I seen this quote recently and it spoke volumes to me. Everything in my life changed, absolutely everything and yet here I am feeling more me than I ever did before. How does that even make any kind of sense? Yet it makes perfect sense. I’m still the woman I was before and yet I have emerged into a new me. I’m still emerging into a new me. I know we change as we grow, as we experience life, as life happens to us. Perhaps our values and our truth do not change, the core that is us as a person, that may bend and shape as we live through experiences and learn life lessons. But there is something about this emergence which has a feeling of this is the me I was always meant to be. That in turn makes me wonder if this new me was always hidden within, never daring to come out and in latter years when I was in my caring role, there was no time or space to come out.
I have a sense of freedom, a real sense of freedom that I’ve not experienced before. Sometimes this sense of freedom is scary; that protective wall of having someone to ask about decisions you are making, someone to check that you are not totally off the wall in your thinking or in what you are about to do. My parents were fabulous soundboards. Even if I still went off and did what I was going to do, it was very useful to bounce my ideas off them first and I would take their responses on board before I made the final decision. When I was making my decision about giving up work to care for them, I had a meeting with their Doctor and told him what I was thinking of doing and why. I’ll always remember him saying that he could see both Mom and Dad within me. Dad in weighing things up, deliberating and making decisions and Mom as this amazing, wild, spirited woman. I think that is the most wonderful thing anyone has ever said to me and I love that I have their traits. Without me knowing or realising, they instilled strength and independence into me and that undoubtedly has helped me through the past couple of years.
I do of course have himself to bounce my ideas off and he is very like Dad in his thinking. He is a very logical and analytical thinker where as I go with the inner voice and ‘it just is’ so as you can imagine we have some amusing conversations when I’m discussing plans with him. However, he will point things out to me that I may not have thought of and he would never try to prevent me carrying out what I want to do, he just wants to be sure I have thought it through. He can see the pre-carer me coming through and also this new free spirited, I want to try loads of things me that is emerging.
From school days there were always people saying I shouldn’t be singing and dancing around the place, I was too bubbly, I was wild, I wasn’t ladylike and I suppose the more you hear this the more you believe it. The negative words which affected my confidence for most of my life. Until you realise the issue isn’t with you, it’s with them. There’s a huge sense of freedom in this realisation and I have seen many a quote state that someone’s opinion of you has nothing to do with you but all to do with them. Sometimes I regret not having this new found confidence years ago but then again, perhaps now is my time to shine. Stay wild moonchild.
Last year I really pushed the comfort zone and did three Facebook live performances, two for thirty minutes and the final one for an hour. I was nervous, scared, excited, thrilled and I thoroughly enjoyed each one. I had between twenty and thirty people watching the lives and afterwards the saved videos had hundreds of views and such wonderful, encouraging comments. During the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 I regularly did a ‘Happy Monday’ chat on Instagram. I didn’t chat about anything in particular. A little like my blog, I would just chat away about whatever came to mind. Again, I would receive numerous messages telling me how I brightened up a day, or I made someone laugh or just that they enjoyed the chat as if I was just chatting away to them. All good, I was delighted and then it all stopped and I have no idea why. Was it because life started to open up again and there was less time spent at home? Why did I no longer have five minutes to chat, ten minutes to record myself singing a song and post it online? Or did I just stop believing in my ability to do these things?
I admit that the weight I gained over the last six months of last year did not help me with getting out there singing. I’m not a super confident person but I can blag it and appear confident and then I get into my stride and I’m ok. However I appear to have lost the ability to even blag it. As you may have read from previous posts I have taken my diet and fitness in hand and I’m getting there. I have so many plans in my head for the things I want to do yet I always find an excuse not to do them. My hair isn’t done or I’m not wearing make up so I won’t sing into the phone. That didn’t stop me in 2020, I just did it. I have my self penned songs recorded and I have chosen one to release as a single. I want to get some professional photos done for the single artwork and just to put out there to promote my music. I have researched photographers, video makers, music aggregators and music licencing and yet I have done nothing about these things. I’m wondering what I am afraid of? I know this isn’t any easy profession and I know I have to work hard and I’m not afraid of that. I love singing and from the feedback I get, people love me to sing. I can visualise myself up there, on a stage singing my heart out and being so happy doing it, yet I’m scared to actually do it. Is it a case that I am more comfortable with the dream than actually making it happen? The thought of actually taking the steps to make this dream come true fills me with delight, excitement and sheer sparkle and yet that little voice of fear saying ‘what makes you think people want to see/hear/listen to you’ is getting more attention in my brain than the positive thoughts.
I really do want to sing it out with my whole heart and soul, I want my moment in the spotlight, I want to see and hear people singing and dancing along with me. I want to share my music, I want to give people happiness, a giggle and to make them feel good. So, I suppose I really do need to get out of my own way and make things happen. Ok world, get ready, I’m coming…
Recently I have read Blogs, Facebook posts and Tweets which all have a similar theme. Change. People are changing. People are swapping their day job, career, lifestyle in order to follow their dream, their passion, to follow what they feel within is their destiny. I felt in awe of these people. They weren’t randomly throwing caution to the wind and resigning right, left and centre. They had thought hard about this decision. Had followed up training courses, downsized their homes as they would no longer be earning as before and as well as feeling excited about the new page in their life, they felt scared too, which was also kind of exciting.
I started to think about me. My job, my hopes and dreams, my life. Other people were making the changes they wanted to, what was stopping me? And then the answer arrived. Me!!! I am stopping me. I’m in my comfort zone with my day job, I like it, I’d go as far as to say I enjoy it but do I still want to be doing it in five years time? Three years time? One year from now?
So, whilst I am in post operative recovery mode, I have a lot of thinking to do. What do I really want to do and how am I going to make this happen? I’m beginning to think this enforced rest has been sent to me in order to take time to reflect. There are some things about my life I cannot change but there are other aspects that I can change. I’m lacking in the confidence to spread my wings and fly some of those dreams for myself, and that needs to change.
Like most Country Music fans I love Dolly Parton. Her songs, her quotes, her style and her humour, to name but a few reasons why.
It has taken about 4 months but I have finally mastered singing ‘Why’d ja come in here looking like that”. I thought I’d never get there!! I just couldn’t get the lyrics to fit the music. The first few times I attempted to sing it I was out of breath in seconds. I started to wonder why I’d chosen such a difficult song. As the week’s went on and I still couldn’t sing it, I began to wonder if I ever would manage to sing it without keeling over and requiring medical attention and then one day… I just sang it. No breathlessness, no couldn’t get the words to fit the music, no incorrect key change…the girl had got it!!!
Picture via Pinterest
I’m still practising this fabulous song, I want to bring my own emotion to it, to live it when I sing it. If I just think of my own boyfriend in Cowboy boots that will inject the correct level of surprise into my voice.
I have two further Dolly songs on my list; “If I could fly” and “Better get to livin”. I find I am choosing songs which not only challenge my ability but which also have meaning for me.
My amazing vocal coach said that only a lack of self confidence and self belief would hold me back. If I am to make any kind of headway at all I must start to throw myself into this heart and soul. I am a confident person but I’m not good at self promotion. I believe God gave me a voice and now is my time to use this talent. I can do this!!!
Looking back on the last week that’s how life has felt, like I’ve been in a tailspin. I’ve felt tired, I’ve experienced feeling envious of other people’s lives, I’ve asked myself “why not me”? I’ve felt anxious to the point of feeling my heart beat pounding in my chest and telling myself to “get a grip”. I got up Wednesday morning unable to put weight on my right knee walking downstairs, today the pain has moved to the right hip!!! What is going on? This is not me?
A little time of silence and quiet thought made me think back over the past months and how a lot of what was my normal routine has changed completely. I am now responsible for my parents healthcare, wellbeing and that’s scary. I am now in charge of the home, I go to work, I’m trying to keep up with my studies and to follow my passion for singing along with finding time to see my lovely boyfriend and be in contact with my friends. Thank goodness for social media 😎
I’m not alone in this, I understand that people all over the world find themselves in the same situation as I am in. But it has taken my tailspin of last week to appreciate how lucky I am to be given the role of looking after my parents and all the other components of my life. Yes, it isn’t without stress but it is also an education, more life experience and a story of love in many guises.
I’ve realised too that by feeling unwell I need to pull myself together and start eating healthier more often. The breakfast smoothie is a winner but not if I spend the evening picking at chocolate and shortbread biscuits. I need to walk more. I need to lose that stone. I need to have more energy and feel better if I am to carry out my numerous roles properly.
I have three concerts/dances coming up in March and April, my favourite Irish country music stars will be visiting my city. I want to have the energy to sing and dance and immerse myself in the night out.
That’s an awful lot of wants and needs but you know what, it starts now. I truly believe there is nothing we can’t do if we set our minds to it. Mind over matter. Self belief. Self Confidence. Ignite the sparkle in your heart and soul and go for it ✨
Picture via Pinterest
I’m about to head off for a walk…thank you for reading my blog 💖