Today was a big day for, so was yesterday, and I suspect that there will be some more coming before too long. On Friday I visited a long standing friend (I'm far to nice to call her old) who had spotted my clothing choices and had reached the correct conclusion. Although she is very nice and quite liberal it is f course still a little worrying anticipating how people you care about are going to react. In this case my worries could not have been more misplaced. Not only understanding but providing positive affirmation and encouragement. All in all I had a very nice day on Friday, as after leaving my friend I drove down to Hever to play in a brass quintet outside the Castle as part of their Christmas Fare.
I enjoyed the playing, and afterwards we adjourned to the local hostelry for a pizza and a pint, this again was very pleasant, but I find myself enjoying the male banter a little less than I used to. As Friday had turned into a day off, Saturday became scheduled as a work day, it was only because I was having a slow start and logged into Facebook that I picked up an evening gig in Hampshire, making the day's logistics a little more complicated but much more enjoyable. My customer has a major problem with a tree as well as some substantial trellis down, this morning I managed to make everything safe, but will have to go back on Monday and possibly Tuesday to tidy up and erect some replacement trellis. I did what I could for the before rushing away to get ready for the afternoon rehearsal and evening concert.
This was my first concert "en femme" with a "civilian" orchestra so I wanted to present myself well, I wanted to appear dignified, casual and comfortable. In short I wanted to look like a woman who might be a musician, not a transvestite. For the afternoon I opted for jeans, ankle boots sweater and leather jacket, accessorised with some fake pearls and a floaty mauve and pink scarf. I was happy with the look and when I got there no one commented on my status or my appearance. For the concert I wore all black, dress trousers with a sparkly lace waist band and my silk shirt blouse, a pair of open toed sling backs and sheer socks was what is for me a quite modest outfit. I like the look and felt that by being a little conservative in my dress I made myself less obvious, less the centre of attention and therefore much more just another member of the Orchestra.
Going into this concert with the lovely Pelly Concert Orchestra I felt more nervous than I have for a long time, when I texted a friend to say that they asked whether it was what I was wearing or the couple of unprepared solos that were making me nervous, thinking about it I believe it was the whole being taken out of my comfort zone, pushing the social barriers, making my closet bigger that was making me nervous. Once we started playing I settled down and just enjoyed the experience. As usual I had nothing to worry about, I did see one or two of the audience looking at me, but then I was on stage, everyone in the orchestra accepted me, was very friendly and very grateful as if I hadn't stepped in at the last moment they would have struggled without a tuba.
I hope that I may be asked back, and if not then I will certainly want to play with other ensembles, with my music as with most other things I increasingly find I am more comfortable, more me, as Paula than as Paul.