It has been three years since I sang professionally or even practiced singing consistently. And if I'm honest, I was letting my acting chops slip away as well. Walking away from my acting career was the right decision for me at the time and I'm grateful for the peace and joy I've found by stepping into a "normal" life for a bit. I knew that I would eventually come back to acting and it feels like the time is almost right to return to a career in performance.
In a world of influencers and expert culture, it can be intimidating to try to put yourself out there again when you know the judgement that will come your way in a world full of people who "know" how things should be. There are a lot of critics in the world thanks to technoloty, but there is also a brand new audience. As Brene Brown reminded us through the words of Theodore Roosevelt, living your life in the arena is the only way to truly live. I choose to get back in.
I jumped with both feet into practicing in public. On Instagram Stories I began to post my fumblings, one minute passes at Broadway songs I've never sang, as I began to exercise my voice and acting chops again.
I sang sharp; I made strange faces that betray my classical, opera training (Sorry, Dr. Bryant!); and it was low quality video with karaoke tracks playing on my Chromebook while I propped my phone on the laptop and hit record. Nothing about my Practicing in Public videos are polished, high end or anything worthy of praise.
While these videos might not be many things, what they are is beautiful, because they tell a story of choosing progress over perfection, giving myself permission to not be performance ready after 3 years away but to enjoy what it feels like to step back into my skin as an actress, singer, performer. I won't win any awards or accolades or even attention from these one minute videos, but I will earn a little more confidence, joy and a rebuilding of the actress that I was. That is worth everything.
These short videos also function as a bold statement to all of us that we can ditch expert culture and just put our unfinished, unpolished, in-progress art out there in the world as we work hard to hone our craft. Do you practice your art in a public way?