Chapter 10: Swing and a Miss
“Play around with your art — try something new.” That was one of the closing lines for the previous chapter of Notorious Notes.
Chapter 9 was all about taking chances and embracing risk when it comes to one’s art; no great art was created without involving risk. While I stand by these words, I feel it is important to understand that “risk” does not always equal “reward.” A major part of stepping outside of one’s comfort zone is the chance of failure. When one tries something new and fails, the way they handle and process said failure determines whether it was a waste or not. I for one, am quite well-versed in failure and how to react to it.
After my many encounters with it, I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to react is to take a step back, reassess, and try to learn something from it. Perhaps the thing you learn is “this is not for me,” and that’s perfectly fine. I’ve come to accept that there are many feats of athleticism, which some of my peers can pull off without so much as breaking a sweat, that is nearly impossible for my body to pull off and that’s okay, but I had to try and fail at a few different things to come to that conclusion.
Wrestling is one of the most unique forms of performance art in that a lot of performers have their set acts that they come back to at every single show. (DISCLAIMER: None of this is to say that what anybody does is harder or easier. Just that they are different and challenging in their own ways.) For instance, a stage actor will play the same role throughout the lifetime of a play’s run but on the other end of the spectrum is improv, where the goal is to have as much variety between shows as possible.
Wrestling, on the other hand, is an odd mix of these different worlds. As wrestlers, it is rare that we are able to put on the exact same performance every night. The way independent wrestling works in the modern era, a wrestler will often be on a show in one city with one locker room and in a completely different city with a completely different locker room the next night, which usually doesn’t allow for the ability to tweak or change things that may not have worked the night before.
Like, it’s very rare to have an experience like season 3 of GLOW where they do the same show every single night and have the chance to tweak things, change things, or even just swap characters for a night.
That said, it also makes it harder to sit and dwell on the things that may not have clicked exactly as expected. A recent example that comes to mind happened at a show in Abbotsford, British Columbia ran by Lucha Libre Volcanica. This event was for a Taco Festival and was held outside with matches scheduled to happen every 45 minutes, while music played continuously over the loudspeakers.
The show was fun but it was also a very different crowd than a lot of us were used to — taco fans, not wrestling fans. Some of the matches on the show did not go quite as planned for those involved. And it clearly affected some wrestlers more than others. I thought on this for a while afterward and came to this conclusion: Perhaps the more matches one has under their belt and/or the more frequently they have matches, the less having one that doesn’t quite go as planned will affect them.
It’s the watering down effect, right? Similar to how the theory that the older one gets, the faster they experience the passage of time. Because when you’re five years old, a year is one-fifth of your life, but when you’re twenty-five, a year is one twenty-fifth of your life. So the more matches you have, the less you experience the bad stuff. Or the less time you have to dwell on the bad before moving on to the next thing.
I suppose that “gaining perspective” is the biggest message that I’m trying to get across here. The next big step in what has become a two (maybe three)-part reflective series on stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, failure, and maybe next week will be about success? Probably not, if I’m being honest, but who knows?
Anyway, I guess what I’m really trying to say is “don’t let failure dissuade you from trying new, different things.” Learn from the failures, change what didn’t work and try to find a way to make it work. Or just scrap that plan and start over with something new. Understand that risk does not always equal reward. The more reps you get of just doing the thing and assessing those risk/reward scenarios, the less daunting they become.
The world is your burrito!
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- 10/18: @321 Battle – Seattle, WA
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