There has been a lot of talk over the past few years concerning equal rights and equal treatment under the law for many different groups of individuals. If we look at history, every movement eventually becomes law, and is slowly integrated within American culture, from women's rights, to the Civil Rights movement in the 60s, we have seen a lot of change, and for the good. One change that is beginning to creep into my personal life concerns what I do with my music, and my sentiments on the issue seem to go unshared by many. Again, looking back historically, artists, actors, musicians, and so on were not considered to be in the top tier of society by any means. The actors of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, in fact, were seen back then the same way we'd view say, a stripper today, and would choose to keep that part of their lives a secret just to save persecution and dis-entitlement. Artists in today's age are accepted and treated as equals, but some of us just don't think it our responsibility or obligation to "come out" as musicians, specifically me as a bassoonist.
There are many different phrases and terms used for people like me - discreet, down-low, and so on, but I don't care about the negative connotations they hold or what "out" musicians think of me. There's no shame in what I do, but I just like to consider myself someone who doesn't put all of his business out there. I mean, the fact that I'm a bassoonist isn't relative information to everyone in every situation, right? Everyone expresses themselves in some way - humans are expressive creatures. Whether you like to paint, write, dance, or if you're a teacher, lawyer, or doctor, we all do what we enjoy for our own enjoyment, not for anyone else. What does my being a musician have to do with anyone else?
Music isn't the only think I do, after all. When I'm working my part-time jobs, my purpose there is to do the work allotted to me and that's all. I really don't feel like being judged by people who have certain feelings against musicians, so I simply choose not to disclose that information, which is not to be considered shame or fear. The bassoon has nothing to do with, nor does it enhance my abilities to perform office tasks at Memphis City Schools and dispatch calls at the taxi company. Telling my co-workers that I'm a musician would simply make them put that in the forefront of their minds when they think of me. I'm a diverse person - why should I be defined by one part of my life?
I get especially aggravated at social gatherings and family events. To the people who choose to put all of their business out there, I say good for you, but what I do in my practice room is my business. Some people are just so nosy! On one occasion, a guy said to me "You look pretty artistic, like you could be a musician." His friend who was standing near by said, "Yeah, I agree! You must be a musicians or something. Do you play the guitar?" All I had to say was no. It wasn't a lie, because I really don't play the guitar. It's not my responsibility to tell him I'm a bassoonist just because he thinks I could be a musician, or made the assumption I play an instrument. I've even had family to nudgingly say, "So, when are you going to settle down in a nice profession? It seems like you do more than just work part-time office jobs". They probably knoI ignore it, because it's none of their business.
What the biggest challenge is though, is trying to keep it from Andy. Usually I have to wait until he goes to work, or goes to bed, to go and enjoy some time with my bassoon. He doesn't know, and it's not hurting him either. Sometime I feel I should tell him, but at the end of the day there's nothing wrong with the current situation. As soon as people hear "musician" they judge you, and I'm sure he would do the same. I think someone needs to make some sort of website where discreet musicians like me can meet and discuss discreet issues, and put away this mainstream idea of what I musician is. In the meantime, I'll live the way I'm living because I'm happy, and no one has to know. The way I play the bassoon couldn't possibly affect anyone, or bring joy to anyone, or teach anyone else about something they've never experienced, so this whole "coming out" thing is just silly, and not my obligation.