back in high school, while listening to U2 in my boyfriend’s jeep and singing along (as we were prone to do) he asked me not to sing. i don’t remember the circumstances, i know there were no cell phones so it couldn’t be because he needed to grab a call. i think the intricate details were that my voice just wasn’t as good as his and he was bothered by it.
i didn’t sing out loud for years. it was embarrassing in the moment for sure, but hindsight being 20/20 and all, i believe that i took that seed, that idea that my voice made people want to stop hearing it, and tended it. after that i would open my mouth and lip sync rather than risk being heard and asked again to choose silence.
with turning forty and trying to pass along what i’ve learned in the years i’ve been given, i realize that the most important lesson is that you will hear a lot along the journey- good, bad and ugly- and the wisest is she who can discern which voices to let in. which words to plant in her heart and soul, and which to allow to float on the breeze from which it came.
it is okay to want someone to stop singing. good lawd we have three boisterous ladies we are trying to raise here and a solid majority of them are convinced that they should be pop stars so i have for sure asked people to take a breather on the vocal gymnastics. the crime wasn’t in the request, but instead in what i allowed that request to do to me.
i’m getting old. things i said i would never do i have done (nothing like kill somebody- just like leaning over to put my bra on). what i have learned is this: nobody is as harsh with me as i am with myself. sometimes protecting myself from a bully looks a lot like sticking up for myself against, well… myself.
i am not going to go audition for “the voice”, but i am going to sing because i love music something fierce. i am going to play my guitar and sing a little ditty because i can and it makes me smile and how else am i going to get my kids to eat their “no thank you bites” of the nasty food i slave over unless i make a catchy jingle about healthy food and how strong and awesome are those that partake of it.
every day you will get to choose whether you mold yourself into who the person you are with wants you to be or who you really are. my hope and prayer for you is that you choose each and every day to be more authentically yourself so that when someone asks you to be less “you”, you are able to giggle at the preposterous nature of the request and carry on. learn the bless your heart smile/ head tilt combo and bless them right on out of the role of a voice that sticks.