This afternoon, Diva Dan and I hosted the 1st Annual Optimistic View – Live event in our home town of Walkerton, Ontario Canada. It was a defining moment for us here in our town.
I’ll level with you, as much as people classify me as a celebrity, we are just regular people within our home town. Reality is, people have no idea who we are as we keep a low profile within our town. We tend to keep our heads down and socialize very little. We do this intentionally as we are in fear of offending people for being gay. Though Canada generally are easy going with homosexuality, you get the few outspoken individuals that make sure you that you are put into your place and reminding you that you are a second class citizen. For those who go through this, you will understand what I am saying here. It’s not a fun feeling of feeling a vibe or sensing an uncomfortable undertone.
Due to our success with The Crochet Crowd, we were asked 6 months ago to host the Optimistic View – Live Show here in our town. For two guys who have kept a low profile, the decision wasn’t easy and really we were more worried as ‘gay humour’ is natural for us. While on the internet, it’s easy to be ourselves as we find the population that accepts us and lets us be who we are. Bringing us out from under the stones in our home town is a completely different story. These are the people who will see us everyday as we go to the coffee shop, grocery shop and etc. The decision was tough but we were convinced to put down our guards to host the 1st Annual Show.
You see, the development of The Crochet Crowd was a way for me to create my own community with a topic that I care strongly about. I can talk about crochet for hours as I love it and it’s my passion. I would rather surround myself, even through cyber means, with people who are enthusiastic… allowing crochet to be our connection to each other.
Today, we let the real Mikey and Diva Dan out of the closet, sort of speak, within our town. After going through rehearsal, we were prepared and ready to present. Our mission was to raise money for families dealing with cancer in our region. Within a couple minutes, I honestly accidentally let a gay undertone happen and the audience blew up in laughter… I realized in that moment… I’m at home… and I am still okay and the audience is okay too. It’s possible that my fear may be unfounded and it is me giving off a standoffish vibe when it might not even be necessary.
What is interesting about me… I have two personalities… I have my shy, introverted and hide in the corner personality… and then I have “Mikey – The Crochet Crowd Guy”. It’s like there are two personalities living within me. When Mikey – The Crochet Crowd Guy is invited out from behind the wall… it’s unbelievable what I am capable of and the power of the messages that can come from my mouth. In reviewing recordings of me after interviews and live shows and etc… I am like “Where did I think of that?” … “How did I manage some great timing for an undertone joke to slip?” It’s fascinating… and yet I am the person living within my soul.
After I realized the audience was cool today… the rest of show just went on and we just let ourselves out to be who we are without question. Several defining moments of laughter in between such a tough topic. The first half goes by and we have intermission… So many people coming up to us congratulating us on a first half. Members of the Optimist Club all smiles and really supportive with the energy that we have brought to the stage.
Second half of the show goes by… the laughter, emotions and much more happen. Even minor little slip ups were over trumped by humour to get us through which was a great way to hide a moment that could potentially stop the show. Everyone worked as a team and it was harmony. Audience members gave generously and had a great time at the same time.
At the end… many community members excited and enthusiastic to talk to us. I will say… most of seen us at some point but because we keep our head down… mostly everyone is a stranger to us. In a community where I have kept a low profile, this was an awakening moment for me on a personal level.
Daniel and I arrived at the local restaurant where 35 members were sitting waiting for us. We arrived in the restaurant and a bunch of ladies gave us a standing ovation… I had no idea who they are… but they were blown away by show. One was trying to recruit me to be a local actor for the stage productions. I declined as my schedule is really tough already with a lot of responsibilities. We then arrived at our group and again another large eruption of applause for the successful show. It was a complete surprise.
Merely 4 weeks ago, this committee were strangers to us… though I don’t know most of their names without others have to point me in the right direction. We were amongst new found friendly faces being appreciated for our effort… an effort that allowed us to be who we are without changing our personalities to fit in. It was a surreal moment.
I have always said that I have always felt like an outsider within my town… When you keep your head down like I do… it’s no wonder I am an outsider as I make little effort to get to know my neighbours or find out what is happening in town. So really, the fault is my own. Though I feel more at home in my home town this evening… it doesn’t mean I will start a gay pride parade or anything along that nature. It just means I can hold my head high in the grocery store or continue to devalue who I am. It’s a changing moment for me.