I went to a socially distanced concert last week with my partner of four years, only we’re taking some time out at the moment and for some reason it made me feel really awkward to be there with him. In some ways I was grateful for the social distancing as I felt more comfortable with their being physical space between us during this time of uncertainty. It was a strange sensation to watch everyone dancing and shouting whilst wearing their face masks and adhering to the 1.5 metre distancing rules.
I was also feeling out of place as I felt like an imposter. The song lyrics were in Catalan where I now live, though I have spent most of my life in England. I certainly feel more Catalan than Spanish but not as Catalan as I feel English. I had a huge identity crisis when I first moved back to my birth country but that’s another blog post.
At the concert, I felt how could I dance, or in my case sway along to the music when I’m not Catalan? I didn’t know any of the words of the songs which was laziness on my part as I could have learnt the words to some of the more famous ones but even then I don’t think it would have helped. I kept thinking there were probably hidden meanings and messages in the songs and that only real/true Catalans would understand having grown up here.
I was also suffering with severe self-esteem anxiety that day. It started earlier when I went for a walk into town and all I could think was that the people I was passing-by were thinking I shouldn’t be there, that I didn’t belong. At the concert, I needed to go to the toilet but doing so would mean having to walk down past everybody (not so bad) but then having to come up the same way facing everybody head on.
When I think about this out loud, it sounds so arrogant as if everyone is looking at me because I’m so important and not at the super famous singer up on stage but nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t mean or want it to sound arrogant, it’s not, it’s this fear that people will think you don’t belong, that you’re not dressed the right way, that you’re pretending to be something that you’re not.
I told myself I was being silly and I also really needed to go to the loo so I forced myself to walk down those steps and back up them again and the stupid thing is, it wasn’t so bad. That’s the shitty; crippling effect depression can have on you sometimes. Something so basic and so simple can have this debilitating effect on you.
Towards the end of the show (1 hour and 45 minutes later) I was feeling slightly more at ease with myself and where I was. I felt myself relaxing and let the music sway me rather than swaying robotically as that’s what I thought I had to do. I was happy I had gone as I love music and concerts but I wish my thoughts and emotions hadn’t got the better of me and I wish more than anything that my partner and I were in a happy and secure place.