a deal. You can do it!

Janiel Miller said...

Sara, that's just what I need to hear. Thank you so much!

Russo said...

I so needed me some darkspume today! He always states what I truly feel but don't want to say- you rock Janiel, for creating this divine character.

shelly said...

Soemthing to remember, always stay in character. Always. No matter what. The show must go on. The only one who knows its a mistake is you, the performer. That's some advice my acting coach gave me years ago.

Thanks for the encouraging post.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I think doubt is one of those things you never fully conquer. It's like a daily battle for me. But you're right. Gotta stop with the self-focus. Totally what I needed to hear! Great song, too. Thank you!

Janiel Miller said...

Thanks everyone! Carolina, you're right. It is a daily battle. And I think as we keep working on it we do get better at it. Two steps forward, right? Thanks for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for stopping by! I'm following you back! :) Hope you have an awesome weekend!

Chubby Cheeks Thinks

Self Sagacity said...

Thank you for your comment just now. I woke up this morning with a not so sweet note in my email inbox, so your comment was very comforting and I appreciated the compliment. The accusation of the note was completely wrong, and it made me second guess myself and my writing. At any rate, glad you swung by.

Self Sagacity said...

Your post today is completely appropriate for how I feel today too. Yes, I have been telling myself all morning that I checked out okay last night and even after reading the note this morning, so I ain't listening to the nonsense.
Blogger love- Amanda

Greenacremama said...

Thanks for the lovely compliment. I am soooo flattered u love my blog : ) it's sunny and snowing at the same time...my husband says it looks like volcanic ash...nice eh?!..hoping someone chokes old man winter and Darkspume asap. ; )

CinnyBBS said...

Thanks for the sweet comment and always stopping by. I'm here to say hi too. Loving your posts! :)

Maegan Langer said...

I think that since we do spend so much time alone in our own heads, it's very easy to become self-centered if we're not careful. This is a great reminder of the great gift and opportunity we have to help someone else by what we do.

Ellen said...

I feel like I am constantly chasing away self-doubt. Thanks for sharing your heart. You are able to words to my feelings.

I was just looking at your book shelf. I also read Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce. Now that is a man who changed the lives of many. ~ Ellen

Janiel Miller said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. Self-Sagacity, I'm glad it helped!

Ellen, I think self-doubt is sadly universal. But something we can overcome by reaching out. Have you seen the movie "Amazing Grace"? It is a really wonderful portrayal of Wilberforce's efforts. Marvelous book and movie. Thanks!

Maegan Langer said...

Love that movie!!