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The Willy Song

Published November 29, 2015 by anxietyofanactress

This was the first song I wrote which was nearly 7 years ago.  I have learned to turn negative and heartbreaking situations into a positive and as part of my performance devising.

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Stand-Up to Anxiety

Published May 11, 2014 by anxietyofanactress

In August 2012 I spent the majority of a Sunday afternoon on the internet as I was determined to seek a comedy open mic night I could perform at that following week.

The day before, on the Saturday I had made a fool of myself performing in a contest in Hatfield called….Can you guess?  Yep… “HERTFORDSHIRE’S GOT TALENT”.  After waiting to hear whether I had got through to the next round and when I say waiting, I mean WAITING….I had to hang around for a at least a few hours to be told that I wasn’t talented.  Of course I wasn’t literally told that but that’s how it came across despite all the other acts being under 16 years old and ALL singers…..I was the only Comic.  I was glutton for punishment!

Surprisingly I felt slightly disappointed because I hadn’t got through, but I also know that was down to my high expectations of the competition (I have always had high expectations in life and it has been a huge issue for me to deal with) so when I found out I was not going further in the contest I decided to use the experience as a positive.  I eventually accepted that it was the wrong sort of showcase for me and obviously I was out of sort being the only adult delivering a fairly sophisticated 5 minute set.  It took me to the next stage of my comedy journey and on Tuesday of that week I ended up performing at the Lion’s Den Comedy Open Mic night in Soho London.  I was petrified.

When I discovered the Lion’s Den on the Time Out website I was really excited, the blurb read friendly and I liked the fact that the event was especially aimed at new acts.  I arrived at the door of the venue which was Bar Rumba (the comedy club was held downstairs within the establishment) around 5.30pm and if I am honest I was just planning to go as an audience member.  I was nervous on arrival and rambled on in a stutter of verbal anxiety to the organiser whose name was Tim.  I explained I was there to observe but would possibly perform at another time.  I forget if I mentioned to him my anxiety but never the less Tim and then another guy called Richard who ink stamped your hand on entry persuaded me to perform that night.  Oh boy………….

The format of performing was simple.  You wrote your name on a piece of paper, put it in a hat and then the MC would pull names out at random during the course of the night.  While I sat in the audience waiting to hear my name being called but watching the other acts too, I remember feeling accepted and every few seconds I would forget how nervous I was at the fact I would be performing at any moment.

I re-capped the set I was going to perform in my head and hoped and prayed I wouldn’t have a memory blank and then collapse on stage in rage of anxiety and panic.  My name was eventually called and I got up from my seat and walked to the stage.  Straight away I went into my stage persona and although I was terrified I sensed the audience’s warmth for me and in a nut shell I rocked it!!

All acts get 5 minutes which isn’t a long time but for someone like me who has the anxiety issues that I have, back then it seemed like a 100 years.  Two years later 5 minutes is just not enough time for me to shine….I performed at the Funny Women Awards recently and again you only get 5 minutes to showcase but I was so nervous and didn’t warm up into my stage persona until around minute 3.  Gutted!  obviously I haven’t got through to the next round of that contest but I know what the issue is and I have to keep gigging to overcome it.  I lose faith in myself in the beginning of my set, I doubt my ability because as I stated earlier on in this post I have too high expectations on things and that also includes myself.

This week I have 3 gigs so that means 3 opportunities to train my mental state into positivity.  I have proven I can turn negative experiences into positive “next steps”, I just have to work on my crazy self-doubt way before I step onto that stage. 

Wish me luck!

 

2004

Published April 18, 2014 by anxietyofanactress

I moved to London when I was 25 years old from my dinky Buckinghamshire village of Dinton and had got myself a job as a Gymboree teacher.  For those of you who do not know what Gymboree is; it’s a chain of schools that help toddlers with their creative side and helps them to develop confidence from such an early age.  (I often think Gymboree was something my Dad should have got me signed up for).  The children are encouraged to sing and dance around to bubbles being blown and listen to stories that us teachers get to bring our performing skills to.  All the teachers are in the acting profession, I actually got the job by responding to an advert in the Stage Newspaper.

I was still in my Gymboree training when my first anxiety attack had hit me.  I say first attack – I did think this was my first at the time but it seems I had one a few months before.  I will flashback to that later on though……….

The Gymboree training takes up to two weeks.  It is pretty intense and I have always had this issue in not truly believing in myself.  I do not know this of course (not during this time) and not while I am in my 20s and why would I?  In your 20’s you believe you are free spirits with no hang-ups but what you don’t realise, well what I didn’t realise was that I did have this “hang up” I just didn’t realise it was so deep.

During the second week of my Gymboree training I was sitting with the children in a circle and there were two other trained teachers too.  We were all singing nursery songs and the children were loving it, they were laughing and gurgling.  I had taken lead of a particular song as this was part of my learning programme and to be honest I felt absolutely fine, so I thought!

While I was singing and using my hands to mime the actions to the children (I really have no memory of which classic nursery rhyme it was) I flopped to the floor, collapsed!  I had been sitting down already but my body did not want to sit back up once I was in a heap on the carpet.  I am not sure how long I was out for but I remember tears emerging in the corners of my eyes.  I was very shaky and utterly confused to what had just happened.  Those poor children who I had supposed to have been entertaining, they must have thought I was crazy or something.  One minute I am a cutesy children’s presenter type girl who is singing her heart out and the next I am in a large ball on the floor.  One of the other teachers asked me if I had epilepsy. Apparently my mouth had collapsed just before my body did.  I told the teacher I was not aware of having epilepsy and was pretty sure I didn’t have it! The Doctors though, a few days later had diagnosed otherwise.

I got myself checked out at Charing Cross Hospital and they stated they were going to recommend I have some tests i.e. ECG, EEG and MRI which of course were not going to happen straight away as this is the NHS after all but I knew once I had these tests I would know what the outcome was and go from there. Epilepsy I believed was the last thing I was going to be diagnosed with.

 

2011

Published April 18, 2014 by anxietyofanactress

I couldn’t believe it; when it happened again.  I opened my eyes and realised instantly. My heart was racing.  I could feel my heart pumping hard inside my shaky body.  Tears of disappointment and embarrassment reached the corners of my still closed eyes.  I was lying on the floor, the stage floor.  The table leg was hiding part of my body away from the audience.  I was relieved but still so frustrated.  Why did it happen tonight?  The night I really wanted to shine….The night, Andy my boyfriend of nearly two years was sitting in the audience supporting me.  Supporting my aspirations to be an established Actress.

Here he was now; stroking my face while I wept pathetically reminding myself of yet another anxiety attack, an anxiety attack that took over my body and soul while I spoke out my monologue.  I felt crumbled.  The audience was only small but still they had paid for their tickets and I had given them a performance they would never forget.  I was even sitting down when I was performing; well at least I think I was, everything was a blur (where was Damon Alban when you needed him – I use humour to hide my insecurities).  There is a moment when I stand up from the table during my monologue but to be honest I don’t think I had reached that point yet.

Chris who played my son in the play nicknamed me the “Improv Queen” I liked that.  I was adding my own little twist to the role of Donna I played in each performance of the one week run.  I was enjoying myself each night but I have to say I was a little terrified each time but I thought that just added to the quality of my performance.

I didn’t use to be so nervous.  When I was in my late teens and early 20s; nothing scared me.  I could get on the stage and perform anything, whether it were bad, good or weird.  I didn’t care.  I was performing!  Now at 32 years old, I was a terrified and anxious lady who still loved acting but had something holding me back.  My confidence I guess.  I don’t know how I became like this.