Sensitive Material

“How do you overcome the judgement that comes with performing/being in the public eye? I often find it crippling. To the point I don’t audition for shows without friends there. As a performer you see the problem there.” ~ B.B., from “Ask Hannibal Anything Monday” on Facebook. 12/7/15

“Art is the act of taking your heart out and shining lights on it.” ~ Cannelle Ciel

I was reminded yesterday of a phrase I hadn’t heard in years: “The Call”. Most often used lately to refer to being ‘called’ into ministry. I believe it goes deeper than that. As humans, I believe we have something in our very makeup – both physically and passionately – that we are meant to do. I have a passion for music, and I can play one or two instruments with an excess of mediocrity. That is to say: I can play the notes, but I cannot make them into music. That’s okay, I am not ‘built’ to be a musician. My road goes in a different direction. Depending on your environment and personal drive, it may be easy or extremely difficult to recognize and then act on your own road.

As an artist, you are compelled (whether you believe it to be internal or divine) to share your heart. You train and you practice and you rehearse for thousands of hours in order to present your soul and vision … even if the presentation is but a few minutes. In that few minutes you will unleash the power that you decide to let go of. That’s right: you don’t have to give it all away: sometimes that’s just far to much to ask. You and you alone decide just how much of your heart to show.

Understand that the throngs you put out into the world may not only painful to share, but painful to hear. You are wielding one of the most powerful weapons ever. You can choose to use it as a sword or a plowshare. In a very real way it is quite like ‘coming out’ to people you love: some will have no problem, some will need some time to accept, some will (sadly) react negatively. You may even lose them. But understand this very clearly: That is not your problem, it is theirs. Your art is as real and vital to you as your lungs, your brain … your heart.

This is not a lark. This is life. You have this gift, this vital drive for a reason. There is something or someone that needs to see your heart in order to survive. (This is my faith.)

If I understand your question correctly, you are asking me how to overcome your own fear of showing who you are to strangers, critics and family who are going to judge your talent and your sincerity. You have friends and family that see your art as something you do in your free time, instead of the very blood in your spirit.
My answer is this: First, do what you do to the best of your ability. You owe it to the gift and to the audience to give your very utmost.
Second: work as much as you possibly can. The more serious you are about your craft, the more you show the world how vital it actually is. The more you show your heart, the easier it will be and you’ll begin to be able to share even more. Be prepared to stretch your comfort level a little more each time. Be true.

In summary: it’s in  your heart and hands to do because it is important. Not only to you, but to art itself and to the souls you will touch. You have been called into your craft. Believe in its importance, have faith that you are the temporary caretaker of the art and you have responsibility for it. Grasp this for yourself and you will find it easier to communicate to others. As a bonus, when you firmly believe in the foundation of your art, the words of the critics won’t damage you nearly as much.

I await your feedback …

h

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