Conchita singing ‘This Is Me‘ in Berlin on New Year’s Eve, and why it’s so bloody important
And now we come to Conchita singing ‘This Is Me‘ in front of Berlin’s Brandenburger Tor on New Year’s Eve, and with an emotional performance that I knew, watching her, meant a lot more to her than just being able to sing it in front of that many folks. (Watch her performance in the video below)
Because ‘This Is Me‘ is Conchita, aka Tom Neuwirth’s, anthem song.
A song so perfect for a 29-year-old man dressed up as a bearded woman, who has experienced so much bigotry, homophobia and downright abuse over his still short life, most of the rest of us would have already broken down into dust if we had had to endure the same. (Yeah, I’m borrowing song lyrics here — sue me).
But instead, he (Neuwirth) spent his life not striking back at his abusers and trying to make them feel as small as they did to him.
Instead, that lovely man spent his time creating Conchita.
A woman who grew from a stage persona Neuwirth chose to hide behind so he could perform while using her as a shield to deflect the homophobic and bigoted attacks he was accustomed to, to a person who eventually became part of him.
And I know that is true as when I spent time talking with Tom Neuwirth a year ago, the first thing that struck me, other than that he is the loveliest man, was there really is little difference between him and Conchita.
Except she is larger than life, and more self-confident.
Which is also what I noticed when I watched Conchita sing ‘This Is Me‘ at the Berlin New Year celebrations.
The confidence. And the sheer force of will she emitted on that stage as she told the world ‘This Is Me‘, and I will be whoever the hell I want to be.
Look at her face and how she sings, and you will understand perfectly what this song is really about for her and why it should have been written for her — someone who has actually spent most of her life being told she’s not as good as everyone else.
Because ‘This Is Me‘ for Conchita is the anthem she always needed.
An anthem that is all about being proud of who she is. Standing up for herself, no matter what the idiots and bigots of the world may say, and believing she has as much right to be accepted, loved and treated with respect as anyone else. And it shows how she got there.
“I’m not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one will love you as you are”
Because those lyrics.., I have watched hundreds of hours of Conchita Wurst interviews, met her three times (well, her twice, him once), and I will guaranfuckingtee you, those lyrics describe exactly how that boy felt for much of his life. Knowing the people who hurt him were wrong, but still feeling somewhat ashamed of himself anyway.
After all, that is human nature, and that is what we all do when someone puts us down. Believe part of it, even when we know it is lies.
“Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me“
But watching Conchita so closely over the last four years, I have also seen her courage and self-respect grow to such an incredible extent due to the experiences she has had, it really is a hugely noticeable thing nowadays.
So when she sang that verse in Berlin last week, I knew she meant it.
Because, since Eurovision and all the changes that have happened to how she looks, how she behaves and who she is now, Conchita is not remotely scared to be seen, or making any apologies for who she is.
And she is damned well marching to her own drum as fast as she can march, and enjoying every bloody second of it.
Which is why I loved watching Conchita sing ‘This Is Me‘, her own personal anthem, in Berlin and why I think her version of the song is the most important and the most touching.
Because she is someone who has actually lived through the type of pain the ‘This Is Me‘ lyrics paint, and come out stronger for it at the other side.
“And I know that I deserve your love
There’s nothing I’m not worthy of”
All I can say to her as I watched Conchita up on that Berlin stage singing that glorious written-for-her anthem song and with those agonized emotions crossing her face — “Honey, while you always deserved more love than just about anyone and should never have had to put up with that much abuse, man, I am loving all that self-confidence and ridiculously huge power you’ve now got going on as a result of being so brave.”
Watch her below. She’s an absolute force to be reckoned with.
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