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As I sat in the back of the van today I reflected on the fact that I have only two weeks left of the tour. I penned a poem and here it is…

Seasons and Pages

Oh how the seasons change
And how the winds will blow,
As branches age and whither
And buds do bloom and grow.

Oh how the tides do turn
And alter landscapes so.
The stage appears so different
When viewed from other rows.

Lessons learned along the way
Preconception now misplaced
With widening perception of
This life with which we’re graced.

Four quite different seasons
In this environment collide
Resulting in an epic storm
The fates had boxed and tied.

The gift inside – a story
With a cover never seen,
The chapter quite unfinished
But the audience is keen.

The pages they have turned
The play is nearly done
Through trial and tribulation
It has been an epic run.

As I just stepped in to the shower I slipped and slammed my shin in to the side of the shower creating what we in the industry of bodies call a ‘bruise’. This in particular would be known as a ‘recreation bruise’. Now when in a touring theatre company bruises become a part of your daily vocabulary, either because you or one of your co workers will discover, or create a new bruise pretty much every day- if not more frequently.

A few days ago I went on a cycle tour around Paris in my leisure time. Whilst cycling (after a couple of glasses of vino) I developed a technique or slamming my leg in to the peddle when stopping at a light- Again this is a recreational bruise. But in addition to these recent blemishes to my already blue and green skin surface I have receives several work bruises (from carrying boxes, dropping boxes, walking in to tables, dropping weights, opening doors into myself, falling down etc)

I have become so used to being bruised that it would be strange to me to look down at my body and not see at least one of two memories of clumsiness.

So- I have, I feel addressed here a very unimportant, yet notable part of touring theatre. Bruises. Oh and beware or cuts too.

I find myself asking this evening ‘What is confidence?’ As an actress I work with people who range from ‘confident’ to ‘arrogant’ to ‘insecure’ And when you meet ‘normal’ people, (people with regular jobs) you have to re assess what confidence is?

Having the confidence as a Parisian man to walk up to a woman in a park and say “So- tell me, I was talking to my friends. What is a good opening line when chatting up a woman?” as apposed to an English man attempting something of this fashion… which let’s face it would probably either come out sounding like

“Y’a’ight? I was like looking at you and I was like pfft, mate. I can’t not say something to her”

or

“Errr, Hi. I erm, haha, I errrr, Oh sorry. erm, Hello.”

I have a friend who seems to value their self esteem on how often they get appreciated by other people and I have to admit that rang alarm bells in my head. I don’t however need to hear about every person who asked for their number, or every person who eyed them up. Equally I meet people who find it difficult to even talk to strangers, or make eyes contact whilst talking. Other people I find shockingly confident that I feel insecure talking to them.

As I walked along the designer haven of Paris yesterday I felt insecure simply because I am not dripping with money- something I never thought would be a preoccupation with me- but suddenly I felt like a lesser person because I couldn’t afford to just nip in to Chanel and buy a new outfit with my hubby’s MX card.

Confidences and insecurities are so intrinsic to the make up of a person- and how we judge another by these attributes is usually down to our own insecurities within ourselves. My summation I guess would be to honestly note your own insecurities and do your best to overcome them. And if you still rail against them to little avail (which is perfectly normal) try to acknowledge them and be accepting of these flaws in others. None of us are perfect- but we are all complex, snivelling fools made up of our own experiences and nuances. Judgements are fine- but open minds open the world to us

Now, having been on tour for over nine months I feel I’m in a pretty secure position to make remark on how lonely one can get. I myself am a very touchy feely person. I get energy from being around others. And nothing cheers me up more than a good cuddle. I have always been in relationships and being on tour, without a lover, not having any kind of intimacy or having your best friends in the world just a train ride away (or downstairs by the cat bowl) takes its toll day by day. And usually I find you don’t see these things creeping up on you until you wake up one morning feeling quite down.

I try to keep active, I run, I do yoga, I watch silly TV programs and inspiring films, I chat to people on skype, I write, take photographs, try and see sites- But- it’s the lack of intimacy that I am struggling with. And I did not realise it until yesterday in truth. I like my colleagues. There are some great friendships developing, but we live together, work together, travel together, and it is unlike any other relationship in it’s intensity. One of my colleagues said the only thing he could liken it to was marriage- and even then would you work with your spouse? I guess that is what got me thinking about intimacy- because at least with a marriage (one would hope) would get that!

It’s not the kind of thing you can fix I don’t think. Meet people yes- but that tends to be a brief encounter, a fleeting meeting, without depth or certainly intimacy of the kind you crave. Only deep friendships offer that. I considered getting a plant or something that I could nurture… but I would hate to kill it. Perhaps a  cactus would live- not really something you can cuddle though…

I find myself inadvertently flirting with people on facebook- which is of course inevitable, but in the end futile and frustrating…

Well- I feel I have concluded nothing in this blog entry. But it has offered a variation from all the recent photographs, and raised an important issue with long term touring.

To surmise – May buy a cactus.

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New Poem

I Dreamt Goodbye

 

I dreamt of you last night again

And in my heart I yearned

To see you once again my love

To laugh where long I’ve burned.

 

I felt myself being torn from you

In my dream last night

As this reflects reality-

See it if I might.

 

‘Tis true I miss you every day

For seconds if not hours

But remind myself that we’re estranged

Until the final lay of flowers.

 

For you will not bend your ear to me,

Lest your eyes or heart fall suit,

And my pride allows no small display

And thus I live a mute.

 

But all is well that ends the same

So the saying goes

And in my heart I shall find peace

Regardless of my woes.

 

For I deserve a love that pounds

That jumps and screams and cries

And nothing less will have my tears

My heart, my ears, my eyes.