I’m not really even sure how to relate this; or exactly what it is that I’m relating, but something really weird and wonderful happened last night and I need to talk about it.
The thing itself was a conversation between Dezz & myself with a man we’d just met at the gig we were playing for Bands For Brothers in Arms, a local charity group fundraising for veterans services. His name was Mark. He’s in his early 50’s, and he fucking LOVED us.
That’s always nice (and awkwardly embarrassing at times; I’m not always great at taking compliments) but the thing was more than just that. He SAW me. Like INto me. It kind of freaked me out to tell you the truth, but it was also fucking AWESOME.
The thing that he said that probably hit me the most was “You are a completely different person when you sing. You could be any age … 15-50.”
That’s absolutely how it feels.
It’s like a mild form of multiple personalities. The me I am when I’m out in the world is the usual me. Anxious me, insecure me. The me that chews over the shitty events of my past, the me that is nervous and unsure in the present, the me that worries about the future.
That’s the terrified me that picks up my ukulele, full of stage fright, and starts to sing. Sometimes, when I can’t seem to find and ride the energy of the room, I don’t manage to get past that me, and I find myself spectating from a corner of my brain; critically picking apart every aspect of my performance.
But, on the really good days, I start to sing, and I look across the room and I can see someone looking back at me, and I can FEEL this love – of the music, of their memories of that tune or the feelings the song invokes in them; and that terrified, anxious, worrisome me isn’t me anymore.
The other me is fearless. That’s the side of me that can stand and sing on a stage in my underwear, or post a photo of the handwritten lyrics I’ve JUST finished writing, or express my thoughts and opinions even when my audience might not agree with me. The me that’s brutally and publicly honest with myself, and willing to own my shit, without having to feel ashamed.
The me that, on my best days, I take out into the world to talk to people I don’t know, and give hugs to strangers, and to try to make new friends even though I’m still as awkward as a five year old and haven’t figured out any better method than coming right out and asking “Would you be my friend?”
I love fearless me. I try to love anxious me, too, since I somehow get the sense that’s one of the tricks to being fearless me more often. And right now I really love the shit out of Mark, for coming up and talking to me, and for being fearless enough to say a bunch of stuff that probably would sound really weird to most people, but said EXACTLY what I needed to hear at that moment.