As a serial excuse maker and a wannabe perfectionist, being comfortable with where I am at is easier said than done. Where I am currently at, is certainly not where I thought I would be! And owning that, has been hard.
But, I am learning to slow down, to love myself anyway, and to care less about what others think. THAT, is probably the hardest part, right there - I have been well-programed to people-please! I should probably go to people-pleasers anonymous! 😘 But, I have heard from older (or more centered) friends, that there is such great freedom on the other side of people-pleasing, that I stay in the game and I choose to believe that it's possible for me, too. What other choice do I have, really?🤔😉
So, I guess that this singing-at-an-open-mic-night thing is part of working towards that. I have carried a lot more show nerves into the podcast interviews and the video making for my courses than I thought I would. I thought it would be EASY! But, it has NOT been comfortable. This is part of getting over that. AND, I think it will be FUN! Right? I sure hope so! I have always loved the idea of singing with others - time to see what it takes …
Verdon Vaillancourt knows what it takes! I just came back from practicing with Vern. Turns out I am no natural!😬 I fumbled and stumbled and stretched my voice and cringed into the microphone. But the good news is that Vern doesn't believe in the concept of someone being 'a natural'. He claims that it is all a matter of putting in the time and practice, and I am with him on that one!
As a rider, I was declared a 'natural' talent, because I rode well at a young age and seemed to have something innate that we in the horse industry call 'feel'. But my whole reason for being right now, is dispelling that myth.
I don’t think it was something I was born with.
I think I just had the time and the opportunity. I had mentors to watch in action, whose body language, tone of voice and approach I emulated, and I had the most amazingly well-trained ponies and horses a person could learn from. I spent most of my time growing up on my parents’ farm, alone. There wasn't anything else that I was good at – I never played with balls or rackets or bicycles – and there wasn’t anything I liked as much as riding and being around horses, so that's what I did. And I did A LOT OF IT!
Around horses, there is also something to be said for the state of mind and spirit you show up in; with a sense of fun and appreciation, totally absorbed in the moment and with that childlike belief that anything is possible and that horses can read your mind. From there, new skills are easily absorbed, and things just seem to flow. You are ‘in the zone’! And from what Vern said, it is the same in music. Sometimes, he said, you just get 'in the zone' and everything flows so sweetly! You are 100 percent immersed, and the excitement is there, but without the company of fear. Things seem to happen organically between you and your friends on stage and you hit a real sweet spot!
Whether riding, or on stage, you can't hit the sweet spot without being present and unafraid of trying. I am learning what it takes to re-establish this mindset, after it was blown away by the winds of anxiety and shame. Standing up on stage is part of reclaiming that.
I hope I hit the sweet spot tonight! But since my hours of preparation can be counted on a few fingers, I’ll take what I get, be happy with where I am at, accept whatever sounds come out of me and believe that there is joy there to be found in singing, no matter how I sing. This, is where I am at.
Tonight, I'll be at the Raven and Republic in North Bay from 8-11. I hope you'll join me in person or in spirit!
Take a chance,