Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Thursday, 7 January 2021

A Bad Year for Show Offs

A few years ago I went to the Rodin
exhibition at the Royal Academy. It
Truly was life changing
In my last post I mused on the opportunities I have had recently for introspection, I suspect that a lot of us have been looking inwards and trying to analyse a lot of feelings in response to this strange year. Now I'm no stranger to a bit of introspection, I don't think anyone would go through transition without a lot of self analysis! Well I thought I had sorted all that out and could just get on with my life, but of course 2020 had other ideas, cutting me off from so many of the activities I love, the occupations that define me, and the affirmation of friends and family. So what have I learnt;~

  • I am a performer! That may sound like a statement of the blooming obvious, but reflection has shown me just how much I have missed my musical performances ~ I enjoy rehearsals, but they are a means to an end it is the performances that I miss. Rehearsing or practicing is very much about the players, the techniques of the instrumentalists, melding them into a single statement rather than a selection of different ideas ~ it is the performance that then becomes a conversation between the performer and the audience. Of course this is more obvious in other performance arts than orchestral music, but it is very much there, and I have missed it. But dare I say this too is pretty obvious, it is what I do!

A bit of a show off

I have also found that I have missed the speeches and presentations I make, these are mostly for groups I represent, Croydon Pride, TransPALS, and others. I rather thought that I was doing this because I was the one best placed to do it, I even tried to tell myself that it was a burden, but on reflection I love it! In short I do rather like to be the centre of attention (as long as it's in a good way!) and that hasn't happened much in 2020

Two years ago I managed to do my Stand Up routine, while I have no plans to repeat the experience I'm glad I did it, the experience was interesting ~ if a little terrifying, and has made me realise that if I wasn't playing music then I would still have to get on a stage somehow, who knows I might even have tried drag!

  • I need people! Maybe this is linked to being a performer, but I miss the companionship, and the comradery. Most of the year I have been OK as I have been able to work which means going out and seeing people, being active and doing something I love. But without people I find myself wondering what my purpose is, the old "what am I here for" question. In a way it is a sort of validation that comes from others. I remember when I first started my transition it was imperative to me not just that I understood myself to be a woman, but that others also saw me as one. I am sure that this is as a  type of validation that I can only truly get from others  ~ maybe that makes me shallow, maybe it makes me insecure, or maybe others are like this too but don't show it as much. I used to suffer with (sometimes) crippling imposter syndrome ~ particularly when on stage ~ I have not had that for some time, but however much I tell myself I am fabulous I still need others to tell me as well.
  • I like dressing up, ~ well dur! In more normal times I will be out rehearsing up to six times a week, with a few performances thrown in as well. I will meet friends for a drink or dinner out. Again most of that has gone out of the window this year, but as I have said before I have been able to carry on working. I would normally get home have a shower get changed and go out. This year it has been more like get home shower and put on my pyjamas! 

All dressed up, but at least I had somewhere to go

My work clothes aren't exactly fun, or glamourous! Every now and then it's fun to dress up a bit! I always think about what I am wearing, whether it's a costume to help me to play a part, Gardener, Office Manager, Musician, Politician, looking the part helps me to behave in the appropriate manner; but it is also fun. I have missed the posh frocks I wear for concerts and receptions, but I have probably only worn any sort of dress four or five times this whole year.

I think I may reintroduce "Dress Up Friday" since we are all dressed down all the time now we don't need a special day to be allowed to dress down, but some of us do need an excuse to dress up!


Marie Anne Greene said...



Daphne Eftychia Arthur said...

I hear you on missing performances & rehearsals! I don't get out of the house nearly often enough in a normal year, so rehearsals are most of my in-person time with friends, and I really miss getting to put our music in front of an audience, see people get up and dance, etc. For the past ten months, my main contact has been with one bandmate who brings me my prescriptions and then we stand on the sidewalk a few meters apart trying to hear each other over traffic noise for a while as we chat through our masks. We did manage one sidewalk jam session, just the two of us, and will try again once the weather warms up, but that's been my only music with anyone for far too long. (We did manage to record a tune by emailing MP3 & WAV files back and forth -- -- but that was a very different experience from reacting to each other in real time.) I compose on my own and I have some solo pieces, but music is mostly collaborative for me.

So what I miss most are hugging my friends, and playing music together, and that's before we even get to the "show off" part of the equation!