What is failure? When I look in the dictionary, my picture isn’t there, yet I have been wrestling with the whole idea lately.
Since June I have been in 3 competitions, and none of them came close to what I had hoped. I played at the Towne Crier Invitational Open Mic Finals Round. There were first, second and third place prizes. I did not place. After the show several folks paid me very nice compliments, ‘you were my favorite’, ‘you should have won’ etc.
In July, after the encouragement of a few friends, I decided to try out for The Voice in NYC. At the end of the audition, our whole group was sent home, no callbacks. Again, the compliments, ‘you were amazing’, blah, blah, blah.
Then in August I was invited to the Big Stage Competition at Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT. First, second and third prizes all went to other competitors. And the compliments came again, ‘you should have won’, etc. etc.
So, am I doing something wrong? Is it enough to have just gotten that far? What can I learn? Is it a sign I am not good enough? I went back and analyzed each performance and found things I could have done differently. Would it have made a difference in the outcome? Who knows? But it has given me some good insight to how I have been operating.
At the Towne Crier, I said very little on stage. I gave the songs everything and that was it. I saw some pictures after and in every one, my eyes were closed. Not very much for an audience to connect to I suppose.
For The Voice audition I think my song choice was too obscure. I did Overlap by Ani DiFranco. I had tossed around doing Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, but thought it seemed too obvious since she’s been a judge on the show. In the end I think it might have been the better choice, but it may not have made a bit of difference.
Lastly, at Infinity Hall, I tried harder to do a bit more stage patter, and make more eye contact. This was an audience that truly did not need that, so I could have just stayed more in the song.
In all 3 situations I over-thought everything. I wasn’t true to myself, I was trying too hard to decipher what I thought ‘they’ wanted. Rather than just be me. So it has left me with regret. Not that I didn’t win, but that I was not completely in my thing and walk away proud regardless of the outcome.
*this was originally written September 10, 2013 but I was too afraid to publish it. Shocking.