I sing. Yep, I open my mouth, form words, and say those words in the form of a tune. Sometimes I sing silly songs about my dog. Sometimes I sing the praises of broccoli. I sing when I clean, I sing when I paint the walls, I sing when I am in the car. I have a series of songs I sing to help my son work through a melt-down. I have a series of songs to sing to myself when I’m having my own melt-down too. My sister and I will sing together when we clean up after family dinners on Sunday. My mother and I will sing hymns together and “fix” them so they sound joyful and will raise the spirits instead of drag them down. I love to sing. I was born singing. I used to sing with a choir in high school. Anyone who has had to slog through years of social hell would know how miserable high school can be. I never quite figured out the secret to navigating those halls unscathed but I did have a couple of lifelines and choir was one of those. I loved the way a group of voices would combine into a piece of art. Each distinct sound would blend with others and create a fuller, more rich tone. We would sing for others and when we were on point, I loved to see how the audience would react. The faces of the masses would each tell their own story about how the music made them feel. I doubt many of the good folks I sang with knew just how much I needed to combine my instrument with theirs. I needed them to share their gift with me and they did, Monday through Friday for 50 minutes and during the occasional performance. I miss that.

As I mentioned in my initial post, I had lost myself. I went through life stashing little bits of myself away for safe keeping. Hiding the best and shiniest parts of myself so that I could force me to fit the mold I thought I needed to fit in. Like a squirrel, I hid all of my nuts so that when winter comes, I can uncover the cache and keep me fed until the sun warms the earth again. Like a squirrel, I have forgotten my many hiding places. Winter came, and it is a cold and harsh winter. All of those stores meant to keep me afloat are lost or buried so deeply, and under such hard and frozen ground, that it is taking a while for me to dig them out.

The one nut I kept close to me was my song. When I was completing a list of what in life has brought me joy (another bit of therapy homework, for those of you following along with my progress). This love of song was on my list. The only things missing were the way I felt when I watched faces transform as they truly hear the music, and the way I felt performing with others who shared a passion for song.

I wanted to get that feeling back – that feeling that I stashed away so very long ago.  I wanted the joy of combining and collaborating with others to create art with our voices. In an effort to recapture this long lost lifeline, I posted a plea to a Facebook page comprised of artists, performers, and misfit desert dancing folk (otherwise referred to as Burners). There was a quick response and a beautiful intention of banding together a trio of altos. It would have been like honey on hot, homemade bread. Funny thing about life… sometimes even the most beautiful of intentions don’t pan out. I waited at home on the night we had planned to make music, and no one came. I was disappointed and relieved at the same time. The thought of mixing with folks I only really knew in passing was terrifying and my anxiety was causing my world to implode. Yet the reality of missing out on an opportunity to add my song to another one was defeating.  Rejection, even the most unintentional sort, hurts.

A few weeks back, I had bumped into a banjo player I’ve been acquainted with through two very different social circles. Stepping outside of my safe space, I suggested that we get together and maybe try a couple of tunes. Last week, I hosted a late night jam session. Yesterday he hosted me. We sang covers of classics and I learned some of his songs. It was euphoric. We played with harmonies and melodies, tempos and keys. I sang and I laughed and we went off on tangents that may possibly become more musical creations. While nothing in this life is guaranteed, with the exception of death and taxes, there may be a stage in the future where I will stand and sing and watch the audience feel the music. This glimmer of a possibility is a bright one and this brings me joy.

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