Confidence is Shared
We are taught that confidence is an innate characteristic. It is something you must achieve on your own, without the help of others. During the 70th Red Room Stage Time & Wine the Red Roomers proved this oft taught lesson false. On the contrary, confidence is shared and built through community.
Daniel Black approached the stage with a grin and a flimsy dinner menu in hand. “Hopefully you like it,” he said, grin firmly in place. “If not, that’s ok. I like it anyway”. His confidence in his work and performance brought the audience to admiration and awe. Daniel taught us his confidence from a menu with his words all over it. He showed us how you can take an everyday object and make it your own.
Not every performer had the same panache, or hid their stage fright. Anya Chau, wh oheld her guitar close as she approached the stage, admitted she was “worried about messing up”. Confidence is not the absence of nerves, it is not a constant grin or swagger. Confidence can come from a friend reaching out and reminding you that nervousness is allowed; that, even if you miss every note, at least you kept the beat. At the end of the song, Manav approached the microphone with a suggestion for the audience: “Can we please have [her] sing one more song?” The resounding answer came through a rumble of claps and a chorus of whooping: Yes. Of course. How could we not? She is amazing.
Red Room is a place to try new things, to present that which you’re not quite yet confident enough to share everywhere and to know that we’re happy to help you experiment. Even if you’ve never played the song before or it’s the first draft of your novel or if your performance is nothing like what you practiced or you simply decide to improvise, we’ll embrace it, applaud it and dream with it when the night ends.
We’ll do all these things because we know that confidence is gained through communities, and through the kinship developed within them. Tina Ma introduced a group of performers from different aboriginal tribes in Taiwan. She called upon us to listen closely to their performance and consider the importance of tradition and kinship. Mulinung, Kui, Huage (Paiwan tribe), Saidu (Bunan tribe) and Ician (Pangcah tribe) all held hands at the front, introduced themselves and shared a joyful song and a story of traveling to the Philippines for a culture exchange with indigenous tribes there. It was evident throughout their performance that their confidence and pride came from sharing stories from their culture and their lives. They have found kinship in the Taiwanese community and in the new connections they made in the Philippines.
Most of all, communities offer what anyone hoping to grow more confident seeks: safety. Lizzie took to the stage and encouraged audience members to share their positivity. “I feel we are this room to be connected to each other.” So, under Lizzie’s guidance, we “shared [our] positive energy” with the people next to us. We shook hands, hugged, and introduced ourselves. Then we all sat down, feeling a little more at home.
At the Red Room, we are always happy to share. Everyone gives a little; no one is alone. So if you ever need a little confidence, feel free to come to the Red Room’s new location at the Taipei Airbase, share your creativity and know the Red Room will always support you.
by Leah List
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