The Creature at the Door, The Bogeyman, The Presence, however it’s phrased these ominous beings have one thing in common – you can’t see them, but they can see you. We strive and strive to penetrate the darkness that Simon and Garfunkel seek to communicate with, yet it is far too elusive, far too…tricksy…and so we give up. We believe we are alone, no one can see us, no one knows us, no one is aware.
Life, I have come to realise is a performance. We speak to be recognised. As we dress ourselves in the morning, however (un)conscious our decisions are, they are decisions, seeking in their own either explicit or implicit way to elicit a response, an acknowledgement, in the least, a thought process.When that doesn’t happen, the sense of our own perceived insignificance can be overwhelming.
I write to be read. I write to be understood. Deep down in the pride filled holes of my heart I hope someone, somewhere cares about my work. I hope it either makes them laugh (where appropriate), or cry. Makes them think, wonder, be inspired, maybe even impressed. So we seek this affirmation, this recognition.
Social media dictates that we deserve not only to perform surgery on ourselves, but let our friends be trainee doctors and bear witness to us systematically removing our innards and splaying them on the stainless steel theatre tables of the World Wide Web. As we partake in this ritual, we are hoping for some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ to escape pursed lips. That fervent scribbling salutes our aural faculties as people write down our updates our posts in the memory bank of their minds. That, they might even venture to ask a question, to drop a comment.
Yet in my experience, often this isn’t the case. We perform to an Asian audience. That is to say, we perform to people who may not applaud at every twirl, but watch, critically until the final curtain call before rising from their seats in rapturous applause and screams. The dancer must keep dancing, even if it is to a silent cavern. If they stop mid twirl, then the comments will never fall, the applause will never be born as hands are kept by their sides, maybe in disappointment, or disinterestedness.
Today I realised, one never knows who their audience is. They may never comment, or like, but they may be methodically and systematically reading, watching, a lurking presence that sees you even when you don’t see them.
As they say in theatre, regardless of anything, the show must go on. The performance only ends at that final curtain call.