Imagine being in the following situations:
- Having a job where the boss of the adjacent department is someone who discriminated against you (and you’ve never received an apology).
- Being amongst extended family members who habitually crack jokes that demean an aspect of your identity (and you’re never sure how serious the jokes are).
- Attending a church where the pastor has systematically tried to silence your voice.
- Being in an online forum where its leader states repeatedly and categorically that an experience of yours did not, and does not, happen.
They’re pretty uncomfortable scenarios. The question is: what do you do with them?
At work, my boss is someone who is streets ahead of me in terms of professional experience, organisational nous and interpersonal savvy. I can barely begin to go into how much I’ve learned from him. When it comes to music though, it’s the other way round. Aged in his fifties, he’s struggling through his grade 3 guitar exam, whereas I had grade 8 piano when I was fourteen. It makes for some interesting conversations.
Recently he described how his teacher had been telling him that part of the art of being a performer is learning how to handle an uncomfortable environment. What do you achieve if you go into the room and the lighting is a bit off and someone’s looking at you awkwardly and you say you just can’t play?
Of course you want the environment that welcomes you. Continue reading To stay or to go? On church, LGBT+ affirmation, and uncomfortable places