In the most terrifying example of stretching my comfort zone I could think of, (you'd be proud, Justin Lee !)I am going to sing, LIVE! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaack! I recently witnessed someone perform open heart surgery on stage (metaphorically, of course!). I spent the next 3 days asking; "Why?! WHY??? Would someone do that to themselves?!”, to anyone who’d listen. I mean, REALLY!?? Clearly it was painful ... ... but also vulnerable, relatable, and compelling. And then I did the very next logical thing a human could do, to seek safety and connection ... ... and said "YES!" to next opportunity that answered to a 'dream' part of my self, that would otherwise never be!
And now I am about to find myself singing live for the first time ever in my life, with Verdon Vaillancourt accompanying me!!! I mean, who can say that their first time singing live, was with Vern Vaillancourt!? I am so lucky - Vern is awesome! He is totally going to hold my hand. Vern has been encouraging local artists, enabling the spread of good music, and making dreams come true in the music industry for a few decades now. So, come to think of it, there must be quite a few of you out there who have sang in my shoes - chime in! I would welcome shared stories. In the end, it will be a tiny thing that only a handful will bare witness to, but in daring to suck (and probably crying the first time) it will feel like the fucking Olympics, I am sure!
Hope I HAVE FUN! (This is my reminder!) And YOURS! What scary thing could YOU do (or have you done), that would make some dream version of yourself come to life? Who has lived experience to share? Another thing on my wish list is to play the drums. I had harboured a fantasy of learning from Peter Magill, via Zoom. Must revisit that, someday. My point is, you just never know what is coming next! Embracing your willingness to suck and do something that scares you, is a necessary obstacle between you and endless possibilities. Don't wait until you aren't afraid - that might never happen! My new buddy in The Raven and Republic last week taught me that, as he got up off his stool on his way up for a 3 minute stand-up comedy sketch at the end of an open mic music night. I watched him work through his pre-set jitters and asked him why on Earth he would do this to himself? His answer, "I am just a scared little boy inside all the time!" So, the implication was; if I am scared all the time anyway, I may as well do something really adventurous and cool! And in doing so repeatedly, I'll get better, and it will get easier. (I hope! That's what I took from it ...)
And at the same time as that lesson sank in, Vern sidled up to me on my barstool and asked if I was planning to sing - like that was a regular thing for me - something that I might feasibly do - which I guess in his world, it is.
I stammered and confessed to having a lounge-singing, drum-playing version of myself tucked away deep inside, but that I didn’t know the words to any songs! Well, Vern started knocking down my excuses left and right, pointing out that he had the lyrics to just about any song I might like to sing and would accompany me. And by the end of our conversation, it was a done deal for the following week. I have chosen to do Nathalie Merchant’s song, Wonder, because of Paul Delbrook. Paul sent me this video when I was in the Northeast Cancer Clinic, staying alone in the Daffodil Lodge under covid restrictions. I sang this song in the hallway. I sang it in the elevator. I sang it in the changeroom. It accompanied me in the empty kitchen, and the empty park across the street and was with as I went to sleep in my empty room. The lyrics and the triumphant imagery of the refrain buoyed my courage:
O, I believe Fate smiled and destiny Laughed as she came to my cradle Know this child will be able Laughed as my body she lifted Know this child will be gifted With love, with patience and with faith She'll make her way
“She’ll make her way!" I have needed reminding of that. Maybe you do, too?
You'll make your way!
Take a chance,