Friday, June 17, 2011

Recovering from Terminal Dorkification

Today is Narcissism Day on Challenging the Gnome!
Yessiree, today is the day we get to talk only about ourselves!
Wait. Most days we talk only about ourselves.


Well, there's no help for it. I want to post a video of me singing in order to illustrate a point, and it runs the risk of appearing self-promoting. Of course, given the video's content, it will mostly be self-promoting my dorkiness  . . . . So maybe it's okay.

All right. I'm doing it. Narcissism Day has officially begun! Woot! And that day begins with a question: How do you recover from a catastrophic, publicly humiliating mistake? The kind of mistake that makes you want to move to Loogootee, Indiana and spend the rest of your life quietly studying tse tse fly biorhythms?

I mean, some mistakes are so oppressively humiliating--even if there is only a single witness--that you kind of wonder how you'll get up the next morning, you know? I hate those. And they happen to me all the time. I should figure out why.

These mistakes used to absolutely flatten me. I mean I would ruminate over them for days, sometimes weeks, beating myself over the head with them. Replaying them over and over again so I could self-flagellate some more. And then celebrating their yearly anniversary by standing in the toilet and attempting to flush myself down.

Got tired of that after a while. I was getting a water ring about the ankles. Something had to be done.

And that's when I decided to be a David to my Goliaths. I decided that instead of running away from my mistakes I would embrace them. So I did

 And then after doing that a few times, and learning a few things, and accepting that I regularly commit big über-dorkified gaffes, I decided to go one further. I would not only embrace the mistakes, I would run right over them and drag them down the field, while I was in the course of making them. Yep. If I was going to make a mistake, I was going to make it all. the. way. And take the sucker down with me while I was at it.

And you know what? Suddenly I owned my mistakes. Suddenly I was in control. I decided what my response was going to be, then carried it out with confidence. And dip me in banana peels if the people who saw me fall didn't just smile, ask if I was all right, pat me on the back, and move on. Without thinking one bit worse of me. In fact, I believe it made them my friends--because I, just like they, made mistakes. Was human. Was the Queen of the Dorks.

I am telling you people, this works. Fear not to fail. Fear not to flail. Love it. Embrace it. Run with it. And watch what happens. No really. Watch. The following clip is me singing at a Christmas concert a year or so back, and failing quite grandly. I was somewhat out of voice and was having severe memory problems. Look what these lovely people did in response to me putting my Goliath in a full-nelson (not that I'm all great and fabulous; it was a well-practiced desperation response if ever there was one) (And by the way, there were more people in attendance than this video makes it look. Most of them were behind the camera. Even in the balcony. Plenty of people to die in front of) (Try to ignore the cracked-out look on my face):

Yeah. We're all best friends now. I invite them to over for birthday parties, they have me for Thanksgiving. We braid each other's hair and sometimes sing together. Just not "Walking in a Winter Dorky-Land."

Hey. I can make mistakes. I just don't think I gotta move in with them.


CMSmith said...

So refreshing to laugh at ourselves. But with a voice like that, you could have started over ten times and it still would have been lovely.

Donna Banta said...

I'll be laughing all day over the image of you (and now me) standing in the toilet and flushing. But your post is on the money. Owning your mistakes is the only way to go! (One of the reasons I use my real name on my blog. lol)

Sara B. Larson said...

Aren't you miss multi-talented with the amazing voice, and the cooking, and the writing, and everything else. Way to own your mistakes (mostly because you are so amazing and you know it!). ;)

Janiel Miller said...

Thanks guys! Embracing your inner-dork is the only way to go! I was concerned about posting the clip because I do sing, and I didn't want to be all "Look at me! Look at me!" But the flub-up was a good one, and the audience was awesome. It was a great example of how people really do want each other to succeed. And if we don't act like we're dying, they won't think we're dying. And will treat us accordingly.

Thank you for your kind words. :)

Maleah said...

I want to hear the rest of the song! I am soooo loving summer, but that did make me a bit nostalgic for some yuletide and fudge.

Alison Moore Smith said...

Beautiful. <3 <3 <3 You are still such a great singer!

Once when I sang in Boca, a friend came up to me and said, "I feel so much better about my singing now. Even your voice cracked."

Um...yea. Thanks.

But what people should know is that MOST of us NEVER have a perfect performance. The bar isn't as high as people think. Just SING! :)

P.S. This did not exhibit dorkiness. It was finessed beyond belief and made the audience love you MORE. Total class act.

Maegan Langer said...

I remember one time in high school at a pep rally (or "spirit bowl" as it was called - and true to my little hermit self I hated them and tried to avoid them whenever possible, nevertheless, I'm glad I made it to this particular one), the girl singing the national anthem went to do a fancy run on a high note towards the end of the song but instead choked and sputtered. When she said "sorry" into the microphone, everyone in the gym clapped and cheered her on and she finished the song. It was really nice.

You handled that with grace and poise, Miss Janiel of the Golden Pipes :)

Caleb Warnock said...

You handled it like a pro, I thought. Very well done. Zero dork. And you have a beautiful voice, outshone only by your confidence.

Janiel Miller said...

You GUYS! You are so kind! Thank you! I really wasn't fishing for compliments. I just learned through this silly experience that people are nice and generally want each other to succeed. I loved how this audience was so supportive. It made me realize that how I sounded wasn't the important thing; how the audience felt was the important thing. I think when we freak out it makes people feel nervous. When we are calm, like the girl Maegan talked about, people are right with us.

Thanks so much, again. :)

FrankandMary said...

Hey, at least no one can say you have a calcified worldview.
I make several mistakes each minute.~Mary

Janiel Miller said...

I LOVE that, Mary! Great way to look at it. :)

Lori said...

What a wonderful voice and beautiful poise in handling the "false" starts!"

Russo said...

Janiel, this is an amazing post. Definatly not dorky. I loved that I finally got to hear you sing. Gorgeous voice & post, my friend.