I Could Tell You...
A poem by Barbell Dancer
Last night you sent me a message
It was a cruel, I wasn't expecting it
Venom spewed and accusations flew
Why weren't you there?!
I was going to tell you
But you never gave me a chance
You like to perform
But you don't like to lose
Your words were unjust, angry
I tried to explain
You're being pathetic.
Why bother performing?
No one will watch you if you behave like this!
I really did try to explain to you
But you wouldn't stop
You're just being a sore loser.
Show up for your friends and buy a fucking ticket!
I looked at your message
I looked at your angry words
My fingers hovered over the keyboard
I wanted to explain
But what could I tell you?
I could tell you about my fear:
My fear of being trapped in a large crowd
Squashed, crushed, pummelled
Strange hands, loud noises, bright lights...
I could tell you about my autism:
About how everything seems more
Brighter, louder, faster, harder, scarier
How a strange place could be triggering
How I don't want to have a meltdown in public...
I could tell you about white lights:
Flashing ones, static ones and dark rooms
How my brain doesn't process it well
How I could have a fit then and there...
I could tell you that I am so proud of my friends:
My braver, stronger, better friends
I love them, I want the best for them
I want them all to win, win, win!
I could tell you that I'm sad I can't be there:
That I would give anything to be neurotypical
To be able to deal with the unexpected
With the lights and crowds and sounds
That I'd trade my right arm to be as normal as you are
But I don't.
I don't tell you.
I don't tell you because you don't care.
You don't want to hear it.
You've made up your mind.
But you don't know.
My friends do.
Author's Note: I received a message recently, I'm not going to say who sent it, accusing me of being a sore loser and a bad friend because I didn't go to watch UNLEASHED or AAPC Victoria Heats, and haven't brought a ticket for AIRBORNE. I was stung and this person threw some very nasty insults at me before I blocked them.
I don't normally share such personal details, but I'm not hiding in the shadows anymore. I love to perform, I enjoy being on stage, and part of that enjoyment comes from knowing exactly what I am doing. There are no surprises, no unexpected happenings, the lights are exactly how I want them, I have a pretty good idea of when people are going to cheer and, even if it does come unexpectedly, I have one solid thing to focus on: my performance.
But it's hard for me to be on the other side. Social phobias, anxiety, ASD and a type of photosensitivity mean a large crowd - full of unexpectedness, noise, sudden changes and bright lights - can be very triggering for me. It's not an environment I choose to place myself in, because I know it is one in which I would struggle to cope. I'm just wired that way.
I try to support the people I care about in other ways. Messages, comments, congratulations and other such things, given in person or sent on Facebook, or joining a small crowd in a familiar environment to watch them rehearse. I'm proud of them all and one day I will be able to join them up on that stage, but until then I have to watch from afar.
I truly believe that those friends of mine who do perform know I'm behind them, even if I'm a little further away than most, and I no longer consider the person who sent me that nasty message to be a friend in any sense, and yet I wanted to respond. But I wanted to respond in my way, in my own time, in a form that felt most comfortable for me, hence my free-verse poem.
You don't have to like me. I'm not a Facebook post.
Me With No Apologies.