Welcome back gorgeous humans. It’s February already! Is it just me, or is the year slipping by at a ridiculous speed? I have to ask, in this month where everything seems to be focused on the big L; how are you? Is Valentine’s day your thing? Is it a day you avoid at all costs? Tell me all about it and while you are at it don’t be afraid to say it how it is. This is a safe space and sometimes we just need a place to take the mask off and speak what’s on our minds.
A few months back I was asked to contribute to three separate events, two of which came to fruition this month and the third will be screened in March. (Yes, I did say screened but you will have to come back next month to see what I am talking about).
All have stretched me, personally and artistically, into places that were safe, but uncomfortable in different ways. To clue you in, I was born into a generation where self-promotion was frowned upon. ‘Be Humble’, ‘Never grow too big for your boots’, ‘Never, under any circumstances, admit to being good at anything’, ‘Always be self-deprecating’ and ‘Never for one second think that you aren’t replaceable’. Sentiments that today are refuted vigorously, (rightly so – why shouldn’t we be allowed to shine?) but for those of us who hold them in our DNA, it takes a will of iron to set aside.
The first challenge was being interviewed by Lauri Schoenfeld for her Inner Enlightenment Show https://www.facebook.com/lauri.schoenfeld.
You can watch the interview here:
Ok, so it wasn’t a challenge exactly because Lauri is the most splendid, kind and beautiful soul you could ever hope to meet let alone interview you, but the idea of talking about myself for any length of time was slightly daunting. The idea that I also had to promote the event was uncomfortable, but I came up with a sneaky little work around and centred my promotion posts around Lauri and her show, rather than me. (Yes! I know! Utter madness. She wouldn’t have asked me for an interview if she didn’t feel I should take up space; but give me time people. Give me time!)
Lauri made it fun and light and if I could have jumped through the screen to give her a blue-haired Aussie chick hug, I would have. Even when I attempted to recite a poem from memory, lost my way, died a million deaths and then carried on, Lauri held space for me to be human and afterwards another friend who knew I would be sitting in the dark with my good friend, Shame, sent me an amazing video of world class performer, Patti Smith forgetting the lines of a Bob Dylan song, she sang at the Nobel Prize Award Ceremony in 2016. If you ever show the vulnerable side of your humanity by stuffing up in any kind of way, this is the video to watch - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=941PHEJHCwU&ab_channel=NobelPrize
I felt so much compassion for Patti that I was able to thank Shame for her visit and suggest it was time to go. Off she toddled (not happily, I must say. She is used to hanging about for days) and it was a relief to see the back of her and true to the title of Lauri’s show I came away from the experience, enlightened.
A poem I wrote about ‘Shame’ last year.
Yes Skylar, but what about love?, I hear you ask. Well……. This is where discomfort metastasized into one of those ‘What the (expletive) do you think you were doing, agreeing to this?’ Actually, scrub the, (expletive) and let’s just go with ‘FUCK’ in caps and all.
I had been asked to take part in a cabaret style event that would be performed in a Zoom meeting and streamed to FB for Valentine’s Day. Now, back in November, when I agreed to it, it all seemed like a great ball of fun and who would pass up the chance to don a character and a costume and get all up in people’s faces, with a bit of tasteful erotica? I mean I won the drama award back in high-school FFS (and not because I was a drama queen for those of you who know me and are thinking exactly that) the whole thing should be a shoo-in.
A poem dropped in. Check. Costuming got sorted. Check. Next task; memorise poem. Ch…. Che…… Che….. NOPE! That was not going to come easily. In all my ‘ooohh lets get dressed up and buy a new wig’ excitement I had forgotten an important aspect of acting – one must be able to memorise one’s lines and my short-term memory seems to have taken a long walk off a short jetty.
Excellent. Good job, Skylar, were my calm and rational thoughts. (Please note, one and all, this is sarcasm) Rational Thought held Short Term Memory’s hand as they took that walk off the short jetty, so it was more, #blue-haired-Aussie-chick-turns-the-air-blue, #blue-tongues-anonymous, #potty-mouth, #crazy, #hide-the-kitchen-knives-this-could-get-out-of-control, and so on.
Needless to say, that despite saying that poem a gazillion times a day and sometimes even getting through it without a mistake, there were times I could not get through it and I lost whole lines. And, I know you are thinking, what’s the problem, you can just read the poem off your computer you’re in Zoom, not on stage. The thing is, along with all those lovely belief systems about not talking yourself up, there was another that ran something like, ‘always give 200% to anything you commit to’, or ‘if you can’t do it perfectly, don’t do it badly’ and so on. I am sure many readers remember the rhetoric.
Ok, so without dragging this on for much longer the point is that it was my first ever erotic poem and if any poem needs to be recited straight down the eye of the camera to connect with the audience out there in the ether, it is an erotic one. There can not be any of this ‘oh well, I’ll just read it and it will be fine.’
So, I watched that Patti Smith video a gazillion times, taped my poem up above my camera, rehearsed the hell out of it and did my blinkin’ best. And although I could barely watch the playback because all I saw were mistakes and imperfections and Shame came visiting again for a few days, I am going to put the link here so anyone who wants to, can add it to their collection of ‘Human Moments That Make Me Feel Better’ for viewing at a time you need to be reminded to ‘go easy’ on yourself.
(See now? Slow and steady, I am getting the hang of promoting myself.)
VALENTINE’S DAY – MASCARA
The performance of my poem, HEAD FUCKED, is about an hour in. You are very welcome, and I hope next time you put yourself out there and feel all the things humans feel when they make themselves vulnerable, you will remember to be decent with yourself – our flaws are our perfections.