The Kindness of Strangers (or “The WHY Of Performing/Writing/Show Pony-ing”)
Somebody sent me a snippet of their journal page after seeing the show at Melbourne Fringe. This made my freaking week!
I want to share with you a couple of encounters with strangers that have really rocked my world of late.
The first of these was at Woodford Folk Festival. There I was, popping my head in backstage at The Mystery Bus to double check what time my gig was that day. The greenroom was empty except for one woman. I smiled at her and said something like “Hey! I’m just looking for the schedule!”
She smiled back and pointed me towards it, then said “Hey, I just wanted to tell you I saw your show at the Powerhouse.”
“Oh!” I said.
“I hadn’t been out in ages, I just saw something about your show and decided ‘RIGHT! I’m going to see that!’ without knowing anything about it.”
She went on to tell me that the show had been really timely for her as her family had just experienced a major tragedy…she continued and as she spoke, we both got tears in our eyes.
I walked away from that moment feeling so emotional but within that spectrum of emotion was real happiness and indeed, joy: to have the show connecting with somebody I’ve never met, in a way that makes us feel like we’ve shared something real. Such a rocking moment.
The second two encounters happened via email; I won’t mention names or details here, they are certainly not my stories to share, but both were from people who have not seen my show at all, but one had connected with me via my blog and the other through cabaret.
Both people shared with me such deeply personal stories of loss in their family lives; I cried both times. I cannot even begin to express how moved I feel that complete strangers have honoured me by sharing their deep pain in that way. What a gift.
One finished their email to me with this: “Your openness to share stories prompts people to share back…I think this is your calling – to share to have people share back and heal.”
Blown away. So timely too as I have been giving a lot of thought over the past six months to the “why” of what I do: blogging, performing, especially the stuff where I share pretty damn excruciatingly personal stuff…neither are for purely altruistic reasons – I’m as self-indulgent and narcissistic as they come – but I have really clarified that I do want to create work that’s more than just a nice way to pass the time.
I want it to connect. To make an impact. And, if I’m honest – and I won’t pretend this isn’t hugely affected by having been made painfully aware of the reality of death from a very early age in life – because I want to leave behind some sort of legacy. Even if it’s small. Even if that’s just in terms of having connected with somebody else in a way that stays with them longer than I do.
But hey, no pressure, right?! 😉