This is the final installment of a 3 part series examining how we are in control of our own destiny and how we can positively compel ourselves to find our niche in life, getting our dreams and achieving our goals along the way. In this final article, I will share with you a real life example of how to use positive energy, effort and will power to turn a troubling situation into a positive experience. I call this:
“Mimi Bloopers” First Performance Experience
I decided to follow my dream of becoming a songwriter and performer while approaching middle-age. It was not a hasty decision based on a mid-life crisis, but one that laid dormant in my sub-consciousness for a long time. I loved performing and just waited for the right moment to bring this passion back into focus.
My desire to pursue a composing-performing experience before a live audience was originally pushed by my sister Rosemarie, who was a stroke victim at the age of 42 and also a member of OPUS (Organization of “People Undaunted By Stroke) in Westchester County, New York. She was my biggest fan, using all her influence to set me up for my very first public performance. I did not know how she did it, but the auditorium was packed to capacity with a terrific audience. I have to admit, I was extremely nervous that day, afflicted by a bad case of stage fright. I was so stressed out that I had developed a slight case of laryngitis. In my performance I utilized a variety of costumes, hats, wigs and props to convey the theme and mood of my personal compositions along with some Broadway tunes which I had planned to sing. I don’t smoke, but I decided to act real cute that day and puff away on a cigarette while singing, trying to inhale the smoke and push it out through my nose. That was the dumbest thing I could have ever done. I should have attempted to practice at home instead of before a live audience. I burned my nostrils, which made me cough terribly, bringing tears to my eyes. The more I choked on the cigarette, the more my wig would shift forward toward my eyes. I was terrified that it would catch on fire. What a sight, there I was on stage looking utterly ridiculous with my lop-sided wig, rotted sneakers three sizes too big and a massive feathered boa wrapped around my neck trying to sing “Elegance” from “Hello, Dolly.”
In my extreme nervousness my voice started to break as I reached the higher pitch, and while moving my arms I lost my balance and fell backwards. All of my weight crashed against the table prop, bringing a tall glass vase crashing to the floor. Luckily I didn’t cut myself when I fell. There was glass all over the floor and a chair next to the round table prop. Immediately, as if on cue, a janitor appeared from nowhere on stage and began whistling as he swept away the broken glass. My voice teachers always advised me that if I was ever caught in a distracting situation while performing, I should stay focused and continue with my singing. The crowd roared with laughter as they watched the ostensible comedy act of the janitor in the background sweeping while I was singing. How awful, they called my goof-ups COMEDY. Right then and there, I knew my so-called career was over just as soon as it had begun.
The career I was hoping to begin was as a professional singer, not as a comedian. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. Nothing was going well. I was so upset. I packed up everything and left the building as fast as I could.
In the car I didn’t say too much to my sister even though she was trying to sound cheerful. I was far from elated. On the contrary, I began to cry, mumbling that I shouldn’t have gotten into this business. Maybe I should have listened to Mama and just continued to sing with the church choir as a back-up singer. I began lamenting all the expenses I had incurred in order to arrive at this point. The purchase of a brand new piano, trained voice and private piano lessons, time invested in my musical compositions, 2 years of vocal training at the Leneve School of Music and Art, a professional recording of two of my songs, all wasted. I was in such a rotten mood, completely discouraged. Let’s face it, no one is immune to discouragement. It comes to all of us at one time or another, because “Life is an unfolding process, where we move from comparative ease to points of crisis.” My dream was starting to slip away as I allowed my positive attitude to be overpowered with negative emotions. I had a lot of anticipation for that first performance, but since I didn’t see the results I had hoped for, this fueled my discouragement.
My sister was getting annoyed with me and said: “What is wrong with you, will you, please stop with all this drama. Enough of this “woe is me” mentality. For being such a positive minded person, you amaze me. This was your very first show and you are already calling it quits? That’s the way it goes! Sometimes it’s okay, sometimes it’s awful. You have to learn how to go with the flow. You need to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. So stop being so hard on yourself. To be honest, I thought you were superb and funny. I almost wet my pants when you were choking on the cigarette and at the part where you fell and broke the glass. The audience roared. You want people to remember you, don’t you? Look at the bright side. Here’s a terrific idea… why don’t you try adding some comedic situations to each of your shows. Make it something like a vaudeville-style comedy variety act.” I remember saying “Isn’t that a little old-fashioned?” “Who cares? People need to laugh, and you can always knock them dead with the songs. Go for it, girl.” Thank God, for my wise older sister and the humbling lesson that I learned from all of this.
Since that first experience, despite all the obstacles, setbacks and failures which I had encountered during my years as a songwriter-performer, I was still able to write and perform more than 25 original songs. I was beginning to feel a lot more confident about my progress and future in the entertainment field. There were some years that were more successful than others, until, regrettably, an accident brought closure to this chapter of my life.
Once again I found myself standing on the precipice of making a conscious decision to follow another dream with an intense desire to stick with it. Although my performance as a website administrator and blogger may seem less attractive, I have had no regrets about my career changes. Now I have added another heart’s desire to my list of accomplishments as I am working on becoming a successful writer. This is my goal, this is the hollow I want to fill, and when I get there that is where I will remain.
As you can see for yourself, having a positive or a negative thought process does make a significant difference in finding your niche in life.
Positive minded people take advantage of all opportunities available to them, releasing themselves from all self-imposed restrictions. These individuals not only have a clear picture in their minds of what they want but also of where they are going. They know if they hold onto that dream long enough, clearly enough and confidently enough, it will attract everything that it needs to materialize. The person who has a positive attitude toward his role in life will wake up feeling good about himself or herself and will expect incredible things to happen. Occasionally he or she will have unfortunate experiences along the way, but the secret of success is not to allow those experiences to govern one’s daily thoughts. They just continue expecting that more good will happen, and sure enough, it does happen because “like attracts like.”
I am hoping that as you read this article you will become all fired up, finding a new determination to make something successful out of your life. If you are, then everything that I have said has been worthwhile. You are now on your way to progress. Dream it, Then do it: Go Find Your Niche in Life. It’s already there, just waiting for you to claim it.
“Hold to that dream Don’t ever let it go… For it is your strength and courage When traveling down life’s road.
Patience is a virtue, But hope is far better. So hold onto that dream Hold fast to that dream No matter how old.”
Miriam B. Medina