I’ve read somewhere that being uncomfortable is a good thing, and it’s what you may often feel if you are pursuing your dreams. I think that I would take this feeling any day if it meant I was on my right path, even though I don’t particularly like being uncomfortable… But I get bored easily, so it may break up the monotony of daily life, even though it may be enticingly COMFORTABLE 😉
Last month, I had the opportunity to perform at The Bitter End. I’ve actually performed here before – at the NY Singer Songwriters Sessions – but that was years ago. And to be honest, I was pretty jittery about the whole thing! My stomach had little butterflies fluttering around in it in the days leading to the show. And yes, I’ve performed tons of times before, and sometimes for very large audiences. But if you are a performer and you haven’t performed for a bit of time, it’s almost as if you have to get reacquainted with being on stage again. Plus singing your own songs, for me, is another type of performing. It’s a little more exposing, more raw. And of course, singing at a well know venue and it being in NYC, plus not having a band with you, that adds another level of pressure!
A week before the gig I went to my voice lesson with my amazing teacher Tina. I was having trouble with the song I’d perform, my newest called “Shine”. First off, I wrote it in a range that would be challenging for me vocally, because I wanted to try to expand my musicianship. Second, I was doing it from memory and playing the piano has always made me more nervous than singing. So it was throwing me off a bit. I also am aware that a lot of my fears stem from my mind, rather than reality. Maybe a confidence issue. When Tina heard me she suggested I practice just the piano part, twice as slow. Just keep playing it over and over. So I went home, and did exactly that. Yes, it was a bit tedious, but I wanted to do everything I possibly could, to do my best.
On the day of the gig I was feeling nervous of course so I pulled out my journal and just wrote everything in me out. My form of a calming meditation. It helped, as journaling always helps. I realized the gig was not about me, but about sharing my music to whoever is listening. It was about getting my message out there, in the lyrics I wrote. It was about me just offering whatever I could, which that day happened to be in the form of a song.
On a normal day I usually pull a daily Tarot card, which may give me an idea for what the day may bring for me or a hint as to what I should be focusing on. And oftentimes it is frighteningly accurate. But today, no way. I wasn’t going to risk anything jading my day, in case I pulled an icky card like the 3 of Swords (a pic of a heart with 3 swords stabbed into it)! So I went onto reading the blogs I read daily. Somehow I was lead to reading an interview on an author of a Tarot book I really like. In the interview, the reader was prompted to pull out his/her deck of cards and ask it, “What is true about me that I did not know?” So I did.
I flipped over the 2 cards I’d selected, and they were The World and The Empress! And my eyes teared a bit because it was just what I needed to see, on the day I was feeling a little scared. And it made me feel like I was being told that I am the world, after all I’m a part of it and am always trying to contribute to it in the best way that I can, and that I am the empress, who is the epitome of femininity and creativity. I know the reason I got emotional was because I fail to see this in me, most of the time. And I’m so very hard on myself. Maybe I pulled those cards because maybe I’m the only one who doesn’t see the beauty in me. So I was lovingly told what I am.
This inspired me to go out there and to sing my song, and try to be my best self in spite of my fear. Music is a spiritual thing for me. It teaches me lessons, and it helps me to grow.
So I did go up there and did the best I could. My voice was a bit shaky and I didn’t do as well as I could have, but I offered what I could. And for that I was proud. And I was lucky. I got to be my best self while I was singing. And also, I’m happy because I know that the next time I won’t be as nervous, and I’ll get back into the performing groove again. I know I’ll get there because I’ve been there before, I used to be a natural performer. And PS – the piano part I played really well, so playing it over slowly over and over just like Tina told me to do, really paid off. And after the show she told me, “You made your teacher proud” ;D
My song “Shine”, is what I’m singing in the video below. It is the original slower version. The upbeat pro version is still being recorded in the studio. I hope you like it <3