I did ballet for a long time when I was little. I had three teachers, a few performances, and many hours of practicing. When I was nine, I had a summer performance with the rest of my class. Since the dress rehearsal had been on a Saturday, and that was the day I went to church, I didn't go and showed up the next day oblivious to whatever might happen. My mom pulled my hair into the tightest bun possible, gave up on trying to put false eyelashes on me (I still hate them!), and we jumped into the car to head over to the performance center.
When it was my class' turn to perform, we went out onto the stage. Unknowingly, I stood where I thought I was supposed to, and put my arms above my head like I'd practiced. A couple seconds later, I realized I was in the wrong place, and skipped over to where I supposed to be (see picture below to see this moment). It was a small slip-up, but it was one of those moments where you know you messed up and you know that everyone else knows you messed up as well. Still, I was able to recover the mistake and still danced my little heart out like I was supposed to.
Over the next few years, I had many more slip ups and potential mistakes, but my ability to recover easily worsened. I talked myself out of singing for a talent show when I was in eighth grade, and then developed a bad case of stage fright my sophomore year of high school that eventually led to me dropping out of drama. Over the last two years, I've gotten slightly better at managing my stage fright, but I still don't like auditioning. I actually never have. When I was thirteen I auditioned for I Dreamed a Dream by signing in the instrument closet loud enough so my teacher could hear me. I like to think I've improved in the last five years, but auditioning is still very difficult for me.
About a month ago, right before finals, I had my audition for Pirates of Penzance, my school's spring musical for this year. The day before, I cried to my mom in the In-n-Out drive through. I told her I was *this* close to not going at all and skipping the whole musical because I was so terrified of "failing" again. (Spoiler alert: I'm one of the General's daughters, and the audition could have gone so much worse.) I spent the morning of the day of my audition on the verge of tears, and even texted my mom saying I wasn't sure I would go through with it.
At some point during math (my last class on Fridays), I left and went to the empty bathroom. I stared at myself in the mirror and whisper/yelled to myself "I don't care if you go in there and cry. I don't care if you go in there and apologize thousands of times or make excuses. I care if you don't go in at all." That's right, I yelled at my reflection in a school bathroom. I soon left and went back to math but didn't feel any less nervous then I had before leaving.
I have a fear of messing up. I have a fear of looking ridiculous, and I have a fear of failure. I don't like being pitied and I definitely don't like messing up. I've realized that I need to listen to nine year old Claira and take some advice from her. After all, she was able to handle a slight mishap in front of hundreds of people, most of whom definitely noticed the mistake. The auction went well, and I was proud of myself after it ended. I knew that I did my best, and that's all I could ask of myself. That all I can ever ask of myself. I still have a fear of messing up, but it looks like I'm going to have to put on my big girl ballet shoes and realize that even though there's always a chance I'll mess up, there's also a chance I'll come out of it a more capable person.