Well, guys, I did pretty horribly at the monthly open mic. Oh, sure, I still got applause (everyone gets applause, lets be real), and someone complimented my awesome looking guitar.
But, with a shrunken time slot I couldn’t really intro what I planned to do, and the humidity kind of fucked with me. I was going to try to play the new tune, since it’s short (usually comes in at just shy of 3 minutes, which is like a mini-song compared to what I’ve written so far), and I was going to try it with a pick, since I’ve been making serious progress on that front.
I fuddled a lot, in fairly obvious ways. But you know what? WHO CARES? It’s not like the world ended. Open mics are a forum to use to experiment and try things. Sometimes those things need more work. Sometimes, they don’t work at all. And, sometimes they’re awesome. All of those things are completely okay.
We get so worked up about being judged, about not being amazing all the time. We worry so much about what other people think, that we so often forget the value of settings like this is practice. It’s to have the opportunity to practice in front of people who you maybe don’t know. It’s to try to figure out the difference between ‘I’m clapping to be polite’ and ‘I’m clapping because I think that was awesome’ (something I still can’t sleuth out, personally. It all sounds the same to me.)
Still, I know when a set feels bad, and tonight’s felt pretty bad, compared to my usual. Part of this is lead in. I didn’t actually explain much of anything more elaborately than “new tune”. And, while a song should be able to stand on its own, if you’re playing something no one’s ever heard before, I do find it’s often beneficial to set the stage, which I didn’t do.
…then I found the humidity had knocked my guitar out of tune and had to stop to fix that. Then I bungled with the pick and decided to give up on it and strum with my fingers. Then I forgot the rhythm I’d decided on and played some conglomeration of my first draft of the rhythm and the current rendition. It was one oops after another. It’s bad enough that the song mixes metaphors (since it’s barely 3 minutes long, I’m calling it my pop song and deciding that makes the shaky lyrics okay, because pop songs almost never make much sense anyway. haha).
But you know, this is just evidence, from actual live experimentation, that the song’s not ready yet. That’s okay, too. How will I know unless I use an open mic to feel it out, right? Right.
The point I’m getting at, guys, is that it’s not worth it to fret over worst case scenarios. Because, really, the absolute worst case is nobody likes your song/poem/art/etc. And? Did that cause the apocalypse? Are aliens invading for the sole purpose of eradicating your art from the face of the planet? Did your friends and family all disown you for doing one thing that’s kind of lame? No, no, and no.
Is there going to be someone better than you? Yes. Every time, yes. There is never going to be a room full of people where you don’t think at least one of them blew you out of the water. Again, SO WHAT?
I’m honestly glad I did kind of poorly today (in spite of the polite clapping). I know what it feels like now. I got it out of the way. I know what feels like a bad set to me. I also know it doesn’t really matter.
So, those are my words of wisdom to my fellow newbies tonight: Sometimes, you’ll bomb. And, it doesn’t matter. Dust yourself off. Try again later. That’s the whole point.