“Vulnerability is the path, courage is the light” ~ Brene Brown
It was a few days before my karaoke party. I had already made a declaration that I was NOT going to sing. This would be an opportunity for everyone else to sing. I sang at The WOW STAGE and was still recovering, so I had internally decided: let’s allow others to take the stage.
Friends that I confided this declaration to had understood both sides. They gave me permission to honor it at the same time encouraged me to be open minded and open hearted if I decided to sing. In this letter, I’m going to share what I ended up doing. I also want to speak to what Brene Brown refers to “how do you maintain courage to keep stepping into the arena” – even if it means you’ll likely be kicked around, criticized, etc.
Two things happened that helped me decide whether to sing or not to sing. The first thing actually happened before the party. My sister-in-law was practicing songs she wished to sing while I was prepping food and drinks. I remember witnessing the joy that was coming out of her and I was comforted by this knowing that I feel: music and song is a shortcut to joy, levity, healing. And singing is a birthright. I wish I could remember the exact song. I know it was an “oldie” “a classic” but suddenly I felt my body start to move and before I knew it, I was singing the song too. A smile ran across my face. The joy of song is contagious and spreads faster than a virus.
The second thing that helped me decide happened when I tried encourage other people to open up the evening. That decision was immediately met with everyone saying: “Oh no Jen, you have to open this up for us, you always get us started”. Which is true. The three other karaoke parties that I’ve hosted, I always opened up with a song that would get everyone in the mood to sing and dance. Songs like “Groove is in the Heart” by Dee-lite. My niece and I ended up opening up with Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond and the party was started.
So, I sang. Always with other people. But I sang. And it felt fun, amazing, RIGHT! I witnessed others sing and catch the joy bug and it was delightful, as the singer and the listener.
I’m still working on this, dear readers and listeners. In therapy, we are working on how to receive productive feedback and filter out what is not helpful. I’m listening to Daring Greatly by Brene Brown in audible, writing plenty of notes and taking her tips on ways to filter out attacks and remain open hearted.
I know in my heart of hearts that if I do not sing, I’ll be blocking my joy and purpose. I’ll be blocking my ability to help myself and others heal, learn, grow, connect, create and boldly follow their dreams. I’m committed to working through this fear of being vulnerable and I promise to help you do the same. That way, you too, can be connected to song, joy, your birthright to connect with music, regardless of what the inner and outer critics say.