Nerves…The Neverending Story

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

So tonight is the Capital Slam semi-finals and I can feel it… in my neck, in my back, it my shoulders, in my gut…

I have written a lot of this stuff before, but every year it feels different.

2007: My first year slamming. I went into the semis with no real goal. I though it would be nice to make the finals. I did very well. I ended up tied in fourth with a really good chance to make the team itself. I ended up fourth after the finals and I made the team!

Pressure? At the finals I nearly threw up, but it was just excitement stress. I had no demands on myself. I was just happy and excited and hoping…

2008: I went into the semis with no real expectations. I saw how good all of the new voices were. I had hopes, but nothing overwhelming. I finished the semis in sixth, but there was a decent gap between me and fifth. I knew there was no chance of catching up to the team positions unless somebody had a crash-and-burn, and I sure wasn’t hoping for that. In fact, I had a good final and there was a bit of a crash-and-burn so I ended up fifth and got to join the team again.

Pressure? Not so much. When there seems to be no chance, why would there be pressure? (At least that is what I USED to think…)

2009: BIG PRESSURE. This time the festival was in Victoria and I had never performed in front of my family before. Semis didn’t go very well. No big problems but… well, I don’t like the pass the buck, but I thought the judges were out to lunch at that particular show. I went into the finals tied in seventh.
Then the finals were amazing. I wasn’t trying to move up. I just had some poems I wanted to share. They went over big. I moved up to fifth and was on the team again.

Pressure? Lots… but at the finals it was a different kind of pressure. The pressure was around my poems, not my scores.

2010: I didn’t compete. I was the slam master for the national festival so I couldn’t be on a team.

Pressure? Pfft. I remember thinking that the competition was amazing and I may have dodged the ‘finally not making the team’ bullet.

2011: Well, that bullet was here. I went in pretty confident and the semis… didn’t go well. I ended up in eighth. The finals went no better. It had finally happened.

But then, Pruf, who was the team alternate, accepted the opportunity to try for (and make) the Urban Legends team. Then Mack, who was sixth, did the same. I ended up as team alt, but I kind of back doored it. Not exactly a crowning achievement.

At the festival I told the team that this was likely my last team. I was going to keep slamming, but as I had seen with others before me, what the judges were looking for seemed to be driftign away from what I was offering. That gave me two choices: change my poetry or stop caring so much about the scores.
I chose the latter.

Then I won a slam… my second ever CapSlam win.

So… that means… what?

Well, I am in the semis this year… but the lineup is amazing. There is a serious chance that I might not make it to finals. This isn’t a judgment on myself, but on the others involved. (I am serious when I say that this may be the best 1 through 12 that I have ever seen at this point.)

So… pressure? Should be low, right? I said that I don’t care about the scores and that I don’t have a chance to make the team anyway.

Yeah, right.

I am SO nervous that it is killing me. I did badly (my performances, I mean) last year and I want to make up for that. I have some good poems but I really crave for…

It is hard to say. I need the accolades. My personal feeling of self-worth is not self-sufficient. I need to do well.

I have said it before… what I really want is for people to mention my name when they are talking about who the top people are… who the people they think have a shot.

I don’t think my name is listed there.

But more than any of that, I really want to do well. Forget the scores. I want people to be blown away by my words. I want people to be moved. I want people to feel that exhalation when they realize they have been holding their breath.

But then if someobdy tells me that happened… I want to believe them.

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