All the Feelings Came At Me After the Show
My friend Tawnya and I put on a really incredible show recently. “Poetic Sexploration and Gut-Wrenching Melodies”. She read her poetry and I played my songs. The nature of our individual works dovetail quite nicely together. We created an environment of vulnerability and authenticity by sharing our art and boldly owning all of our imperfections and humanness. We then gave the audience space to share their own poems (based around the show’s theme), to be vulnerable and to be heard. And holy shit if It wasn't so incredibly powerful!
One by one, audience members stood at the mic and shared their poems. We were going to close it out after my poem, but I could tell that there were still some shy but eager hearts in the audience. So I made a call, "Going once, going twice" and two people stood up immediately to share. We got a few more in after that, including a couple of men as well (!!!). I was pretty tired at that point. However, I was so delightfully enthralled by everyone’s bravery in sharing, that the fact that it was getting to be my bed time was completely overrun by the magic of the evening.
The show was a success and afterward, a dear friend took me home where we ate pancakes and talked until 2am. It was a perfectly lovely evening to say the absolute least.
When I woke up in the morning however, I woke up to ALL THE FEELS. And I do mean all of them. At once. It was really quite a strange phenomenon. There was so much. I didn't know how to sort them. They were all up in my head space sort of smothering me. Needless to say, the time between when I woke up and when I began meditating was short. It really helped to just let all those thoughts and feelings flow through without trying to change them, stop them or judge them. It didn’t completely sort me out but it helped..a lot. (Have I mentioned how much meditation has enhanced my life?!?)
I went downstairs and talked with my room mate for a while and asked him to make me laugh or to tell me something interesting. (Have I mentioned how awesome all of my room mates are??!?) Being able to talk with him and not force myself to do anything that morning was exactly what I needed. I had work I wanted to do in my bedroom that day but it could wait.
These feelings though. They were something else. It was a lot. But not the ones I normally have after a really good show. These were different. It was like some of them were blocked or sort of numb. I wasn't able to tell if the show was actually any good or not. I mean, I knew it wasn’t bad but I couldn’t tell how great it actually was. And the fact that I couldn’t tell really bothered me. I texted some friends who were at the show and asked them what they thought. Knowing they would give me honest feedback. The response was that the show was amazing and that it was inspiring and raw and beautiful and made people weep and laugh and relate. We were called brave by the audience but the audience was equally as brave as we were, if not more.
So hearing this information I was able to take it and see how it felt. I wondered if I couldn’t feel it because I'm on this level of vulnerability and personal processing all the time? So all those feels were just a normal day for me? Could be. Was it because I needed to shut some parts off in order to maintain balance during the show? To be able to be the "Punk Rock Motivational Speaker" without crying the entire time? Possibly. I actually don't know why. But what I do know is that when I went up to my room to unpack (I had just moved into it), I felt that I needed to watch the footage of my performance first.
I watched and I cried..a lot.
I did the thing. No..like..I did the thing. THE. THING. I DID THE THING!! The fucking thing that I aim to do at every show. The thing that I hope to put out into the world as much as possible. I took the audience with me on a journey through my heart and they all willingly came along for the ride. They didn't just spectate. They didn't just sit and drink and chatter. They were all there with me every step of the way. It wasn't my journey…it was ours.
That is the thing. I did it. And I did it well. And I watched that video and I cried. And then it really sunk in that we held a really good show. We set everyone's hearts a little more free that night. We gave everyone permission to be more of who they are, to own their traumas instead of their traumas owning them.
This feeling was similar to how I felt for at least a week after I saw Florence and the Machine in September. I was so blown open it was hard to function at times. I definitely couldn’t hear any of their songs for a while after without bursting into tears. It was raw in a good way but it was still occasionally intense and overwhelming.
Now my goal isn’t to try to make my audience feel that way for a week after they see me live. (Would they ever want to see me again??) But I do want to open people up. I want the audience to feel just uncomfortable enough yet safe enough to explore their own hearts and to maybe not judge or shame themselves so much. That is always my goal and I nailed it. We nailed it. All of us…That’s the thing. I can't do it on my own. Not even Tawnya and I could do it just the two of us. We required the audience to do that. If they weren't with us all the way, that magic would not have happened. It is an exchange.
It's interesting to be a channel of this sort of experience and I have this overwhelming drive within me to continue to do so. To know myself more and more so that I can keep spilling my guts out so that you can too. I cannot stop. I try. I try to block myself in countless ways. But every time I have a night like this, it calls me so hard. Harder than anything else. It wont let me look away anymore. Everything I've done to try to keep myself safe and consistent and predictable slips away. None of it fucking matters anymore because this is so strong, it's literally almost killing me every moment I am NOT doing it. And….I'll save that for another post.
It is an absolute honor to be able to facilitate such an exchange. It's not easy. It's fucking amazing and rewarding but it's certainly no walk in the park. If I'm not owning it every single second, the audience wont either. If I block myself from being the channel, the audience fucking knows it and they block themselves as well. They may not be fully aware that they're doing it, but they are. I can feel the difference. I have to own all my flaws in front of everyone. I have to own all of my heart, every ounce of blood that pumps through it or they wont be willing to own their own with me. And when the audience is fully owning it as well…it is something that can only be experienced. It is simply beautiful and powerful.