My gig was unpaid and over 200 miles away from home. This could have been a recipe for lots of questioning of myself. Is it really worth doing such a gig? Why go all that way for nothing. Moreover will a bill full of other comedians, prepared to play for free, would I really gain anything, or have time enough on stage to do whatever was necessary to regain my fading confidence?
The fact that I wasn't being paid and that I didn't think any future work was contingent on the gig was exactly what I needed. I made this performance about me, not pleasing the promoter or audience. Although I overran a fair amount, and although I was the 5th act on with a restless audience and a late start, it didn't matter. I had a good time. It wasn't my usual polished shtick. I rambled here and there between routines that don't normally either get done or chained together like that. Out of the rambling came some unplanned quips and laughs. I even set down the guitar and did some straight stand up for a bit. Not perfect, but better than the insecure version of me that has been leaving gigs recently.
It's time to move on now. There's much to do. I set the wheels in motion for the house buying today. No turning back now. Well. Not really. No plans to turn back!