(me at South Station in Boston)
Earlier this week, I went to an open mic in Cambridge. I had been talking about going to this open mic for the longest time. But fear kept me from going. Being a mama, I can find many (justifiable) reasons—having children, being tired, not wanting to drive that much, to bail on my musical dreams. But fear kept me from going. Plain and simple. I realize now that all these reasons I use to keep me from stepping fully into my music and the path of being a singer/songwriter are based in fear. Fear is not something we like to be in touch with, which is why it sometimes manifests itself in ways that bring keeps us far away from the realization of our dreams. Procrastination, avoidance and sometimes envy are ways that fear shows its face in our creative lives. We fear the rejection of such a tender and precious part of ourselves.
On some level, this path requires that I be out, engaging the world and sharing my music. I love it actually, which is the paradox. The very thing I love can conjure up so much fear in me. So, I’m learning to move anyway. I'm learning to be aware that fear (not lack of talent or all the other critical things I sometimes say to myself) is keeping me from rehearsing or pursing a performance opportunity or writing a song with another artist. And when I bring awareness to it, I don’t have to be paralyzed by it. I can look at my fear (not with scorn—which is my unconscious response to it) and remind myself that I safe and that the fear will pass. And it does.
Another way I made a bold step through my fears was to begin busking. For those of you not familiar with the term, "busking" is simply street performing. You know those musicians you see singing or playing as walkers pass them by? Yes that’s what I'm doing. I am busking at the T stations around Boston (which I had to get a permit to do). I was so afraid of…well, I can’t really say. Maybe I was just afraid of being afraid and my fear causing me to mess up and people start booing me or something crazy like that. The stuff that usually never happens.
Once I set up, got my sound right, I started singing. Nothing earth shattering happened. I sang someone dropped a buck in my box, people began to turn around and just give a look or nod or slight smile, I was able to ease into it. I was able to relax into my songs and just be. In many ways, it was like wasn’t there, which is interesting. Once my sista, Nisha arrived with her Cajon, we were on fire!
The fear of what could happen (but didn’t) FAR outweighed what actually happened. I am learning to release expectations and be with what's happening. I know that some people have experiences with busking that aren’t as good. But for a first timer, it was very encouraging and I intend to go back next week and the following week. I don't know how it will turn out, but I'm going to show up. I’m going to sing. I’m going to share and I’m going to do and give my best. I’m going to keep moving forward, scared or not.
In what ways are you ready to leap in your own life? I hope to see you at the T!