My beloved Guinea Pigs played a gig yesterday at Billings Forge Farmers' Market. It's a lovely, small urban market, on Broad Street in downtown Hartford. There were a half dozen or so local farms, some products and crafts, and a handful of food trucks (including my fave, G-Monkey, from which I procured a hearty serving of cold peanut soba noodles, yum!)
We've played this particular market the past few years and it's always a fave for us, with friends and fans stopping by, and folks from the local arts and business community stopping in for lunch or their dose of fresh produce. The market itself serves the local community by accepting SNAP / WIC benefits for fresh local food, and doubling their value for produce purchased at the market (which admittedly does sell for a premium compared to the local mega-supermarket, not that there are many of those in Hartford)
I was affirmed a bit yesterday - a young woman who described herself as a "yoga newbie" recognized me from the studio, and perhaps seeing a free-spirit, artistic side of me that I rarely admit or see in myself, commented that "I need to get more creative in my life". Whatever stories I happen to be telling myself about who I am and how I live my life, I rarely would call myself creative or artistic. Yet this young woman, with her simple "I wish I were more like you" musing, held a mirror up to my own life, especially the choices of the past decade or so. It was very sweet and affirming.
And I was disappointed yesterday. I serve and belong to a "community" through my yoga practice, yet I can count on one hand the times a friend from that world has taken the time to support me, to come see my band play. Occasionally people stumble across me, but only 1-2 times has someone come specifically to see us. I know we're mostly east of the river, so when we do come to this part of town, I guess it sparks a little hope that "this time I might see a familiar face" of the 100s on my Facebook friends list. I'd guess that fewer than 2% of the locals on my 480+ Facebook friends list have ever come to hear me play despite my sharing every single gig since 2010.
I need to look at that a little. Part of it is certainly my own compartmentalizing my life / lives - with separate communities for music, for yoga, for GLBT, for ballooning, with a handful of people, events, and venues that overlap. Part of that is my own strong nature and ability to stand on my own two feet without a lot of support - the folks with needs and crisis and struggle seem to attract and receive both attention and love. And part of that is the complexity of boundaries and relationships in a world where I am teacher, student, client, friend, and employee, and pull back a bit to keep from getting enmeshed in drama.
But over and over, that part of my world continues to break my heart.