Spotlight- Stage- Audience. Heaven?
I was speaking in the Little Big Top on trans issues. On the Friday morning, before it was open, I crawled under the sides of the tent to feel the stage. The spotlights flickered on and off intermittently. I had no idea, then, how I would introduce myself. People say what they have achieved. I hit on, “I have found the work of self-acceptance so difficult that I have almost done nothing else. I am not here to tell you what to think. I am here to tell you who I am.”
I was fair pleased with my yellow wristband with “Artist” on it, but when I showed it off people would ask me what I was doing, and that meant I had to come out. After, I could say “I did a talk on trans issues” almost immediately, but while I became more confident before, I always had to pause to collect myself.
I spent Saturday psyching myself up for it. I wanted to speak from a place of authenticity. I practiced looking into people’s eyes and saying that introduction. After, someone said that when I said it, it hit her in the chest. I did not want to say that I regret my operation: that’s complex stuff, I will write more on it. It’s also something I have not processed, and processing such things on stage, or using the stage as a psychotherapist’s couch, is dangerous, possibly traumatising, not good for the audience either. There was the space to do that, on a deserted grassy path between tall trees. I pause to take in the beauty around me and centre myself. The peevish or frightened monkeymind thoughts quieten. I might clam up or get upset on stage! Well, that is unlikely. I don’t really worry about that.
Friday night was cold, camping, and I woke to add blanket, woolly hat, socks. Saturday some used the word “tornado”- the sky was unusual, and the rain torrential. I managed not to have to walk in the rain, moving between tents when it was dry. I met Christina at three at the OuterSpace stall, and we walked down to my tent to get changed. Then the heavens opened, and the wind rose, and a puddle formed inside from the sloping ground; and the wind made the tent expand then contract suddenly. The Artists’ Glamping coffee tent, next to mine, escaped its guy ropes and leapt over the fence behind, rather than on to my tent.
One has standards! I wanted high heels, a pretty dress baring my arms, so wore boots and tights. The nail varnish, difficult while camping, only had to last one evening. I spent weekends with Christina in The Sibyls just before transitioning, but never knew her. She has steel, she would have to, to remain a Church of England minister through transition fifteen years ago. She got a job as a hospital chaplain, and continued leading services though the Bishop asked for her licence back. She also needed reserve; and she is a lovely, practical person. I would like to know her better. The Craft Theatre Company had ordered an electric buggy, so we rode to the Green Room.
Here we meet Jamie, and eat together. I had wanted to meet earlier, thinking of it as “team-building” before the evening, but I was better taking responsibility for preparing myself.