Performance Pangs

I’ve written poetry, vastly varying in quality, since I was quite young. I wrote a lot during my first college venture, mostly out of the loneliness and depression I was feeling. Really, this is what developed my depression back then. I would type verses into my phone on train trips to and from Maynooth. Shortly after I dropped out and became a bit of a shut-in, I stopped writing poetry. I stopped doing anything creative, really, until the next year when I started a portfolio course. I’ve written short stories and comics since then, but it wasn’t until September or October of last year that I felt inspired to write poems again. Between having an English tutor who makes me more excited to learn about poetry, and is a poet herself, and my renewed love for Otep, I felt the need to write. And perform. That was a new part.

Since I was young, I wanted to be too many things. Apart from my desire for the life of an adventuring archaeologist/egyptologist or glamorous beautician, there’s a pattern of wanting to be seen and heard in my childhood dreams. I wanted to be a drummer. I wanted to be a model. I wanted to be a kick-ass leader of a girl group. I wanted to sing. I love singing and rapping but I’ve never been too strong, especially with the former. It still hasn’t stopped me from belting out songs around the house, and I can’t stop from mouthing the words when I’m on a bus with my headphones. I’m also quite the introvert. Always have been – except for that mouthy, overly confident period between 5 and 9, or so. Over the years I have developed my sense of self-confidence and my identity. I’m still quiet but I can speak up when I need or want to – for the most part.

The desire to perform is growing. Quite a bit actually. But there’s still something holding me back. I’d gladly read out the poems and passages in English class when my tutor asks for a volunteer. Yet, I don’t. I’m probably afraid to seem over-eager in case I fall on my face, literally or figuratively. It’s a hard thing to break out of, especially when you’ve already been with the same group of people for months. The prospect of starting college at the other end of campus in September is even more sweet with this desire for reinvention I seem to be feeling. But, I have to start now if I don’t want to experience the same settling in period again next academic year.

I just have to keep up with expanding both my comfort zone and my abilities. I’m finding songs that suit the vocal range I have and trying my hardest to get to grips with them. I’m going to start writing again. College has been busy and I haven’t written since before Christmas. I’m slowly getting back into an exercise routine and I’ll be including dance this time around too. I want to take steps towards Burlesque performance. I was hoping to take part in Scarlett Nymph’s mentoring programme but I might have to wait for the next intake, when I have a little more experience.

Last semester in college, I performed three times, twice at the one event. I read a poem for my English class, as I shared in my last blog post, and I tried out for the Inter-varsity Slam Poetry Team in my college. That was my first ever performance and I made it to the semi-finals. I was ecstatic! I’ll share the first poem I read in another post (when the photo resurfaces). I’m really proud of it. It’s a really personal poem and, even though I’m incredibly open about my mental health issues, it was a huge deal to recite this in front of people. I received a lot of compliments that night. Before that, only people online had read my poetry. This was totally different. When I clarified what it was about to one of the judges, he hugged me and thanked me for sharing it.

And that’s why I need to keep creating things. And if I can perform too, all the better!

I feel empowered being able to voice these things. And I feel alive when I’m creating – and certainly when performing. The fact that people are getting something out of it – enjoyment, emotion, an experience, a new perspective, or just a laugh at the Dougal reference I made later on – brings me great joy.

Of course, a huge part of this is just being heard. I’m not used to hearing my own voice out loud, not really. I especially not used to a room full of people listening to me and actually hearing me. I’m so passionate about a great many things and I would love to use this new ability to help with that too. To become active in fighting for the things I hold important.

I could keep going but there’s studying to be had!

I’ll keep here updated with my exploits. For now, here is a video of me reciting one of my other poems.

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