Client Journal: The Critic Part 1

Critic 1: I think I keep hurting myself because I want someone to take care of me, someone to notice me. Someone to make the pain and hurt go away. This is coming from the little girl inside me. I am also scared. I am scared that my mom is right. That I don’t have what it takes, that shouldn’t be a dancer, that I’m not good enough. I feel extremely sad admitting that.

Critic 2: I think I am the most critical of myself when it comes to my art. When I have had a really important audition, I have found some way to sabotage it. For example, last spring, a talent agency for dancers was holding open call auditions to look for new dancers to represent. Now that I am thinking about it, I started to sabotage myself the night before the audition. The night before I decided to go out drinking with some friends. I reasoned that the audition wasn’t until 2 p.m., so I had enough time to sleep and be well rested. When I woke up and got ready to leave, I realized that I had forgotten my head shot and resume, so then I had to haul ass to the Kinkos to print them off an old email that I had sent out to a casting director.  Because of this last minute run around I had to do, by the time I had gotten to the audition my nerves were shot. While waiting for my turn to go inside the audition room I was looking at everyone comparing them to me, saying to myself how everyone else in the room was a way better dancer than me. I would look at other dancers and think,”She has ‘the look’ they want”, “she’s more versatile than me”, “she has a better freestyle than me,” and just on and on and on. By the time I got past the first round, I was so nervous and negative and collapsed in myself that I didn’t focus enough to pick up the choreography and when it was time for me to perform it, I stood off to the side where no one would really see me. As a result, I got cut. On the way home I kept telling myself how dumb I was for thinking I even had a shot at getting represented. How my mom was right, I shouldn’t become a professional dancer and how I would never be the dancer I wanted to be because everyone was a better dancer than me. There was also another audition I once had for an off Broadway play over the summer, this one just involved acting. I did a really good job at both the audition and the callback and it seemed likely that I would get the part, but during the week that I would have gotten that “you got the part” phone call, I procrastinated on paying my phone bill. As a result, my phone go shut off the day that they were making their phone calls to let the actors know that they got cast in the show. These games that I play with my self and my self worth is my mother’s voice, her disapproval of trying to tell what to do with my life. I think a large portion of self sabotage ultimately comes from wanting to please her.

Realization: That was an in my face realization for me. You are right. I have been so caught up with and attached to “making it”, that I have lost touch with why I wanted to dance in the first place. Which is simply because I love it, I have a good time and it makes me feel good. The more I think about it, if I go take a class with the intention to just have a good time, learn some choreography and”rock it”, I dance harder, better and I have more artistry than I do if I go into class with the intention of “being the best.” It’s this thought if being the best that gets me into my head and into sabotage mode. I have to let go of this notion that I have to be the best… Easier said than done, definitely, but for my soul survival it is what I have to start working on doing.  However, it is a tricky line, because I still think it is important to have certain goals and hold myself to standards, but I need to find exactly where it is that I turn from becoming a committed dancer, to be the best dancer I can be, to becoming the attached dancer that gets scared and collapsed.

I feel happier and relieved sharing this with you. I feel relieved because reading your responses gives me the perspective I need to look at myself to begin to make changes within myself. I feel that this inner critic in me, is a major part of where my hurt and pain comes from.

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