I begin to write this after spending 15 minutes of the time I’ve allotted nervous, disengaged and gnawing at my piece of mind as well as my fingers. With my kitten trying negative techniques of scratching the couch and chewing on my papers to get attention I feel a rise in annoyance. The annoyance is more about my feeling of resistance to doing what I’ve planned this morning though. I’m feeling a little bit sad and a little bit lonely. I have a sense of longing to do nothing and lay in bed all day. Maybe I will another day. Hold an experiment in stillness with myself by planning nothing and allow for quiet.
Now I sit on my bed knees up with the blanket covering me and Swift, my kitten, has curled up in the little blanket fort under my knees. Let’s begin.
Last week I let go of an adventure writing idea that came to seem based in a selfish place. I decided to let it go and two days ago a quiet little thought cascaded gently into my mind as a petal dancing to the ground. The song between Between the Bars was that idea. Between the bars, a couple of the words came first but as I hummed them over again song became clearer. I was reminded of it and it was so appropriate for this time in my life. I decided I will sing it at a cafe tomorrow. The joy is in singing and feeling it. I will not be afraid.
To be clear, singing is something I’ve loved to do for a very long time. I remember singing and recording myself on cassette when I was six just enjoying myself, but at some point around that same time I also began to believe I wasn’t very good at singing. Singing has never left my life but it has also never flourished. I was trying to think of a time when I sang in public and nothing came to mind. Sure there have been happy birthday songs, singing with the radio, even karaoke. So I guess it’s not that I haven’t sung, what it is is that I have kept a block up. I’ve kept fear in my throat, only tried so hard, been quieter.
This song, Between the Bars, began to take shape in my understanding. I let myself explore the words, what they mean to me, how they feel. I bumped into the idea that I couldn’t bring these words off the page and into my mouth effectively but I left room for the song to marinade in my mind. I let the words sound like me. I lingered on the words and heard their tone. My voice opened and I felt free to sing fully.
I’ve been thinking about what the experience will be to sing in front of others in public for an open mic night. I sing because I love it. This song is where I’ve come from. I know I can sit on stage and sing it and that will be enough. I don’t have to search the room for approval. Though I seek to learn more, to sing alone on stage is enough for me now.
I will email the place I wish to sing at this afternoon. I have had thoughts about asking a neighbor or friend if they would like to play with me. Maybe I’ll sing alone, maybe someone there that night will play with me. I don’t feel fear of the unknown so much right now and I plan to stay with myself and address any fear that may come up. I plan to be calm and experience the moment, whatever happens.
I plan to post an update after the experience and video of myself singing. Is there anything you are trying out this week? I would love to learn about it in the comments.
I did it!