Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bye Bye Blackbird + All the Things

I did it! After putting it off for so long despite my vocal instructor trying to give me every pep talk in the world, I finally sang jazz at a jam session again!

The illustrious Scott Gwinnell (see my MDJW experience) started hosting a Sunday night jam session at the Jazz Cafe at Music Hall last week. I heard about it, was on a high from praying and singing at church today, and I felt bold enough to go so I went. Tip: earphones IN, volume UP.

This is my first time performing in five months. I always do this to myself. Before the last time it'd been two months. Before that, it'd been three months. Before that, two months. Before that, 10 months. Before that, two months. Before that, two years. What happens is I perform, and then I terrify myself out of doing it again. Ok, I did alright this time, but next time I might not be so lucky. What if next time is the time that I really mess up? Then everyone will know I'm a fraud. Ok then, so I just won't bother wasting my time because I don't want to humiliate myself and I don't want everyone to know I'm a fraud. Problem solved. But then I start to feel crappy after not singing for so long, and  I've hyped the moment up in my mind so much that the first time back is overwhelmingly and unnecessarily stressful. Like tonight was.

My pole/twerk instructor Kamilah calls it the Bad Habit Monster, and I call it Carrie's mom. You know, from the '70s horror flick Carrie? With pretty much everything I care about doing or want to challenge myself with, before I can get too deep into it or share it with people there's a voice (more like a sensation, I promise I don't hear voices) that goes off in my head warning and taunting me, "They're all gonna laugh at you! They're all gonna laugh at you!" And I panic, shut down, sit down hard on whatever I've got brewing, and retreat into hiding. But I don't want to be my own Carrie's mom anymore. I got to the jam session this evening and was still nauseatingly nervous once I'd signed in, sat down, and waited my turn. And I told myself, it's absurd that anyone would laugh at me here. But even if they do laugh at me, at least I was there to hear it. At least I showed up. So even though I did my thing and it wasn't 100%, I was just proud of myself for coming through and proving myself wrong. I overcame one of my fears today, plus I met a 2016 goal ahead of schedule (one of my 3-month goals was to start performing again; I had until the end of March). That's good enough for me. For now.

One of my besties Diamond came with me as moral support and to have a good time at my expense. She calmed me down, recorded these videos, told me to sing louder next time, sat with me as we enjoyed the other performances, insisted on this bathroom selfie, and then had us go to Steak 'n Shake where she cracked me up convincing me that Gremlins and Furbies are cousins. 'Twas such a fun night thanks to her.

Thanks to Scott Gwinnell for creating space for young'uns and newbies in the jazz scene to learn and explore. Thanks to Diamond for her support and silliness. Thanks to my vocal instructor DL for patiently nudging me. Hopefully this Sunday thing will be a way for me to build confidence through consistency.

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