Performers need to perform. It’s in our DNA. Most of us can remember performing at a very young age. Usually it was a need for attention. Reasons for performers needing to be on stage has been linked to middle child syndrome, bottle fed infants, alcoholic fathers. They treat us like we are sick. Why is it always a negative reason for the need to be on stage? Are there any “normal” kids who enjoy the spotlight on them all the time and the need to be the center of attention? Probably not.
I have heard the number one fear people have is speaking in front of a crowd. Death is number two. Jerry Seinfeld put it perfectly “If speaking in front of a crowd is number 1 and death is number 2, that means people would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy”.
As a school child, I looked forward to presenting my project in front of the class. I enjoyed repeating jokes I heard on the Ed Sullivan show to my school friends. I lived with funny parents. My Dad was the funniest person I ever knew growing up, and a lot of other people agreed. I saw the draw he received from being funny. It was the easiest route to popularity and bully prevention.
However, the average “normal” human being doesn’t have this need to be the center of the universe. The self-involved narcissistic behavior of us performers tends to get in the way of our relationships.
I have actually lied to my wife about performing. The stage is my golf, my strip club, my mistress. I see it and I want to mount it.
Now that is sick.
When I try to explain the rush I feel on stage to a non-performer they don’t get it. Some of them pretend to understand but they don’t. They are happy for me that I have found my calling, my passion, but they don’t understand it.
Fellow performers are competitive, jealous, often depressed people. I don’t know why that is a common thread among us. Perhaps we always want more. More love. More acceptance. I often wonder if I will ever feel fully satisfied.
I tend to feel good about it all when I look backwards.
Then it’s personal. Then it’s finally about me.
I find myself saying “I did that”.
And that doesn’t make me feel sick.
THAT feels good.