An audience! Oh, an audience!

I’m here to write.  To fulfill my daily pledge.  But, I have been hesitant.  Not hesitant to write.  I have been writing.   I have been hesitant to post anything here.

A friend once asked me what inspires in people the driving need for an audience.  We were talking about blogs in particular.  The various types of blogs, the many varieties of sounding board.  I tried to justify my own need for an audience by claiming that I view my writing– in any form that it takes– as an art form.  I specifically stated that I don’t use my blog as much as a sounding board as a venue for my art. That I write essays, not journal entries.

How self-important.  How untrue. (My last post will attest to that.)

You see, I am one of those.  One of those that desires/craves/needs an audience.  Not just for my writing.  I’m sure that is why I am involved in theater.  I feel that way when I am dancing too.  Recently, with my therapist, I expressed the desire to be back on the salsa floor.  Salsa is something I am good at.  Something I can lose myself in.  Something that I imagine people are noticing.  Staring at.  Jealous of.

How self-important.

(Yes, when my therapist asked me, as homework, to dance for 5-10 minutes alone at home, I could not.  It’s just not the same, is it?)

So I am here.  Hoping you will stare right through me.  I am here justifying my need for an audience under the pretense that I am some sort-of artist.  That I am painting some manner of self-portrait that you will notice, stare at, contemplate, congratulate, love.

How, yes, self-important.

As a full-time teacher/full-time mom, I don’t have as many opportunities to put myself on stage, on a lovely golden pedestal.  Where does that leave my fragile ego, my self-esteem?

I need to back up a bit.  I don’t like the picture I am painting of myself.  It can’t be all about self-esteem and affirmation.  Can it?  I mean, what drives people to tell the stories that they tell? What drives me?

Wait! I’m sure that I can come up with other motives.  I know that I am actually free of ego when I am in character, on a dance floor, in the flow of writing something beautiful.  I am thoughtless.  One step leads ever so easily and ever so organically to the next.  I don’t know what I might say or do, how I might move.  It is much like meditating during Shavasana.   I breathe.  I clear my mind.  I exist.

It is only in the aftermath, in the moments after I step off the stage, that I consider the audience.  When I act, or dance, or write, I am aware of the people around me (or the potential readers around me), but I do not really see them.  If I think, I fuck up.  So, I don’t think.  Often when I was performing an improv skit, I didn’t hear the laughter.  It was only after the show, during the postmortem, that I was reminded of those bits of guttural approval.

It is in the aftermath that I second-guess myself.  But, it is also in the aftermath that I imagine the inner-monologue (or would it be dialogue?) of the spectators.  When I imagine how they might have loved me and how they wish they could be up there doing what I do.  (On an average day, I might also imagine that they might have found me wordy, unintelligent, fat.  But, I usually compromise.  I surmise that they were all thinking; “That fat girl sure can dance!”)

However, the aftermath as well as the mind-numb is what drives me there in the first place.  Right?

Halt again!  I am lying.  That bit about blocking the audience is true when I have a tangible audience, but is not true about all of my writing.  Right now, I am considering my audience as I type.  I am imagining certain people reading this entry and am imagining what they are thinking about my words, about my points, about my self.   Because the audience is not immediate, I create an audience.  (Thus, the beauty of the blog.  Immediate publication. No wait time.) Sometimes that self-created audience is a thrill, sometimes it makes me self-conscious.  Sometimes it silences me.

I have talked a great deal about silences.  I realize that, as of late, I have been silencing myself by worrying about my audience.  Worrying about what they might think.  Worrying that they are rolling their eyes at my journaling.   Worrying that they see me for what I am:  a girl who needs applause and back clapping.  I forget that they can close the window, turn the channel, choose to leave my journal alone.  I forget that that is okay.

This is not what I intended to write about.  I intended to apologize for my last—very journaly—post and to commit to essay writing.  However, I commit to nothing.  Nothing save that I will continue to audience-seek, like it or no.  You can choose to tune me out or turn me on.  It is just who I am.

(And, I still haven’t really answered my own questions.  Therefore, I smell a follow-up.   Be prepared.)

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4 Comments

  1. Kim said,

    July 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    As I member of your audience, I’d like to make a request (do you take requests?!). I’d love it if you would say, “F%ck the audience.” I wish you’d never give us a fleeting thought. I wish you’d write for you and post your work the moment it’s done without an ounce of regret. I’d love it if you wrote with no filter, no lens under which your message might be skewed.

    But, that’s just me…. 😉

    • ecoolbeth said,

      July 14, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      Much appreciated, Kim! What a boost of confidence. I wish I could write with no thought of an audience. But, it seems so ingrained in me. I am working on it… Thanks again!

  2. Andrea said,

    July 14, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I’d love to go salsa dancing again. Although I have forgotten everything! I love reading your posts even when they are journalish


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