I imagine that if I had said to people last year that things such as social distancing, not seeing friends and family, and having to wear masks every time you went out would become the norm, you would think I had just read a dystopian novel. For us creatives, this year has been tough. But for a creative who has Asperger’s syndrome, it has been especially difficult. However, this time has also given me a springboard to feel optimistic about 2021!

In some ways, the pandemic helped my creativity. For a university project, I had to co-write a song for a children’s musical theatre show. I was nervous about travelling to the performance venue, as a symptom of autism is feeling unable to travel to unfamiliar or far-away locations. However, because we ended up making the show from home, I was able to focus on songwriting, (which I had never done before) without having that anxiety. I am really proud to have contributed to that, and still sing it around my house, even all these months later!

I have also been reaching out to people online. Having Aspergers often makes it hard to know what to say to someone new for the first time in person, so this is often easier to do in a message, because you can take your time to compose an introduction without being worried about saying something wrong. By the time you get to either Zooming or meeting them, you skip that introduction stage that can be so nerve-wracking. This has enabled me to make friends that I have already shared great times with (My birthday zoom party was a highlight!), alongside starting to collaborate with a songwriter, putting lyrics and tracks to my own musical theatre script, which is really exciting!

Given how overwhelming building a friendship with new people can feel, it’s a monumental achievement once I get there. I had invited these new friends to a birthday meal on a Victoria line train carriage in Walthamstow. However, the pandemic has quite literally stopped that in its tracks! The feeling of being in limbo indefinitely has made me feel hopeless. I really wanted to be able to develop these friendships, meet up with the people to improve my face-to-face social skills, blast out ‘footsteps long ago’ in the student union bar, and collaborate on new work. However, I feel proud of my achievements and know that I will be able to do all of these things in good time. Given I had to wait throughout so many of my teenage years, I guess a few more months should be bearable!

As I look back on this, the most extraordinary of years, I say something I never thought I would when we were put into lockdown on March 23rd: Bring on the future!

Listen to Footsteps Long Ago>

Artist: Nathan Mann @NathanMann5

Lyrics: Euan Towner

Lyric Editor: Gareth White

Composer: Neil Carter

Share This

Join Wired4Music

Want to be the first to hear about London music events, projects and opportunities? Sign up to our network for free.

Sign-Up Free