Francesca's story of belonging
We're continuing our stories of belonging as told to Pop Up Story Catcher Kirsten Fogg in June. Francesca is a singer-songwriter. Here she discusses the difference between support and belonging.
Recently I’ve been thinking support is what I’ve been seeking so when I saw this event and it was called the Big Day of Belonging I just thought I’d walk down even though I’m in the middle of painting my house. I thought I’m just going to go because if these are people who want to belong, I want to be there too.
I said I’d been thinking about support but the word 'support' is a bit specific, like you expect something from someone. Belonging is probably more what I’m seeking: I don’t want to feel so alone. I think that’s the word.
What I do in my life is create communities where people belong. I run a song-writing club with songwriters from all around the world and I put together concerts where they get to present new material and new work. I’m building a world choir project where I’m going to teach the world to sing all together.
I’m a musician, a singer-songwriter. I play piano and guitar, but even despite what I do — I’ll do a show and people will love it and they’ll come up and talk to me — it’s momentary, it doesn’t seem like a deeper connection. It’s deep in that I give them something and absolutely they give me something but it’s transient. I don’t know them. They don’t stay in my life necessarily. I’m also a teacher and I teach singers and I give in that part of myself.
But maybe this is just a whole different spiritual level that I’m just starting to tap into. It’s not on a human level. It’s on a spiritual level. It’s not fair to expect others to fill the hole. So it’s a very strange concept, belonging. You’ve got to feel it. No one can do it for you.
I stopped here because I just found that what you were doing, collecting stories of belonging, was confronting. And I didn’t want to walk away from that. Perhaps it triggered something and instead of shutting down I opened up to it?
I think by being in places like this, it’s a step forward for me. Attending anything that fits with how I value life is a step forward. Not doing the other: not going out or going to places where I know I won’t belong.
I work alone, I live alone, I paint alone. I’m trying to renovate a bathroom alone too! It’s just things like, I’ve got something heavy in my car that I need to lift to put on a shelf and I’ll just have to wait until somebody comes over and I can say please help me lift something heavy out of my car. It’s just stuck in the boot of my car in the meantime. Things like that symbolize so much.
I live in the inner city and I knocked on my neighbour’s door. They just moved in. Well let’s face it they moved in six months ago. But it’s a high-rise and we don’t often see each other. I knew they were in construction because I’d seen them in their uniforms before. So I knocked on the door and said I’ve just dropped a tile and could you give me an opinion on how I could put it back on. And they offered to come over and do it for me. First I thought Wow! Then as I spoke with him I learned that not only is he a plumber but he’s also this yoga teacher and does neurolinguistic programming and he’s this really spiritual guy. And I thought, If you don’t connect with people you don’t know what’s out there.
The word belonging had never been a word I considered before, so I’m going to consider it. The word is really strong.
Writer Out Of Residence & Pop Up Story Catcher