The first faire where Phoenix Swords performed under its own name was very difficult for us.  It’s difficult for any group but having active detractors is especially difficult when someone is starting out.  Renfaires should not be a repeat of middle-school politics, but sometimes they are and it’s hard not to get caught up in these things.

But if you are having one of those days here are some things that will help you through

You are worthy. You could tell the worst jokes, be the most clumsy juggler or a mediocre singer. If you bring a smile to someone’s face and work at it-you are a performer. You aren’t perfect (none of us are) but if anyone discourages you on the basis of personal dislike, being  a douchecanoe or they are having a bad day-forget them. Few things are more ironic than being good enough to perform for someone else but when you turn them down then suddenly you are terrible? That’s not about you.

Kindness comes in unexpected places. When I was essentially hunted down and accused of doing something completely false, it fortunately happened near a booth of kind people. I’ll never know if the vendor knew I was being stalked or simply saw the look on my face but he called me over and talked to me about some scarves. I didn’t have a lot of money, but the gentleman who talked about the scarf in question made such a great case for its suitability that I bought it. To this day I keep it in/tied to  my costume bag. His son has gone on to be a well-known performer (he was starting and struggling too!) and this kind man has since passed.  Sometimes you are the person who needs a kind word and sometimes you need to be the person with a kind word. I make it a point to *always* give feedback to people and tell them how much I enjoyed their act/item/personhood.  It’s easy to be mean, far better to be kind.

Time can be your friend rather than your enemy. That was a rotten day for me, but like any day, it only lasts 24 hours and then it is a new day. And if you spend your time being busy, it keeps you out of trouble.   And avoidance is a wholly effective tactic as well. If you can time your appearances so that you are not alone or only working, it makes it hard for those who would confront you to not look like the bullies and lowlifes they are. Time also shows who people are, it may take a while.

Remember how it might look to others. Sadly, one of your jobs as a performer is to paste on a  smile despite any circumstance.  If I hear a vendor grousing publicly, chances are they have lost my sale. And if a performer is complaining about working, I have to wonder why they are there. (Exceptions are if they are *really amusing* about complaining) And sometimes you can’t fake it well, then it’s okay to hide, or acknowledge it or lose yourself in someone else’s stories but passing on that bad mood-not really an option. That part you have to suck up, even if you limp while you do it.

To finish,  everyone has bad days. I’ve had some bad days that still are as fresh as yesterday and I shake my head about how we ever made our way through it. But time marches on and today’s “how could I fall for that” will be tomorrow’s recognition of a bad situation and how to move past it.