The years tick by; everything changes, and nothing changes.
I departed LJ for Twitter. Twitter drove me to Facebook. Facebook is driving me back to Twitter. I thought I'd stop by here and see what's going on. Catch me up.
You guys. I turn my back for a SECOND and suddenly most of my friend feed is just RSS from Merlin at Kung Fu Grippe? What happened around here?
Anyways, I've been thinking. There were two things I was always good at, two things that would consistently earn me praise from peers and teachers from middle school right through college. They were singing and writing. I didn't have to work too hard to be pretty good at either of those things.
I loved the singing. I was born with a decent ear and the ability to carry a tune. I didn't sing around the house, growing up; my parents didn't know I could sing until they saw me belting out "As Long As He Needs Me" when I was cast as Nancy in the middle school production of "Oliver!" I never took voice lessons, yet managed to make District and then All-State Chorus in high school. Did more school theatre, then community theatre. "See you on Broadway!" they wrote, in my senior yearbook. In college I took opera lessons, but that was mostly for the credit. I got an A. It was pretty effortless.
And then: stage fright. It came on kind of gradually, episodically. Sometimes I was okay, then sometimes I wasn't. The last time I sang in public I shook so badly that I couldn't control my voice, and I probably looked like I had a devastating medical condition. That was the end of singing in public, for me. Now I sing in the car.
The writing, though. I was a precocious kid and started reading very early. In elementary school they let me skip 2 grades in English class. I was on the staff of the high school school literary magazine, wrote for the newspaper, all that stuff. I went off to college and majored in creative writing, where I got consistently high marks and positive feedback from published authors whose work I respected. I got my degree, and I got an editorial job right out of school. After that, I got a job as a copywriter. Again, pretty effortless.
So what happened?
At some point I think I just decided I didn't have anything to say. I can sing, but I can't write songs. I can write words, but to what end? There are people who are better than me at both of those things. There are people who have something to say, people you want to listen to. Why would anyone want to listen to me? What do I have to contribute? I started to worry about what people thought. I worried about being judged. I'm sure that's also what was behind the stage fright.
The thing I lost along the way was the pleasure I took in the simple act of using my talents. That's the thing. That's what I miss. The singing and the writing were just part of who I was, who I am. Singing in the car is still fun, and it reminds me that I have a talent that's fun to use once in a while. It brings me back to that simple state when everything was effortless because I was just doing what I knew how to do. Not thinking too much about it.
I think livejournal was my writing version of "singing in the car." So maybe I should write here some more.
A good friend said this to me recently.
Might I hazard a suggestion? It might be something as simple as shedding. When the caterpillar builds its cocoon and begins its metamorphosis it is in a state where it's no longer a caterpillar and not yet a butterfly. It takes time for things to change and to learn to be your really true self. And when you're letting go of some of the protective "thick skin" you've used to keep others from hurting you over the years it can take a toll on your emotions. You can feel vulnerable and be much more apt to cry. It will all settle out eventually as you get used to yourself being different.
So, maybe I'm shedding.
This promises to be a year full of personal and professional upheaval for me, I wonder if I should catalogue it here.
Thanks to a short but surprisingly nightmarish course of Prednisone to treat a stubborn skin condition -- the prescription of which in the first place has stirred some controversy among my several different types of doctors -- I haven't slept more than a couple of hours for about the past 10 days. Last night I crashed at around 9pm, then awoke at 1am for what turned out to be most of the rest of the night. I grabbed a bowl of cereal but there was only a splash of milk left, so I supplemented with the cream I use for the coffee. Gross, I know, but. Then I watched something on tv that I don't even remember now, which should give you some indication of my fatigue level. I think it was something funny, but it may have been a reality show. I dozed off on the living room couch sometime around 5am, but remained partially aware of my surroundings, which is what Prednisone does. It's like having superpowers, but in a bad, ugly, nasty way. Through the fog of what little hard-won sleep I got, I clearly remember hearing the eerie choral rendition of Radiohead's "Creep" from the trailer for the film "The Social Network" playing on the tv, which I'd left on.
Here's another thing that Prednisone does: it makes you lose focus in the middle of a story, so that by the time you're halfway through you've completely forgotten what your point was going to be.
Anyway, here's a new band I'm listening to and loving: Slow Runner. Go listen to them (streaming player on the website) and tell me what you think of them in the comments, yes?
- Current Mood: mischievous