I dreamed of being a singer since I was in the fourth grade. I listened to Tiffany’s album on repeat and learned the lyrics for every Beatles’ song I could find. I was a first soprano in the choir and would make up harmonies with Megan and Janine at recess in middle school.
In high school, a couple of my friends started bands, but I never quite felt cool enough to do that. There was one band of guys, who said that I could never be part of it, and another band of girls who were so quirky and expressive that my virgo heart burst with jealousy at their ability to just be themselves. I could never be that unique.
So I did my own thing and decided that I’d learn how to play the guitar. I taught myself to play on my dad’s banged-up Goya. It was a well-loved guitar with a deep orange sunburst finish. The scratches beneath the pick guard hinted at all-night sing-alongs and carefree times with friends.
I started learning out of an old songbook with a linen cover – Great Songs of the 60’s. Some of the pages were torn along the plastic binding, so I had to be careful as I flipped through its pages. I didn’t recognize all the songs, so I stuck to the simple ones. Mrs. Robinson, The Times They Are A Changing, Turn! Turn! Turn!, Both Sides Now (of course, I played a simplified guitar line that sounded nothing like the real version). I dreamed of becoming likethe legendary women I admired. Joni Mitchell. Grace Slick. Janis Joplin. Sinead O’Connor. They spoke to my soul and I longed to express myself as they did. I wanted to move people the way I felt moved, but I always felt like I never quite fit the bill. I was too ordinary. My voice was too “nice.” I considered taking up smoking so I could develop the raspiness I found so soulful when Janis belted out, “Cry, baby!” I mean, I would never have the guts to actually do that, but I certainly fantasized about it. I always wanted to be more badass than I was in real life.
I started writing music in the eleventh grade. Truth be told, it was pretty bad. The chord progressions and melodies were amateurish at best, but I really liked doing it anyway. As time went on, I performed cover songs in talent shows and sang my favourite tunes in my room all the time. Sometimes I would sit awkwardly on the bathroom counter, guitar perched on my knee, and sing out so loud…I loved the acoustics in there. For years, I wanted to perform, but I thought I wasn’t good enough. After all, I had no formal training and my guitar skills were basic at best. I didn’t want to embarrass myself, or be found out as the beginner that I was. Part of me illogically believed that someone would just discover me and I’d be off to the races. Keep in mind, there was no YouTube in those days, so the chances of that happening were less than slim. I kept writing and singing as a hobby, secretly hoping I’d miraculously make it big.
Then I finally took the plunge. Interestingly, I didn’t work up the nerve until I was in a really bad place. When I was 23, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. It hit me so hard that I ended up on short-term wellness leave from my corporate job. I felt paralyzed, completely stuck. It was so hard to find the motivation to do anything.
In an effort to get some momentum going, I decided to focus on two-minute tasks. Each day, I asked myself what one thing I could do in two minutes or less that would make a difference in my life. That’s when I booked my first gig. I thought it would be so hard! I thought I would have to prove my worth, show a dedicated fan base, or have an impressive demo. But I had played an open mic night at Free Times Cafe once or twice, so the booking agent already knew what to expect from me. So I called him and he booked me – simple as that. It literally took me two minutes, and I had a gig. I had a gig! This was big. Generic Levitra (Vardenafil) from https://www.caladrius.com/levitra/ brand Levitra equivalent.
We often think that we’ll get around to doing what we love when everything else is sorted out and perfect. But when we put off until tomorrow what could bring us joy today, we are resigning ourselves to feeling “fine” when we could choose to be energized by our own joy. And a funny thing happens when we do what we love first. We’ve got energy for all the other stuff, we feel less resentful about it, and it falls into place just a little more easily.
This dream was special to me. I was told it was frivolous. It wasn’t practical. Nothing would come of it. Singers are a dime a dozen. Why bother? Nevertheless, I persisted. I sang my heart out, sharing songs I wrote with a room full of friends and strangers. Maybe they would hate me. Maybe I would forget the lyrics or mess up the chords. Maybe I did both those things, but the truth is that I don’t remember that now. I just remember how amazing it felt.
It was then and there that I learned that the fulfillment that comes from following my desires gives me life like nothing else. I live for that shit – the self-expression, the risk, the doing it anyway with butterflies in your stomach and your very soul on the line.
When we feel called to show up, we owe it to ourselves to follow through. Not because it makes sense. Not because it’s going to lead somewhere in three easy steps. But because that’s what really living feels like.
The satisfaction didn’t come from the applause or the approval (though those were wonderful for my ego, and they definitely made me smile). It came from being myself, deciding what I value, and doing what I love. That day, I learned that as terrifying as it may be, I just had to follow my desire. Now, I give myself the space to explore what lights me up. I don’t turn down the volume on my dreams just because they seem impractical or because other people don’t get it. I give myself permission to go for what I love. I hope you give yourself that gift, too.
What dreams are you putting on the back-burner because they seem impractical? What used to bring you joy that you don’t give yourself the time to do anymore? What two-minute task might make a real difference for you?
I’d love to help you explore these questions. In fact, I’m on a mission to help 100 women reclaim their time and energy so they can have more fulfilling moments. I’d like to invite you to book a free 30-minute call with me here. I promise, I won’t try to sell you anything 😉 Hope to talk to you soon!