Tuesday, May 29, 2007

You're up and then you're down

Warning: this is more panicked and personal than I usually let myself be here, but I'm trying to figure something out, and isn't that what journals are for?
 
Well, I heard back from the guy for whom I did the costumes and they really aren't working.  I'm sending back the money less expenses.  I will say this, his email was very fair--not personally insulting or irrational (like my last run in with a director from the fall).  He focused on what had gone wrong--took some responsibility for communication and didn't ask for the money back.  The only thing that really stung was that he said he should have asked for a portfolio as if I were an amateur.  And then I think, well, maybe I am.  It hearkens back to what I said below--I LET SOMEONE DOWN.  I don't know if it was unavoidable--well, not taking the job, obviously, but beyond that??
 
He did say that I said I could do it and then didn't deliver and I will stand by what I said below.  What I did would have worked for most of the small shows I've done AND with time there would have been experimentation--the glue isn't holding, we'll have to stitch them, etc.  There is this element of experimentation that I'm trying to remind myself would be part of any shop with a monster costume--how does this look in the lights, well what if we do this instead.  I am also trying to remind myself is that he didn't know how to do this (and he rigs most of his own costumes).  It was non-realistic to think that someone else could sweep in and solve the problem without discussion.
 
BUT I think, I should have said that from the outset.  Follow your gut, because my gut said I didn't have the time to do this if things went wrong--and things went wrong.  There is also a part of me that says I should have A) known how to do this impossible thing AND/OR B) said quite firmly that it couldn't be done.  Neither one of which is a realistic thought--mistakes are made.  We are NOT perfect--none of us.  How easy to say that--how hard to believe.
 
Do I sound like I have difficulty getting along with people?  I don't think that I do and yet, whenever these conflicts come up I have the horrible feeling that I am somehow more sensitive, more irrational, less capable than other people.  If only I had done it right, worked even harder, planned better the whole mess could have been avoided.  I look at friends who never seem to have these problems with the self-same people and think that there is something wrong with me.  And again--I know none of that is true.  But I don't know it.  Do you know what I mean?
 
There is, especially, coming off of a wave of successes a terrible need? desire? to focus on this one mistake and believe that I am wrong in taking this new job, wrong in pursuing grad school, because I am, in fact not nearly as good at anything as I believe.  And again, I know that all or nothing thinking is preposterous and would talk any friend out of it.  That life is in fact about the experimentation and that failure is bound to happen sometime if you do anything risky.  But again, failing myself is one thing, failing someone else is unacceptable. 
 
I must remind myself to map my life in successes, not in failures.  To remember all of the people who are quite fond of me, even some directors.  To know that all people face mistakes and let people down on occasion.  That even, as Thich Nacht Han points out, Buddhist monks feel anger but it's what we do next that matters.  I wish it were not in Salem.  I love Salem, and I feel that it is tinged now with this failure.  That I will be afraid of walking it's streets for fear of being reminded.  How stupid is that? 

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