Opening Night and OCD

Cabaret 2

Last night was opening night for the community theater musical I’m in. And it didn’t go perfectly.

This may not come as a surprise, since deep down we all know perfection is impossible, but it was still disappointing, especially as someone who is a perfectionist through and through.

I was distracted by something in the audience from the start of the show, and the distraction continued for several musical numbers. This lead to feeling like I wasn’t doing my best with dancing and acting. So, then of course, I started beating myself up in my head about not doing my best, and I became quite stressed. This lead to “emotional contamination,” or feeling upset that not only did I not dance perfectly, but now I wasn’t enjoying opening night perfectly. Classic OCD.

These mental cycles of rumination churning over and over and over and over and over again continued for several hours. This was not only disappointing, to say the least, but it was also quite surprising. I haven’t gotten caught up in my head with OCD like this in a long time.

I think these thoughts and emotions were able to get so stuck in my head because this show matters so much to me. OCD always attacks hardest what we love the most. I’ve really enjoyed the rehearsal process, and I take my responsibilities as a dancer seriously. This was my first time being a part of a musical in almost a decade, and it has been amazing. I love the choreography, the message behind the show, the art of performing, and the cast and crew I’m performing with.

At the end of the day, we have eight more performances that will probably go better for me both performance-wise and emotionally, but they will be imperfect. That’s just live theater. At the end of the day, I still have OCD, even if I am in recovery. Sticky brain moments still happen.

And at the end of the day, my cast mates were there for me asking what was wrong, giving me hugs, and helping me smile and laugh once more.

cabaret cast dinner


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