“2016 is the year of confidence for Andrea.”
That is a statement I hear once a week in my musical improv class at Bad Dog Theatre Company from my teacher, the amazingly talented and accomplished Carly Heffernan.
A word, a state of being and a concept that I have struggled with most of my 33 years. I am a chubby, nerdy, ethnically vague weirdo who found a love for laughing and making people laugh at a very young age. Even with this tool in my pocket I of course encountered mean girls and bullies, I was rejected by just about every guy I had ever liked, friends ostracized me for being different and still somehow I found a way to become comfortable with myself. I thought this was confidence.
But as I journey to put myself out there and be vulnerable with my storytelling and comedy and am lucky enough to see more and more amazing performers, I realize I had the confidence thing all wrong. I came to Toronto, as I have gone into many other challenges and new phases in my life, anxiously enthusiastic. I always thought that enthusiasm masked just how deeply worried I was to fail. Even though that is what this art I have been studying for years now encourages, graceful failing. I am here and taking a huge chance at not an age I expected to do so and I am worried I am going to fuck it up, sometimes I am 100% convinced I am eventually going to mess this amazing opportunity up. I say far worse things in my head that any of my critics could ever could throw at me. This constant dialogue of massive self doubt and fear has stopped me from chasing a dream I have had all my life. I have sat in so many audiences and wished so hard to be up on stage playing. Once I got to start playing regularly in Calgary with the Kinkonauts, my eager enthusiasm started to become louder than my anxiety. The more addicted I got to weaving a story together in the spur of the moment, the bolder I became with my risks. Until I took the biggest risk of my 33 years and moved to Toronto to fulfill a teenage dream of learning and playing in this vibrant community.
My favourite people on stage are the ones who are having a great time and owning their time on stage with confidence. They don’t have a critic making them hesitate all the time, they are completely at ease in a moment and they go for it. This is the performer I want to be. This is what I am working towards.
So as I settle into this new life I think I am slowly learning that confidence is not about anxious enthusiasm or being comfortable with yourself as much as it is about loving who you are. Failing ain’t so bad when you are doing with someone you love. Sure, I am not like everyone else but I have a unique point of view and a passion to share stories and I’m a damn Queen in my own right! (That was so hard to type but my new damn mantra, “I’m a Queen!”)
So, I am going to work hard on taking better care of myself and being a little kinder with my inner dialogue because after all, “2016 is the year of confidence for Andrea.”