Back on Stage WITH A PIANO! F*@k off FEAR!

Image is Jacci standing behind a stage piano, mid song, at Pride of Our Footscray Community Bar, with a colourful mural background.

Being back on stage for Midsumma Festival was awesome – particularly as I faced one of my biggest, life long fears by doing so. That fear was of playing piano and singing in front of a crowd. I also got to share a green room with some awesome people for Pride of Our Footscray Community Bar‘s comedy event “You Can’t Say That in Front of Your Father”.

I battle imposter syndrome and gut wrenching anxiety every time I get on stage and the thought of singing on stage was mortifying prior to 2019.

Then I did some work with Richard Lawton, the author of Raise Your Voice, and it changed everything. If you are battling a fear of speaking or singing, I strongly recommend his book or classes.

I battled messaging from my childhood that says artist pursuits are not valuable or acceptable. But it’s part of who I am and it took until my mid 40’s to overcome those fears and just decide to do it anyway.

And one of the biggest bags I carried around was wanting to learn to play piano and being told, “only smart people play piano and your little fingers will not let you”. Family criticism of my singing voice stopped me singing in choirs and other public places from about ten years old.

I faced it the first time in front of a large audience for a show called Tickets on Myself on opening night of Melbourne Fringe 2019. Then of course…lockdown…and workplace injury stopped me in my tracks.

I am also doing a PhD and so performing is taking a back seat, but it’s still in the car with me!

Whilst I have been singing on stage for a while now, it’s been sporadic and terror filled. So at Midsumma I performed my first song composition after some piano lessons with the incredible Spencer Hughes booked through Scarlett Music. Spencer was so patient with me. The song is a rudimentary tune but fun. Two out of four performances I felt like I killed it, the other two not as happy with, but still well received. But I also got great crowd feedback.

I am often surrounded by other performers who look at me like I’ve got two heads for talking about these fears. And I admit that I wish it had been natural and encouraged throughout my early life so I could feel like they do about performing, instead of carrying this awfully heavy baggage, like I have throughout my life. But that baggage is much lighter now, and may soon just be a handbag instead of a costume trunk.

But being back on stage was awesome and I have to say, I am glad I didn’t give it all up after the last 12 months of recovering from a workplace injury. Performing online and on community TV during that time helped my recovery enormously.

But this was pretty special. And fear can go fuck off.

And now, in honour of this triumph over childhood fear – I am about to relaunch my solo show, including three comedy songs and poetry and story and stand-up! Tardy: Ready and Disabled | Melbourne Fringe

So, Tardy: Ready and Disabled is coming back for one night only! To Fringe Common Rooms (Old Ballroom, Victorian Trades Hall).

Please come along! Particularly if you are interested in disability pride!

Where: Fringe Common Rooms, in the Ballroom (Victorian Trades Hall).

When: Wednesday 23rd June, doors at 7 pm for show start at 7.30 pm. AUSLAN. Relaxed performance for those of us on spectrum – there will be room to move.

How to book online: Tardy: Ready and Disabled | Melbourne Fringe

#Somekidsbooks are life changing

This post is a repeat of a letter I wrote to author Nelly Thomas and illustrator Cat McInnes about the book I received in the mail on the 14th August 2019.  A book called “Some Brains” that it seems I really had been waiting 48 years for…

Dear Nelly and Cat,

The poor postman thought he was being mugged. I heard him open the gate (from some distance away I might add). My service dog Pepper, whose been super chill all morning, leapt to her feet and scooted with me to the door, sensing something big was happening.

Some+Brains+Cover_smallI chatted to the postman and opened it in front of him, and out popped the colourful cover of Some Brains. Pepper decided to comfort the postman, cause he seemed surprised at the excitement over a book. I was working from home today, so I went and sat in the quiet of my bedroom and poured over the pages.

Pepper knows that if I cry, she is to comfort me. But today she recognised the tears streaming down my face were tears not in need of comfort. They were tears of absolute relief.

Relief that FINALLY a depiction of neurodiverse kids is so clear and so positive.
My childhood was not filled with such messages. It was filled with trying to make me fit societal structures that didn’t fit me and the resulting psychological and physical pain and discomfort. I’ve struggled to be myself until my mid 40’s. But now my voice is louder than ever and the neurodiversity movement is responsible for helping me to find that voice.

This book will fundamentally change lives. It has just fundamentally changed mine for the better and it’s only been in my possession less than an hour.

Thank you!
With enormous respect and love,
Jacci

*folks – check out SOME KIDS BOOKS for how to get a copy of “Some Brains
#neurodiversity
#actuallyautistic