For anyone that has seen me in a live show environment it may come as a surprise to discover that I am incredibly uncomfortable there. I am not entirely sure what I am doing up there; in fact, I am not even sure how I get there in the first place. I simply know that someone sweeps onto the stage like she was born to it, but I seriously don’t know who that person is. The only thing that makes sense to me is that I have a spirit guide that dives in and takes over before I have the opportunity to sage them into stupidity and run off to my corner to hide. I suddenly find myself staring into the top of a microphone and off we go. I have no explanation short of divine intervention.
It tends to throw some people when they meet me in an environment that is new to me and doesn’t come with a microphone attached. That’s pretty much any place where people gather and it’s ten times worse when it’s people I don’t know. There can be one stranger standing in a gymnasium and I will make every effort to stealthily move along the wall like Spider man trying to avoid being noticed. If I could throw string I’d simply swing over but in the real world…I’ll just glue myself to the nearest wall and avoid all eye contact believing that I am blending in and you will not notice me. Kinda like a praying mantis. You see me, you don’t see me. Except that it works for the odd green insect. Not so much for me. I’m too big and well..I’m not green and sitting on a fruit tree.
I am the most introverted and unintentional extrovert I have ever known.
I’ve stood in front of no less than 5000 people in this last ten years. I am still shocked to be truthful, given that I couldn’t even pee in a public bathroom until I was 40 and only then because well..three kids..impatient bladder..there was no other option but to make peace with it. To this day I will still lean over to scan for feet in the stalls to each side, and then carefully hold my breath while attempting to stream like a gentle brook babbling over pebbles. This is, however, becoming increasingly difficult to do and has taken on the sound of something similar to white water rafting as I move into my mid fifties. So now I have taken to making little tutt tutt noises with my mouth to deter you from the fact that I am emptying my bladder in the stall next door. It’s quite a life let me tell you. Peeing incognito to not draw attention and then dancing all over a stage with your grandmother five minutes later. I still struggle with understanding it.
Try to stop me and engage me in a conversation in any situation outside of my spirit stage and I will likely stare at you like a deer caught in the headlights. “Oh lord..you need me to talk right? Oh boy..how do I do that? What do I say? Why are you talking to me at all, I am not interesting and I just know I am going to trip over my own tongue. Please just back away slowly, you’re freaking me out a little”
But wait…hand me a microphone and push me on the stage and it’s all bets off. I open my mouth and something happens that even I don’t see coming. Words tumble from my face like confetti sprays on a bride and I suddenly become witty and wise all at once. It’s messed up, because I am not witty nor wise in any other environment. Unless I am at home. There I am both witty and wise ( and smart and absolutely adorable) although my spouse may call it something else entirely.
I cringe..I absolutely curl up from my toes when someone in a room full of strangers says “This is my friend the medium” Oh good God no. I think that often times people assume I am trying to hide that fact as a form of being standoffish, when in truth, it’s a protective thing to avoid having to speak to you at all. You scare me because you expect something profound to drop from my mouth, and the profoundest I can do is ask you for directions to the bathroom to pee quietly.
I realized how clearly I introvert when a comment was passed at the outset of my recent travel with my work cohorts. An additional artist that I don’t know well was coming along on this tour and as I settled into my space in the passenger seat, Sarah remarked “And now this is where Tania will just sit quietly and not say a word”. I was a bit taken aback until I realized that she wasn’t at all wrong in that assumption. I did exactly that for probably 2/3 of that entire ten days. On our long drive home she turned to me and asked me where I was as I stared out the side window. I replied lazily, “I’m nowhere really, neither here nor there” She stared at me for a moment before we both agreed that I am a bit of a weirdo.
Why am I sharing this with you? Well, for a couple of reasons. One being that I don’t really wish to be a social introvert but I am and there is simply no way of getting around that. It seems to be imprinted into my DNA somehow and no matter how hard I try to rewire, it’s here to stay. The last thing I would ever want anyone thinking is that I am aloof when in truth I am just ridiculously shy and lacking in communication skills because humans for the most part intimidate me. Dead people clearly not so much right?
Which brings me to the main reason I am sharing today.
People will often ask me how I know what I know about details of lives that I have no connection to. How I know about the orange cat that you have at home, or the fact that you absolutely love blueberries. How I know that you sleep in your spouses old socks, or that your collie just died last week. How I know that you have a tattoo over your heart when you have a shirt on that allows for no physical reason for me to know at all…
How do I know?
Because I trust completely.
Because I know myself well enough to understand that without trust I sincerely have no voice.
I have somehow developed a collaboration of trust between myself and a world that many can’t reach. I don’t know how I did it, and that’s absolute. I simply know that somehow I did or that perhaps somehow they did. What I do know with certainty is that I don’t communicate well on my own; I never have, and I doubt I ever will. But someone speaks when I grab the microphone and I know without a doubt it is not me. Crowds scare the bejesus out of me so let me assure you that whatever is happening has little to do with me personally. What I do accept with complete faith is that when I step up to that microphone that I am given an opportunity to use a gift that I have no clue how I got. I have an opportunity to actually hear my own voice. For someone such as myself, that is the greatest gift in the world. And your loved ones give that to me. Every single time I lift the mic. And what an incredible pleasure it is to accept that. I am grateful.
How can I not trust something as beautiful as that?
Please don’t follow me into the bathroom deal?