Inside me was quite the contrary. Inside me, my stomach churned. Invisible fingers snaked through my chest, squeezing here and there as I tried to breathe. The cathedral ceilings -- were they getting closer to the floor?. Was the room suddenly quieter? At what point, exactly, had I decided that I could sing?
"Think of that place in the first song you always screw up," I heard a sneering voice whisper. The Committee had arrived: that group of voices who attack my confidence. Try to throw me off course. The internal voice bouncing in my head. I tried to fight back.
"Just breathe," I told myself. "Count to five through the nose, count to seven out the mouth." The Committee had other ideas. They raged on.
I often look at content of my life story as a narrative so predictable it would be a goldmine for Hallmark movie writers. As the main character of this narrative, the events of my plot have seemed to go in that cliche direction: leave unhealthy marriage, struggle as a single mom, find wonderful man who jumped on my crazy train to love me and my sons even with our overflowing baggage car. Yup, that about sums it up. Most days I look at life like a train of coincidences someone else imagined in which I just search for a place to jump on and start my real life. Even in this random plot event -- a gig at a winery -- that the mystery writer thought would add some excitement to the storyline, was going as expected. Nerves. Voices of dissent. Fear.
The guitar struck the chords that were my cue to sing and we were off. I would love to say that I had a sudden moment where I was enlightened by the realization that I HAD jumped into my life. That in the middle of singing "Rhiannon" I realized I had taken to my life like a bird in flight! When really, I was so nervous and stressed about remembering the details of my singing lessons and getting my timing right and hoping I hit those high notes correctly that it all pretty much passed me by.
At the end of my day yesterday, even after the compliments and the requests for future gigs that my mind cried "Success!", I still felt like an outsider peering through the picture window of my story. That was, until I opened my email and saw this: