I feel like with this being me writing this it should read: "When I was nine, I went to see my first musical" but I am about to drop something big. Something so unexpected. Something so out of character. I went to see my first musical last week - and the grand old age of 31.
Growing up, although we weren't poverty stricken, we were a two-stripe Adidas kind of household. It never bothered me - we were taught the importance of money, budgeting and earning an income. It is something that has stuck with me. So, instead of spunking £50 plus for a ticket to London's West End before vino and a box of popcorn, I just always figured, I can do cinema, sweeties and a full fat coke for about £15.
All my life regarding all different musical theatre productions, I've heard the same line over and again "YOU will love it!", "How have YOU never seen a West End show?", and my favourite "You're lying". The lying one is my favourite reaction of them all. I would make up much better lies. I once in primary school created a whole story about how I went to Florida OVER A WEEKEND, met all the Power Rangers and got written letters from them all - all of which I forged.
As a post Edinburgh Fringe treat, I put myself on a comedy ban for one week. I went out dancing in Clapham with the gays and was VERY sick, I took some exercise classes, I embraced a day on the sofa with a facemask, pizza, too many Malteasers and started "How to Get Away with Murder". Then, I decided I wanted to fall back in love with London. I was going to date myself and get wooed by the Capital.
I decided to book a ticket and take myself on a hot date to London's West End. Kind of.
After little help from Facebook friends (if you ask what should be your first musical people have A LOT to say, they are still saying it even though it was weeks and weeks ago that I made that post), I decided on a classic - WICKED. Because Phantom was sold out.
I decided it was going to be a real treat. WE, and by we I mean me and all various incarnations of my personality, went for dinner, we got to the Apollo Victoria one-hour before as per the confirmation email.
For someone, who will happily be sick in a taxi, I am a stickler for most rules.
When I got there, I got my ticket, I felt strong and powerful, dating myself - and then I lost it. Just for a minute. Looking around at the families, the couples, the birthday dates. I felt really lonely - I was ready to leg it. This was not a place that embraced the single boy! I ordered myself a cider, one for the break and a big bag of Buttons. I tried to ring everyone and anyone to prove to the happy people that I have people too.
Then, I caught the eye of another theatre-goer. She was alone. So, I grabbed her. Not on the bottom but in a "what the fuck are we doing" kind of way - and she simply said "Wait, until you're out the other side, you're going to be glad no one else was there". Well, what kind of hippy dippy nonsense was that.
By the end of the show, I had had the best night. WICKED is absolutely the first musical anyone should do and as cheeseball-y as this sounds, I'm so glad I went alone. I got lost in it. I'd not felt like that in ages - full of magic. A bit more deluded - I came away believing I could sing and downloaded the soundtrack to lip-sync in the street to.
It was important for me to have fun, and to enjoy it on my own. We're often told that we need to be strong, independent, women - and I believe that but I also want a boyfriend. That night - I did not.
This was a small step for man, but a huge step for ME.
And two weeks later, I still feel empowered and that I can defy gravity.