If I wasn't afraid...

I looked forward to it for months.  I practiced and did promotion for weeks.  I edited the set list for days.  I was excited and anxious and nervous and proud. 

When the night finally came, it felt like playing dress-up.  It was like “dress up as your truest self day.” I shared eighteen of my songs, and it was validating and fun. It felt like home! But then it was over…

During the first post-show days, I went into a bit of a funk.  That is part of my nature.  I also had a few personal revelations. I gained clarity.  I learned things about myself, and about this journey I am on.

Being a writer is solitary.  I get feedback from other people at times along the way, but I write alone, edit alone and practice alone.  I record with my producer Marc most of the time, and enjoy our friendship.  We laugh and collaborate, and we even came up with an ad campaign idea for the tea thermos I always carry around with me!  But, for the most part, this songwriter life of mine is solitary.  Until I get on the stage…

I deeply love connecting with the people in the room.  It feels like an intimate relationship.  I feel comfortable and at home on stage, and I enjoy the company.  It also feels like I am introducing my dear song friends to my dear personal friends.  It feeds the social being I am.  It feeds the part of me that I tend to starve.

I listened deeply to myself while I was in my post-show funk, and I heard echoes of my voice during the past many years saying over and over again that I didn’t want to be a touring musician.  (I have been saying that for a long time.)  I also heard an echo of a long ago question I was asked – “What would you do, if you were not afraid?”

Touring pokes at my fears: I am afraid of high-speed driving on roads I am not familiar with (and some that I am…) I am afraid of other people’s road rage, narcissism and impatience while driving.  I am afraid of being lost. I am afraid that my cats won’t be ok.

I like experiencing new things and places, but I am out of practice with traveling. I like my own bed. And, I don’t want to be out on the road alone.

There is a part of me that mostly shows up on stage. It even surprised my sister.  She hadn’t met that side of me.  I think part of the let down after the show was that I didn’t want to put that part away. 

I need to learn how to keep that piece of me active and fed.  I need to learn to not play dress-up, but to be the most authentic me all of the time.   I am learning…

I also remembered that most of the wonders of my life have occurred outside of my comfort zone.  I am up for it and afraid all at the same time.  I am not sure what is ahead.  That is true for all of us…

What would you do if you were not afraid?

6 comments

  • Leslie Joblin

    Leslie Joblin

    I often asked myself in my business life "who/what would I be if I were not afraid. Though the fear still grips me I feel purpose and also felt a different purpose in business though still purpose. I believe that fear will take hold as long as I entertain it. It diminishes when I trust. I long to trust more. Our authentic selves are available when ever we let them come out and play. Love ya

    I often asked myself in my business life "who/what would I be if I were not afraid. Though the fear still grips me I feel purpose and also felt a different purpose in business though still purpose. I believe that fear will take hold as long as I entertain it. It diminishes when I trust. I long to trust more. Our authentic selves are available when ever we let them come out and play.
    Love ya

  • Clara Bellino

    Clara Bellino

    Beautiful writing Denise, love your honesty, and feel similarly about being authentic everyday. You described very well going form the solitary to the stage connection...only because I have done that many times now can I remind myself in my fear that once there I know I will love it. What would I do if I were not afraid? I would stop stressing about how well I'm going to do at my CD release party..and fully believe at all times that I will be enough, that I deserve to play with the wonderful musicians I've assembled. I'd remember what I have to offer is plenty, and I'd stop thinking I'm missing something. Love, C.

    Beautiful writing Denise, love your honesty, and feel similarly about being authentic everyday. You described very well going form the solitary to the stage connection...only because I have done that many times now can I remind myself in my fear that once there I know I will love it. What would I do if I were not afraid? I would stop stressing about how well I'm going to do at my CD release party..and fully believe at all times that I will be enough, that I deserve to play with the wonderful musicians I've assembled. I'd remember what I have to offer is plenty, and I'd stop thinking I'm missing something. Love, C.

  • Mom

    Mom

    You are as good a writer in prose as you are a singer songwriter. Very impressive.

    You are as good a writer in prose as you are a singer songwriter. Very impressive.

  • Christine Winchester

    Christine Winchester

    I have had similar conversations with myself about touring and being a professional singer/songwriter. I had those conversations before Allison was born - now it's totally out of the question. But when I was considering it, I too felt reluctant to be away from home, sleep other places, drive long distances, for probably very little money. And, though it probably would have been with David, the lifestyle just didn't appeal to me. I succumbed to my desire to be a "homebody" and stay in my comfort zone. And now I look back and ask myself whether I should have pushed myself to do more with my music while I was younger, healthy and childless. You did a great job at the gig. All your preparation paid off big time.

    I have had similar conversations with myself about touring and being a professional singer/songwriter. I had those conversations before Allison was born - now it's totally out of the question. But when I was considering it, I too felt reluctant to be away from home, sleep other places, drive long distances, for probably very little money. And, though it probably would have been with David, the lifestyle just didn't appeal to me. I succumbed to my desire to be a "homebody" and stay in my comfort zone. And now I look back and ask myself whether I should have pushed myself to do more with my music while I was younger, healthy and childless.
    You did a great job at the gig. All your preparation paid off big time.

  • hillary mann

    hillary mann

    Not sure what I'd do if I werent afraid. Be in bliss maybe. Love the pine needles in the top story.

    Not sure what I'd do if I werent afraid. Be in bliss maybe. Love the pine needles in the top story.

  • Denise

    Denise

    Thanks Hillary!

    Thanks Hillary!

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