So, I am trying to make a commitment to myself going forward that I will not create or perform any more throw away numbers. It is going to be hard…
First, you may be asking – well, what IS a throw away number? A throw away number, for me, is a simple number – non-complex, easy to make, non-risky, fun (hopefully). Something I can create quickly and then forget about it – I can literally throw it away. It is a number that is almost as easy for me as walking down the street – I don’t have to put much thought into it – I just have to DO it.
The opposite of a throw away number is one of the numbers that I push through. The numbers that, either because of skill level, emotional quality, story line, or costume, (or all of the above) really push my limits, really make me on edge, maybe even make me a little scared to create and perform them. They are often the numbers that drive me or compel me and are born out of my non-stop vision of them in my head OR they are the ones that I spent months or years lamenting, chastising myself that it can never be done, procrastinating over them because they have to be “perfect,” (and yes, for those of you who know me, even I procrastinate), sometimes anguishing over them – either because they drive me nuts or because they are so emotionally charged that I sometimes cry as I create them or dance them because they make me feel my emotions so very very deeply. They are the hard numbers. The striving numbers. The ones that I feel make me a better performer. The ones that I am not entirely sure how they will be perceived by the audience. The ones that are risky. Those numbers.
But I have decided – that is it – no more throw away numbers. There are no throw aways. Not now, not ever. As I said, this is going to be hard. It isn’t that I don’t like my throw away numbers – I do. I just don’t think they are WORTHY. And that is the part that has to, must, stop.
I realized this last month at Bombshell Betty’s Taboo show. I was doing my strap-on penis fan dance. I wear 6 inch Lucite heels, sparkle jewelry, lavender panties and matching gloves, and a large erect hot pink rhinestoned dildo. Oh, yes, and I have gigantic pink and lavender feather fans that hide my erect pink rhinestoned strap-on until about half way through the number, when the audience gets their first peek at my rhinestoned pleasure penis. (Pleasure being relative in this context because it is a pleasure to behold, but I would not insert it anywhere expecting pleasure because I am guessing it would HURT.) But I digress, because it is fun talking about my sparklized pink penis… Anyway, my point is, to me, this is a throw away number. It is simple – not complex dancing, the usual fan moves, blah blah blah. I was feeling really uncertain about how I was going to get on stage and SELL this number because I was so unexcited about it. I mean, other than the penis. But, if I am not happy with the number, then what does it matter if I am wearing an amazing strap on? The strap on is not the act – I, me, myself, what I bring to the stage, is the act.
So, back to the point – I get on the stage, still uncertain – but thinking to myself to be energized and be amazing… and the music starts (It is to the Meaning of Life by Monty Python with an addition of the penis song by same)… and with me on stage and the music behind me I feel and hear this murmur of excitement from the audience. They were excited about my number before they saw the penis. And their excitement made me excited. And my excitement made my number way better than me wondering why I was doing another ‘throw away’ number. So, I went on stage wondering how I was going to “sell” my act to the audience and I came off stage realizing that I don’t have any throw away numbers unless I MAKE them a throw away number. Great – maybe some of my numbers are easy to create. But they are amazing because I am doing them and because I am amazing. (Note: I am not always this confident and full of myself, but this is a good moment to be full of myself.) Maybe every number isn’t a festival submission quality, but they don’t all have to be. But they do have to have confidence and spark and my energy flowing through them because that is what makes every number I do interesting or not interesting – whether it was the hardest thing I ever performed or me just walking across the stage to the sound of nothing.
If I come to the performance with the attitude of “it’s a throw away number” and that impacts my confidence on stage then I am making it a throw away number. Not because it isn’t hard but because I am not putting enough of myself into it to make it worthwhile. I think I developed the term because it is my equivalent of “oh, this old thing?” when I receive compliments. I am denigrating my work to myself and I realized in performing this one number that this actually negatively impacts my mind set and my performance potential.
So, I have decided no more throw away numbers. I will still create and perform easy numbers and complex numbers. Some numbers will not challenge my physical abilities, my story-telling prowess, or my costuming skills… they may be easy and simple to create – but they are NOT throw aways, because I am not a throw away, and neither are you.
So, lesson – simple is fine. Simple can be good. Everything doesn’t have to be an earthshattering creative experience to make it good. You make what you do good or you don’t. And the more you THINK something is bad the more it will become bad – the more you put positive energy into it, the more you will get back.