Wednesday, April 23, 2008

23rd April 2008
Identity is very strange.
The only place in the whole world, it seems, where people still call me 'sir' is the gym where I go for cardiac rehabilitation on Wednesdays.
And it may be because I hardly look glamourous.. trackie top and bottoms.. and it would be ridiculous to wear makeup.. but it's not just about that.
Its something to do with how you think about yourself inside... which is reinforced by how people treat you outside.. and then sets up one of these vicious or virtuous circles...
because I was waiting for the bus with an old man from the soldier's home and when the bus came he ushered me in with a very courteous 'Ladies First' kind of gesture...
I think perhaps the gym was always such a place of fear, where I tried so hard to conform to being manly.. and maybe this somehow shows itself in my face and manner the minute I go through the door.
We are, i think, such victims of the past.
Yesterday I handed in a job application at the Traverse.
I'd been quite pleased with myself filling it in (I do have a lot of experience; I really am pretty well qualified) but when i went into the foyer there were all the preparations for the new John Byrne play that's opening there next Tuesday.
One of his drawings blown up life size.. and the minute i saw it I felt all of a sudden very inadequate and very small...
Its extraordinary his work should have this effect on me.
I remember the first (and only) time I saw the Slab Boys. I was still nursing at the time, and hadn't discovered myself as a writer at all.
His play utterly discouraged me because everyone loved it, I hated and was deeply distressed by it, and I remember thinking: "If this is what people want then I might as well give up trying".
because my vague, fragile, unformed dreams just seemed to belong to a different planet...
There's some horrible bullying goes on in that play, I remember, and we as an audience are invited to be complicit in it. To enjoy the bullying perpetrated by the bully and think more of him as a consequence of it...
Perhaps there's something in his tone of voice that reminds me of someone who bullied me..
I was always so isolated, such a loner, so out of everything.
And his voice is of the one who is 'in'. Absolutely 'in' and part of the crowd everyone wants to belong to...
Perhaps it's something like that. For just the sight of that poster, and the sight of a group of actors in the cast talking together left me feeling small and intimidated. Even though I know at least one of them so well...
Does this ever change, I wonder?
Perhaps at least in the sense that I can begin to look at it and try to reflect on what is happening..

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