What's Up With That? ~ Katy Byrne

Katy Byrne Katy Byrne, MFT is a Psychotherapist in Sonoma, editor and animal lover. Her private practice specializes in: life transitions, couples communication, eating issues, moving forward, conflict resolution and the kitchen sink.


Performing under pressure

Posted on September 23, 2018 by Katy Byrne

We all want ways to thrive. Whether we’re drawing, cooking, making wine, singing, planting sunflowers or speaking to a crowd, art is always enlivening.

Art can be re-arranging your kitchen or the great art of conversation. It can be in anything we do. It requires your attention, your brain, your soul, and discipline. It can be fueled by inspiration, grief or exuberance.

Tennessee Williams said: “The world is violent and mercurial — it will have its way with you. We are saved only by love — love for each other and the love that we pour into the art we feel compelled to share: being a parent; being a writer; being a painter; being a friend. We live in a perpetually burning building, and what we must save from it, all the time, is love.”

Being kind or being creative is not without effort and toil. It’s not always easy for me to write. I feel naked right now. Well, sort of. I try to bare my soul, but it’s difficult. Mother Theresa once said: “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” Easy for her to say, I mean, she was a saint.

Ah, if only I could just write for myself…  But I want people to hear and see me, despite my performance anxiety. Ok, let’s admit it — we all want to be seen and loved. But it’s scary to put ourselves out there. And in a world full of backaches, bills and bad news, how do we stay creative? Taking one step at a time is the way.

It’s ironic that if you try to be good at anything, just the desire can lead to failure. It’s like having sex on a timetable or with the goal of getting it done. Performing under pressure sucks, so you fake it. That’s why they call these pressures “deadlines.”

But being good at anything comes from sweat, anxiety or a place inside us that doesn’t care what people think. It’s best without self-consciousness, but sometimes fear is a part of it. Great art can be raw and passionate when it grips your gut and you just have to get it out. Or it can just flow easily like clean water. But no matter what, art has its way with us, no matter how we try to control it.

Not giving a damn isn’t the trick either. And it’s proven that enough folks are already too narcissistic anyway. “Psychology Today” says one in 25 people is a sociopath. Whoa, that’s a lot of psychos. But then, look at the world.

So what makes self-expression so mysterious, wonderful and difficult? The dreaded fear of rejection is a problem so courage is important.

All artists try, whether you’re painting a table or planting sunflowers. And writing, letting go on the page is like falling in love – it can be ecstatic, leave you in shambles or save you. When I write, I worry if I can I tell you how hard aging is? How painful it was to lose another friend to death? How I hate reading the news?

We can get chiseled and hurt when we express ourselves. Then again, without frolicking on the dance floor, writing a poem, impeaching Trump or making pasta, what’s the point of living?

When I open up, I shiver. But, that’s also when I feel the most alive. Any act of doing what we love can be frustrating.

So, now I’m going to see what’s in the refrigerator.



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