I received my second video "Ah! Je veux vivre" last week. After my first listening, I contemplated giving up the whole performance thing, dig a hole and hibernate forever. I heard a wrong note, a few flat tones, and a couple of wrong words. I didn't like some of my gestures and face expressions. My brain had a hay day commenting and criticizing every single second of that performance. That piano should have been subito pianissimo. I should have sung that section in a different tone color. I should have exuded a more youthful energy that is more appropriate for Shakespeare's Juliet. In my head, I was simply not at all convincing. I couldn't believe I was trying to pave a performing career with such mediocrity. When I forced myself to give it a second listen, I got depressed. Self-criticism looped its rant until 4:00 am when I finally exhausted myself to sleep.
I could have moped around in self-pity much longer but thankfully, I had planned a week's vacation in Hawaii a couple of days after I received the video. So, I had some chronological buffer between my second and third listening. I came back from Hawaii today and gave it another go. Surprisingly, it wasn't as horrendous as I thought it was when I listened to it the first time. It was far from perfect, but it wasn't like I took an axe and butchered the aria to pieces.
So, the bottom line is: it wasn't so bad. There was no need to beat myself up and lose sleep over it. I am learning to be kinder to myself. If I sing a wrong note, or something went flat, c'est la vie. I already know I will continually work to improve, so there is no need for self-flagellation. I am learning how not to sweat the small stuff and think my world is on the verge of Armageddon because I didn't like how I sang a freakin' song. I just need to remind myself to chill out and breathe. (And take a vacation in Hawaii!)