This evening our choir performed at Brighton Dome as part of a play that is touring the UK.
I am ridiculously proud of being part of a choir and I love it when we sing together. I love the act of creating something that both affects me and shares something with other people. I sing as part of The Paddock Singers, a Lewes based choir.
We performed tonight as part of The Events, which is an exploration of some difficult themes around the shooting that happened in Norway a couple of years ago. I don’t see as much theatre as l’d like, but this is certainly serves as a very concentrated dose! As the chorus, the choir has an unparalleled view of the play as it unfolds as well as being intimately involved in its execution by singing. I feel strongly that all audiences are an inextricable part of any performance they witness and singing as part of the performance heightened my sense of being present with all the other people in the room tonight. The play’s themes include connection and group identity for human beings so these reflections seem apt.
I have often felt that I moderate and manage my emotional responses poorly. I express what I am feeling remarkably readily or completely dismiss my feelings in order to save social face – both of which frequently leave me feeling isolated in my day to day life. Singing, however, is a joyful channelling of emotional expression and to be able to do so as part of a community of others is a gift.
To be sitting on stage this evening and participating in the play was extraordinary. The ability of human beings to tell stories in a way that allows others to become a part of the story and experience their own reactions to its unfolding never, ever ceases to amaze me. And I am so glad human beings are so bent on expressing and sharing stories in such creative ways. After years of feeling that I don’t work properly, that I am somehow broken as a human being, I now really like the fact that I get easily lost in stories or other people’s worlds. It shades in a richness and texture to the world that I’d not be without.
I HATE being unwell. Really pisses me off.
I was describing this to my Mum yesterday and I told her that I experience being unwell as a kind of moral affront to my person. “How can I possibly be unwell, this isn’t fair! I’ll just pretend I’m not.”
The other thing I do is take being unwell as a sign of personal failure and therefore a cue for intense introspection. I failed to manage my health well enough, I failed to look after myself properly. Jesus, if only my self righteous arrogance would give me a break!
A dear friend hit upon something useful last year when I was feeling very under the weather. She challenged me with
you don’t love yourself when you’re not performing at 100%
She has a point. All the time I feel unwell I constantly question myself and my experience. Am I really unwell? Am I unwell enough to justify taking it easy and spending the day at home? (Be it a work day or my own time.) Am I unnecessarily giving in to feeling a bit off colour? I endlessly over analyse in order to try and find some certainty. Either YES I’m objectively unwell or NO I’m fine really.
The above is exhausting. And never ending. All of it a way to avoid taking responsibility for making a decision about what I need and what is best for me. All the time being unwell makes me a victim of fate (“it’s not fair!”) or of my own incompetence (“I managed this poorly”) the focus is off my view of me right now and how I refuse to accept that sometimes I don’t match up to who I think I should be. That I’m not perfect.
I HATE that. Really pisses me off 😉
Guess I’ve some work still to do on the self acceptance* front …
*As an aside, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the things I value most and want to stand for in my life, more on that soon in another blog post. Acceptance may feature heavily – not because I’m good at it, precisely the opposite.
Knowing what it feels like to touch an other opens a world of possibilities of loss.
Sight crosses space.
Words have form.
Touch lives in memory alone, outside moments of connection. Touch is not being alone amid bravery and misdirection. Touch is being undeniably present with an other until we are separated again and all I have is unreliable memory to tell me it was so.
Knowing what it feels like to touch another
to hold, to be held, to be still against someone else’s skin for a time
opens a space for the rest of the world to fall away for a moment.