Mayim has been performing almost her whole life: stealing scenes in Beaches, winning our hearts as Blossom, and moving us with her funny, sharp and emotional performances as Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. But in one recent performance, Mayim “bombed” (her words, not ours). And the humiliation and shame she felt was overwhelming.
The event required her to improvise jokes, something Mayim did not feel comfortable doing. But, despite her history and her reservations – and encouraged by her friend, comedian Iliza Shlesinger, she decided to be brave and gave it a shot. The fact that the audience was small didn’t matter; she was beyond nervous, and would have cried on stage but managed to shove it down, and get through some of it, before apologetically leaving the stage.
While lots of people would have buried the shame and tried to forget about it, Mayim turned it into an opportunity to reaffirm the things she knows about herself and learn new things even in an experience that she considers a failure:
“The shame I experienced on that stage – the silence, the blaring of my heart beating in between my ears, the clenching of my teeth in my stupid mouth; the eyeliner so carefully applied 90 minutes before I cried it off – all of that is part of my human experience.”
The feeling of shame helped her understand that she cannot control everything, no matter how well prepared she is:
“I can prepare, I can hope, I can dream; but sometimes there are walls we hit…because of our fear, our lack of self-confidence, and our personalities. …I am not resilient, even though I am strong. I am not good at everything, even though so many people want to believe that I am.”
Don’t miss this story straight from Mayim to you – and subscribe to her channel to make sure you catch all her upcoming videos. And what about you? Have you ever felt shame so huge that you thought you’d never recover? How did you get through it? Share your experiences in the comments section.