Nothing is more certain in those pursuing any field with serious intent than that a nagging voice that lives in the back of their heads telling them over and over again what a failure they are.
I asked on Twitter:
How do YOU shut up the “I’m a failure” voice?
— Travis Bedard (@travisbedard) July 10, 2012
and got the requisite sort of support that social media often offers.
I have a pretty healthy self-image. For a lot of people the idea that I can even hear the failure voice is laughable. While I hesitate to speak for the entire artistic universe, I feel pretty secure speaking for me and you know when I hear that voice most often?
When I’m the most successful.
This comes up because I try to answer honestly when people ask “How Are You?” and at Rose Rage rehearsal the other day when Liz Fisher asked I had no answer but: really great. I am in the midst of what is the longest sustained run of success in my life, personally and theatrically. I am doing work I’m proud of in productions worth inviting people to, I’m working with people I’ve really looked forward to working with, Messenger No. 4 had a great debut for a project that I think will have legs for quite a while, and for the first time in maybe ever I can say I’m a better actor today than I was a year ago.
The cost of that is of course that I am worn to a nub. I am tired physically, mentally, and emotionally. What happens when you’re no longer taking peak care of yourself? The brain chemicals get real dicey. You start hanging out in shadier and shadier mental neighborhoods and you start listening to shaggier and more harmful voices.
I got a raft of great replies on Twitter:
They break down like this:
1. Food. Especially comfort food.
4. Other art.
5. The next project.
The wisdom of crowds says: take a break to recharge with food you like and friends to give you context.
What is YOUR solution?