The most magical thing happened this afternoon.
I saw the beautiful Eliza Hull play at National Gallery of Victoria. So very talented.
Eliza did a half an hour set, and in it she played “Don’t Look Away” – the song she wrote about my life for The Canales Project. The song is about me finding pride despite the stares and comments; and encouraging people not to look away, but to say hello
Lots of families were in the audience. Just before Eliza began the song, a little girl saw me. She was apprehensive at first, but then spotted my shoes – which have sequins and rainbow soles. She came up to me and I showed her that the sequined change colour when she moves her hands over them.
And then, all through the song, I was happily distracted. The little girl was playing with my shoes – stroking the sequins; and also touching my legs.
It was an incredible experience – hearing Eliza sing about me knowing I was different at three years old, being bullied, and then finding myself when I moved to the city.
The little girl at my feet, she was two or three. She showed such loving curiosity and affection.
It made me teary. What a joyous full circle moment.
I went to talk to the little girl’s Mum after the set. She introduced herself – Kate – and her daughter – Dot. I said that I had taken a photo of her daughter playing with my shoes because it was such an amazing moment – especially considering the song’s content. and gave me permission to share the photo.
What an incredible honour – that Eliza has written this song and to connect with Dot. I’ll remember this moment forever. Thank you both.
Video: a slide show of a series of photos – Eliza and I looking at each other, hugging and smiling; Eliza and her band performing on a stage – the stained glass ceiling at the NGV is also in frame; a close up photo of the band on stage; a photo of my legs covered by a pastel check blanket, colourful sequin shoes poking out; a little girl about two or three playing with the shoes; the stained glass ceiling; me lying down and looking up at the ceiling smiling; Eliza and I looking at the camera laughing; Eliza and I looking at each other.
The music that’s playing is a small part of Don’t Look Away by Eliza Hull. Lyrics are “Moving away, moving on
She grew to love her skin. ‘I don’t want to look like anyone else. anymore’
Don’t look away, say hello
This is me, say hello