“I have been changed for good.” – For Good from Wicked
Stepping out of comfort and into discomfort. From “my element” into someone else’s. My element consists of regular conversations with a four-year-old, changing extremely rank smelling poopey diapers, preparing endless plates of pb&j, carrot sticks and yogurt. I wear many hats in my element. I am the mom, the wife, the neighbor, the piano player, the church musician, the chef, the baker, the housekeeper, the gardener, the personal shopper, launderer, and chauffeur. I am comfortable in my element. Yes, there are days when I sometimes dream about a different element or think about days past and wish I could be teleported for just a few brief moments. What I like about my element; however, is that it remains fairly consistent and I feel confident knowing I am good doing what I do (always with room for improvement, of course).
This element of mine was shaken up considerably Saturday night. I woke up Saturday feeling anxious and nervous, not able to eat much all day. This was somehow unfamiliar from the familiar nerves that accompanied my recital preparations of years ago. Perhaps because that was my element then – recitals and performances were my every day. The funny thing was I knew two truths on Saturday: I could sing and I could play piano. But for some reason, putting those two things together in a wine bar stripped me of all my confidence.
I still showed up that night; which is an accomplishment in itself, I suppose. I played. I sang. And regardless of how “comfortable” I looked or sounded, there was nothing comfortable about those first couple hours. It wasn’t until late in the evening when I decided to pull out some old “spirituals” that something changed. These are songs that tug at my being, harmonies that send chills down my toes and every musical inclination I have is pushed into overdrive and I feel like I am super woman! It is effortless. It is comfortable. It is me. And that’s when I realized all night I had been trying to be someone else: Eva Cassidy singing Fields Of Gold, Adele singing One And Only, the Broadway beauty singing Cole Porter. I tried so carefully to wear somebody else’s hat.
Yet another truth came to me on Saturday as I fell asleep: I can be authentically me; no need to wear someone else’s hat. A good lesson for all of us, I think. Some are fortunate to have learned this earlier in life, others are still coming to their own understanding. Me, I welcomed a new appreciation for this old phrase and it will hopefully only change me for the better.
Perhaps I’ll try this wine bar thing again someday. But one thing is certain: I will be playing plenty of spirituals. 🙂
I’m going back to my laundry and four-year-old conversation today. Excited for my cup of coffee and knitting! I love my element…