Ima try be vulnerable with you now.
Let’s talk about the overwhelming Fear that comes up when you start putting yourself out there. I’m currently producing my next play I AM NOT A ROBOT, a ‘surprise project’ that came as a response to a call out for short plays. I wanted to put two women in a room and have all manner of shit go wrong for them so we could laugh and be glad it wasn’t us. It came clear it had more to give than 15 minutes to give so I extended it for another call out for 30 – 40 minute plays hoping to God it’d be picked up so I could slink at the back of rehearsals scribbling ‘notes’ wearing a beret and being THE WRITER. Wasn’t to be. Neither company I’d written it for wanted it and after the initial slew of negative emotions that rejection brings I saw the clear gift they’d given me (gratitude to SWITCH MCR + Up’ Ere Productions for helping me write it).
I realised I had a play here that I hoped an audience would have a lot of fun with that reflects Bluestocking’s original ethos and raison d’etre – to show women as Human. Fallible, daft, complex, selfish, silly, fucked up, loving, all things women are yet we rarely see. Time to put my money where my mouth is.
If this bombs my name’s all over it. Better lean in. The Fear is real. Feels real. But my coach – Jessica Paul (look her up) always says, ‘girl – you got to hold hands with the fear’. For me there has to be an acceptance that it might ‘fail.’ All manner of things could plausibly go wrong. Yes – maybe no one will come, yes – maybe people will hate it, yes – maybe I become the laughing stock of the MCR fringe scene – maybe maybe maybe. When these fears enter my consciousness, I try to hold them, acknowledge them, and say ‘yes, yes that’s a possibility,’ but guess what? My growth, learning and experience is vital and the only way we grow and develop is by doing things we’ve never done before. It’s by taking bigger risks, stepping out and forging ahead.
I’m not naturally a confident person. Forces in my youth smashed my confidence to bits and it’s taken a lifetime to rebuild. But my confidence expands each time I say yes to the whispers of a project then bring it to fruition. Don’t ever let me or anyone make you think any of this is easy. It’s doable, but not easy. The admin – producing, casting, marketing, planning and prep is one thing, time and energy consuming, but mainly a tick list exercise. The writing is another – will it be any good? Can I execute a good ending? Will people connect with it? So many doubts come to stop us in our tracks and we can sabotage ourselves at every turn. But we gotta see that for what it is and take the leap anyway.
We might fall, we might make fools of ourselves, we could be laughed at for all the wrong reasons. Or – and get this, we might succeed greatly – more than ever dreamed possible. Maybe is our true fear. That we won’t be able to handle how great we can be. Who knows? All I know right now is we need more women’s stories and more working class people leading the way for other working class people to say this is possible for you, we don’t have to live small lives never doing the thing that makes us happy because we feel we’re not worthy of it. We can actually do what we like, it’s just Us that stops us.
Stop getting in your own way.
And (shameless plug…) come see my play – 14 – 17h June, I AM NOT A ROBOT, Kings Arms Salford.