04 May 2010

The A**hole in My Head

by guest columnist Kate Dawson.  Follow her on Twitter.

I don’t know about you, but everytime I start a new project… I’m terrified.  It’s really f*cking annoying to be frank….  because as an artist, I crave to work and to be self-expressed, and yet… there’s always so much fear!  Like this piece you’re reading right now.  I’ve been stressing about it for a week.  A WEEK I say!  I keep hearing that voice in my head saying things like, “What will I say?  What if it’s stupid?  What if people think it’s boring and pointless?  What if it just plain sucks.”  That voice pisses me off.  It drives me crazy!  Because it’s ALWAYS there… pointing out my shortcomings, telling me I’m dumb, and making me doubt myself.  That’s why I like to call that voice, the a**hole.  Do you have one of these?

Okay I’m going to assume that you do, because come on, we all have an a**hole in our head… but even though we have that, we still have the overwhelming ache to create (cre-ache?), so that’s where courage comes in. --- Oh courage… where can I purchase more of you? ---  Cuz look, that a**hole is LOUD.  It’s debilitating sometimes, but I accept that it’s there… and here’s a new way to look at it.  Ready?  Try this on: what if it’s actually there to  MAKE.  ME.  BETTER…? (Did I just blow your mind!??)  Because look, I want to create stuff that moves people.  I want to create something that makes people open their minds to new ideas.  But mostly, I want to create so that I can feel connected to other human beings.  The world is a lonely place – but art makes me feel less alone.  So.  Every day – every single day – I have to summon up all my courage and stare into the eyes of my a**hole and say, “Look… I will try to please you – but for the next couple hours – just back off.  I WILL listen to what you have to say… but later.”  Because part of being an artist is also allowing yourself to do some crap first.  You don’t have to share the crap with anyone (free advice: don’t share the crap with anyone)… but you do have to let yourself vomit out all your thoughts, all you dreams, all your ideas, all your hopes, and all your fears… because you have to start some-where.  If you only listen to that a**hole, you’ll never get past the first few sentences… cuz it will NOT like anything in the beginning.  But later… after your done vomiting (gross)… go back over it.  And now, listen to the a**hole.  Let it edit, let it add details, let it guide you, because you know what… it may actually have some helpful ideas and thoughts.  Because really… ultimately… I believe the a**hole is actually rooting for you.  Maybe… we NEED our a**hole.  I mean… it will be harder on you than ANYONE else.  But I’m going to start thinking of it as my partner – not my enemy.  Because if I can make a deal with it to just shut the f*ck up for a little while, and then listen to it later… well shit – we’ve actually done some great work together…

Okay… so right now this is what my a**hole is saying, “Kate… what is your point?”  Well a**hole, and fellow artists… here it is:  Don’t let the voice control you.  Don’t let it stop you from creating.  Be brave.  You aren’t going to die, but you might feel like you’re dying if you don’t listen to that calling.  You know the calling I’m talking about, don’t you?  The one that says write, paint, sing, dance, direct, be… that calling is from a divine place.  And IT believes in you… and so does your a**hole.

Kate Dawson lives in New York City with her husband Jed, and their dog Sophie.  She worked as an actor/singer on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Regionally for 11 years… but grew restless telling other people’s stories.  In 2008, an idea came to her and so began this new phase of her life… as a writer (who still acts and sings).  Last summer Kate wrote, produced and performed her one-woman show, “The A**hole in My Head” at The Triad Theatre in New York City.  Much to her surprise, people related to her story and her struggle.  Even more surprising to her, the show was listed in the Gay City News as one of the Top Ten Best Live Performances of 2009.  Kate is currently getting her shit together in order to produce more shows this summer… and with that in mind, she has developed a web series called “Web-ASS-odes: Further Tales from the A**hole in My Head.”  You can view the “Web-ASS-odes” on YouTube or Facebook.  She hopes they make you smile.  


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