In my neighborhood there’s this great little coffee house that’s my home away from home. It’s the place I go when I can’t stand being in my apartment another second, or the place I go when I need to get some work done without the mental distractions my home environment offers – phones, laundry, dishes etc.
On Monday nights in the summertime, they have a jam session on the patio called “Pick’in on the Patio.” It’s kind of an all-comers open microphone sort of thing, but there are definite regulars. Everyone is invited to chip in, and lots of people do.
I decided earlier this year that I needed to sing. Singing is great exercise for the lungs. Just look at Ashley, Candice and Crystal – I think singing has been respiratory therapy for all of them whether intended or not. Singing requires you to control your breathing and build your diaphragm muscles. The stronger your unaffected lung tissue and diaphragm, the better you’re able to cope with limited lung function.
Going to the gym is also great for this – and I’ve been doing that more too, although you’d think I’d start to show progress in my endurance and that doesn’t seem to be happening.
Singing, however, can be done anywhere, and when you live in an apartment with thin walls, anytime as long as you can do it softly.
So, I’ve been singing, and singing, and singing. I’m not a singer. I don’t have musical training. I just picked few songs from CDs I liked and started to try to learn them and mimic the singers.
I can’t claim that I’ve achieved a “voice” but as I did this the thought occurred that at some point I should stand up at Pick’in on the Patio and sing. Why let all this singing go to waste?
The problem is when you’re not a singer and you have no training, you’re unsure of how you really sound.
For several weeks I’ve gone to this event and either decided the other people were so good that they were way out of my league and I should keep my mouth shut, or on occasion a few folks have joined in with probably about as much experience or talent as I have, and sounded, well, not that great – and I thought, oh my, what if I sound like that?
As this dragged on I actually got to be afraid of standing up and singing, which of course, in Heatherland, meant I had to do it. I hate feeling afraid to do things and when I am, it becomes more about conquering the fear than about whatever the actual task is – and I’ve always thought that was a helpful thing about my personality. It’s what has given me the ability to do some of the things in life I found scary.
So, tonight, I finally did it. I think I sounded okay – not perfect as I was so nervous – but passable. And, most importantly, I conquered the fear. I did it.