Atelophobia is the fear of not being good enough or imperfection… makes the afflicted person feel like everything they do is wrong.

Everyone has bad days, for a variety of reasons and for this blog piece I’m specifying the fear of not being good enough to do or run an act for the renaissance faire.  Unless someone has a deep theater or busking background before their first appearance at the faire, then they are probably correct, but that shouldn’t stop you.

We are all babies when we start out. We throw our caution to the wind, we wear our heart on our sleeves and we wobble out to the audience with our arms raised.  In many cases our desire to please is enough to charm most people, but in many cases it isn’t and we get smacked down or fall under our own weight and ungainliness.

That’s why it is imperative that despite that misstep, that we learn, gather ourselves and do it again. And again. And how do you measure that bit of success? That’s up to you but I feel it in crowd reaction, feedback from others and a sense of how I accomplished what I set out to do. (Evoking good questions, getting kids to approach and experience, attaboys from my peers) And more importantly it’s how you handle it when  it goes poorly.  And statistically, that will happen.

Please note I’m not talking about faire drama, or being personally abused because that should absolutely not happen, and if it does, needs to be stopped immediately. But not everyone will love what you do, which is a strength and a weakness. If someone loves singing acts, we will not be their cup of tea and that is perfectly okay and I won’t take it personally.

In our early days, I absolutely took it personally.  That anger and resentment was the fuel that kept me going. But it is NOT a good long-term motivator-it burns you from the inside out and your detractors would only have satisfaction to know you are doing it. And I suffered from experiencing imposter syndrome even though the facts were laid out in front of me. It was ridiculous, I’d been studying with well-respected sword teachers who liked me as a student and I still felt like I held everyone back with my clumsiness and endless questions. (Sounds like your typical YA  novel doesn’t it?) But the fact is, you can be as angsty as you like-it won’t get you one step closer to self -improvement, only work can do that. And you have to focus on getting better, it’s the one thing that shuts up all the inner self voices that  are haranguing you. That’s what I tell the folks in Phoenix-this is OUR time and you need to focus and *I* need to focus, too.

So the long-winded answer is this, none of us will ever be good enough for everybody, but we should be good enough (eventually) for our own sense of peace. I’m not saying rest on your laurels. (Because if you are, you’re wearing them in the wrong place) But even if you are the worst juggler/sword fighter/jester/luteplayer ever, at least you took the first step to becoming the act you imagine yourself to be.