... certainly not silent. Well, it feels noisy.
Those who follow me on Twitter have probably gathered yesterday I had a major concert. I was conducting a band, in front of an audience of 300-odd. The music went really well, surprisingly.
Turns out my ability to speak in public with a microphone isn't so good. Reading aloud isn't a strong point of mine. Operating a microphone isn't something I've had much experience in (in fact, NO experience in until yesterday).
I was petrified, and spoke about seventy to the dozen (A REALLY helpful woman came to tell me off for talking too quickly... cheers m'dear...). I couldn't see the audience due to the lighting being solely on the stage and no responses came from them to what I said. After them staring at my arse for that length of time (apparently I had no visible knicker line...), when I turned around to face them suddenly it was all different.
It felt, in a really odd "Hannah has a bit of a past" way, like some major therapy session. (Didn't help that the woman who talked me down from the bridge two years ago when I was about to jump and the first response ambulance guy who arrived on the scene soon after were in the audience, but hey... small town'n'all)
I was really worried I was going to suddenly blurt out some personal fact. Say "And that was Rule Brittania, arranged by X for us today, and I don't have any toenails" or something. Or "Thank you for coming to support this worthwhile cause, whilst you are all here, I just want to say I've tried to kill myself many times and am only here due to being slightly incompetent". I dunno, it felt as if they were all focusing on ME and MY BRAIN. And nowadays, I hate that. When I was involved more in mental health services, dissecting each week in therapy, or when I was on 1:1 obs in hospital and they were trying to work out whether they could take me off them, that's just how it was. Now I'm away from that, I don't want the scrutinisation.
Next weekend, I'm doing 3 gigs. Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday afternoon. But in the sense of a performer with an instrument rather than a conductor with a baton. No need to speak, just stride confidently onto the stage, perform and seem to be just an extra part of the instrument, and then take a bow and walk off to the applause. That's fine. That's my view of comfortable, even with incredibly emotionally wrecking pieces (I'm thinking Chopin's Nocturnes Op. 48 as an example here. Heart-wrenching stuff in places which I am planning to perform in a solo recital I'm planning for November time...). The emotional outpouring that my fingers are playing feels somehow a little bit more distant as they are other people's notes, just played by me. Yes, I'm emotionally involved and yes, without my life experiences I'd play very differently but that doesn't feel like I'm being judged in quite the same way I felt I was yesterday.
Speaking on stage was weird. Waggling my arms about on stage in a hopefully coherent fashion was fine, even though this is a role I've fallen into rather than consciously decided to do. Leading the band was comfortable enough. In fact, if I hadn't had to talk to the audience, it would have been a huge success.
Yes, life has moved on HUGE amounts. It doesn't stop. If someone had said I'd be here in two years time to me two years ago, I'd have laughed (and back then I wasn't laughing at much). I'd have accused them of being more bonkers that I and being unrealistic. Let alone be here, feeling alive, be coping, be performing, teaching, studying, smiling, conducting.... Still, just occasionally these new things, these big new things, these fairly scary big new things, rumble me.
It's learning I know that. It's learning what I can do and what I can't. Or rather, what I would like to do again and what I'd prefer not to do again.
Right now, I should be doing an A level paper to prepare for my student tomorrow. Or doing my accounts. Or sorting out all the music from last night (For my sins, I'm the band librarian as well acting MD...). However, I know what will help right now. It includes a bed, a duvet, Chopin through headphones and snoring. I'm not fighting the sleepiness, it is explained justified sleepiness. *dives under the covers and sleeps*