I have a challenge ahead of me. I already perform comedy and public speak.
I am an interesting and engaging lecturer and facilitator of anthropology. I am learning about radio presenting and have done my first live broadcast. I am an independent producer of complex comedy productions with social messages. I am most proud to get to perform at major Fringe Festivals.
However, I choose parody song in my comedy when I can really sing. A rich, jazz voice. Those that have been lucky enough to hear it are suitably impressed. But I am rarely convinced.
There have been a few ways we have talked about the politics of identity over the years. So many ways we have chosen to look at the notion of “being yourself”. I know that means, for me, being a performer.
When I was living in China I entered a street stall with thousands of white t-shirts with the words on it “Be yourself, no one else can”.
Yes, you too can achieve this goal by wearing a mass-produced t-shirt like millions of others!
I want to talk about our own personal t-shirt slogans that hold back our voices. Our internal narratives that mean we may ignore natural drives to perform, sing, paint, speak or do whatever it is our heart calls us to do.
The voices we hide away or may not recognise at all.
It took me many years to find my voice and to be brave enough to commit to a natural drive to perform that I have suppressed all my life. But around 2015 I saw the narratives that were holding me back clearer than ever.
Every achievement in my life, small or big, was always accompanied with a certain voice. Then something terrible happened and I was forced to be creative in my healing.
The below video is a short snippet from my speaking product “Normal is a cycle on a washing machine”. This talk goes on to talk about how we can use “normal” as a way to limit our healing and how to overcome our internal voices about what is “normal”. Part of this is changing the way we use language. Language is a powerful action.
Through that healing, guided by a few more positive voices I recognised some negative voices from my past – particularly in regard to singing.
It came from years of people in my circle as a young person who said to me, “It’s okay, but it’s only <insert minimising language here>”.
“Only a small-town choir”.
“Only a paper award certificate”.
“Only an average voice”.
There are none of those voices left in my life, I have consciously removed negative people from my life.
Yet sometimes the relics of their narratives stuck and I have to work around them.
The interesting thing was that these negative voices are always from people who never even tried to do what I tried. They were always too scared.
These are the people who curb your enthusiasm with platitudes like “well everyone needs a hobby”, when you start working towards making a career out of performance.
Fear and negativity breeds fear and negativity. They suck you in and you get stuck.
When I perform now, comedy or public speaking – I still hear whispers of these old voices. But I acknowledge them and put them in an imaginary rubbish bin that I visualise in my mind’s eye. I convert the negative narrative to a positive one.
“I am on stage and the crowd wants me to entertain them”.
“I was acknowledged with a review”.
“The crowd will enjoy the parody song”.
Yet, I am still not quite able to sing properly on stage – but here’s some news, I am about to change that. It’s the next big step in my healing journey.
A small artistic musical project called “Steame Funk”. Stay tuned.
Oh and if you want to book me for a positive mental health talk or a comedy show…contact my agent at https://www.inspiringrarebirds.com/jacci-pillar/