Walking through the familiar hallways, nostalgic corridors and unfamiliar streets of my life these days I feel myself surrendering to a kind of mindset that I have not yet allowed myself to experience. No it’s not the menopause mindset – yet! It’s the same comparable feeling to when I lie on my back at the mouth of the shore on the beach and just let the waves wash in and over me and then wash back to the ocean. The feeling of sinking into the sand underneath me with an underlying trust that I won’t be washed out into the sea. The more I allow the waves to engulf my body whilst still being aware of my surroundings and supported by land, the more I start to trust that my energetic weight is now enough to ground me in order to not get washed away by forces stronger than me.
This is kind of what it felt like to turn an autobiography called ‘Electro Girl’ that I had written describing my life hiding and living with epilepsy, into a stage play and perform it at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. I am not a trained artist or performer. I do not come from an acting or drama background (although I can turn on the drama when I want to, just ask my ex boyfriends). I am not theatrically or puppetry schooled. Yet I decided that in order to really feel into the depths and be able to transform what my story and my life has been about up until now, which has been highly dominated by this diagnosis of epilepsy, I needed to perform it on stage. Mental, I know!!
Performance Therapy, or as I have learnt from Dr Google, Drama Therapy, is a way to tell a story the most expressive way as possible through spoken word, imagination and movement. This is designed to allow people who are drawn to this type of therapy to find a way beyond the trauma of the actual stories into a type of imaginary world designed from their reality.
I have tried out some therapies over the last 30 years in order to try and accept my sparky brain and the fact that I have epilepsy. I didn’t like that I had it and I didn’t want to accept it either. You’d think it would be easy to accept – ummmm no, hasn’t been but it’s been colourful trying. I’ve also had therapy to deal with the reasons behind the seizures and therapy just because I thought I needed to because I seriously didn’t understand what the hell I was doing with my life, but none of it really worked. The whole talking about it thing had a sort of band aid effect at the time but it wasn’t a lasting mode of therapy for me. I’m a tough sheila, I need tough therapy!
In order to make the show real for the audience, I needed to really “own” the script that I had written, not just read it off the paper and memorize it. With the help of my amazing director Claire Pickering, we pushed through and found the emotion within the words on paper. Performing ‘Electro Girl’ to audiences of Melbourne and now wanting to take the show on the road to educate about Epilepsy in a raw, fun and engaging way has really grounded me and made me feel the same way as that earlier analogy of the sand beneath my body on the shorelines. Every time a performance wave washes over me I’ll just sink a little deeper into the reason that I’m on this planet and trust the unique ebb and flow of life more and more every day.
Keep the spark alive in your lives
In love, light and electricity