When I was ten years old, my oldest sister got a record player. You know the kind that you could carry everywhere? Her's was blue and I wanted that thing...baaaaad.
Well, I wasn't allowed to touch it, according to my sister.
Every Saturday I would patiently wait for her to leave for baton lessons and then I would sneak into her room and put one of her most precious 45's on the turntable and sing as loud as I dared.
But it didn't stop there. I would dance. Oh, I would dance.
Sometimes my mother would give me permission to bring my sister's record player on to the front porch and I would give a show. Dancing, singing and
Dancing, singing, and skits. Yep. I was a triple threat at the age of ten.
My mother would sit on the steps shaking her head as she watched me shake my booty or pop up from behind the curtain for my latest performance. A smile always on her face.
When I turned twelve, I would stay after school once a week to have private singing lessons with the Choir Director, Miss Carol. She was awkward and gangly and I didn't care. She was teaching me how to SING!
It's all I wanted to do.
I sang so much and for so many events that my mother started sending me to music camps so I would keep getting better. I was even auditioning to enroll in a private music school, Interlochen, in Michigan. It was a big deal. But I didn't go...
Because that fateful day happened and singing became harder and harder to do.
By the time I hit college, I had given it up completely.
Something I loved, cherished, practiced was now gone.
Once and awhile it would simmer to the surface but I always had a really good reason NOT to sing.
In my twenties, I told myself it was too hard and I wasn't good enough anyway. Besides, I'd have to sing in smoky lounges and I would hate that.
(Don't remind me that I cocktail waitressed and bartended in smoky bars for that same decade.)
Singing was lost to me....
Until I started loving myself...
For no reason, I will find myself in the kitchen or taking a walk or grabbing a book off the shelf, and find myself humming a tune.
Sometimes I don't even know what the tune is. I will just be humming some random notes I've strung together.
Other times... I will break out in song singing lyrics I've completely made up.
Confession: I've even sang Karaoke with my good friend Orna Walters. We were belting, laughing and crying all at once. It was a blast.
Singing has become my benchmark of happiness. The more I find myself singing, the happier I know I am. It's almost as if singing is what naturally happens when I am on my Wheel of Freedom.
Singing is an act of self-love anchoring me back to the truth of who I am.
What is your "singing?"
What have you given up or told yourself you couldn't do anymore?
What joy have you been cutting yourself off from?
What could you add back into your life that would make you smile?
I've been thinking of adding voice lessons. Yikes!
I need your help. Tell me your favorite songs that inspire, motivate and just, darn it all, make you happy. Share them in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what songs make your day.