Yesterday I sat in an Apple Store for a few hours while my computer got worked on. (And this is my huge plug for a great costumer experience! Everyone who worked with me was wonderful and really good at explaining what they were doing. And my computer is all better! )
During my time there, one of the employees learned that I had started a performance company - Amiche. "Ah" he said. "Performers, you go on stage and bleed your heart out." I was taken aback. Because here's the rub, I spend most of my life trying to figure out how to explain to people what I do. Because it doesn't fit this clear cut category. I make things. I act. I tell stories. I create. I... But in one sentence he got to the core of what I try to do.
I've been told numerous times in my life that I'm too sensitive. That I need to develop a thicker skin. Yet, the more I perform the more I realize that I can't listen to this advice. In fact I have to run in the opposite direction, towards the sensitivity. Because my 'super power' as a performer is the ability to be vulnerable. The ability to go on stage and give my heart. To bleed out all the feelings of life into a story. And maybe just maybe if I can do that I can infuse the story with meaning and direction that will reach the audience and help them feel through their own stories or others stories with more empathy.
If I was a super hero I would a be a big walking heart roaming the world. And I would be a mess - bleeding everywhere.
And though I wanted to do a little dance and high five the employee helping me - I calmly said - "You got it." Because he really did. And it's nice when you feel like someone understands what you are trying to do. And to be encouraged that I can embrace this walking heart with everything it brings - strengths and weaknesses - even if it is a rather messy business.