When I was starting as an entertainer, I played a lot of open mic nights. I’d pull up to a coffee shop in a town that I’d never visited before. I’d go inside, order an Americano, find a table, and promptly go get sick in the bathroom. I would get violently nervous whenever I tried to play in front of people. There are some quaint establishments to which I can never return on account of what I did to their bathroom. I’ve played a lot of music in front of a lot of people since those days. I don’t get nervous anymore. It’s my job and I love my job. There’s a healthy level of tension that is required but I no longer get sick before I play. I played an open mic this week and I got nervous. It was my first open mic night in a long time. I didn’t have a full-blown case of “nervy-poos” but it was the most nervous that I’ve been in a long time. It may/have been flashbacks to the old days but I think it’s probably just the nature of an open mic night. Playing an open mic is hard. If you are playing a three-hour set, you find the zone and play some songs. You have plenty of time to try, fail, and recover. At an open mic, the room is full of other people that are there to also play music. You have three songs to convince the room that you belong. Simply choosing the right song is stressful. Everybody was really good (and young). It was great to feel the nerves bubble up. The nerves are proof that this job is important and with doing.