I love this picture! It says so much about the moment. Mouth agape in joyful song. Warm little fingers snaking in and out of one another with nerves. It is a full out, full on best effort of weeks of practice.
In the audience are family and friends, lips silently moving to the words, their smiling eyes aglow behind hoisted recording devices..... pure bliss and wonder where the world seems to stop moving and nothing seems important but the moment.
When we are young....we all love to sing and dance and perform. Our families all clap and tell us how good we are and we feel great. But at some point.....most of us stop singing and dancing. Kids start by acting shy, singing softly in school, standing on the sidelines when others dance. Someone has either told them they are not any good --or they have somehow observed people that they feel are better than they are and have become embarrassed to do what at one point brought them such a sense of joy and expression for fear of ridicule.
In my search for what brings me joy, and my attempts to bring more of that into my life, I am taking a Latin line dance class. It has a bit of ballroom, burlesque, Latin and once a week I don my heels and try to get every thing out of the class that I can! Arms extended, hips swinging, toes pointed. I have always loved to dance and with choosing to be socially isolated most of my life---have not had weddings, parties, stags and does to go to --so my dancing at the bars days ended in my early 30's (yes I pushed it that long....) Dancing brings me joy. I am a good dancer. The energy flow from dancing connects me to the universe. It is powerful mojo for me.
When I was in elementary school we had choir from kindergarten to grade 8. That was the only music program available to us so EVERYONE sang. While I certainly recognized I was not going to make a career of singing. I felt I had a lovely alto voice and with a drive to get A's---I always sang in class much like the little boy above. I even did a couple musicals at school--smaller parts but still--there was singing!
By high school a few people had suggested that if I liked music I should try band. I took the hint and had a five year, happy and solid, relationship with a trumpet. Being part of a band was an amazing experience--the power of your instrument blending with others to make something complex and complicated. I learned about the power of "the many". When plays came up at school I waited for the "non-musical" ones and was happily on stage again.
But I still love to sing! So--I sing in the car. Loud. My 8 year old and I sing together. He and I like the same music and we turn it up loud and he teaches me words and I teach him words. (Listening to your child sing the second verse of "The Lazy Song" will make your teeth grind---especially when it is recorded on a CD at a PD Day....)
The problem with car singing when you live in a big city is that you often, ---ok who am I kidding--always, get caught in traffic. This usually means facing forward, lips as still as possible---mumbling the words while perhaps --tapping your hand on your steering wheel.
But since I am trying to invite more joy in my life I am going to try something different. I am going to keep my music up and continue to sing along--no matter who is watching. Either they will think I am a crazy loon (will I ever see them again? Why do I allow their watching me crush my joy? Why am I worried what a stranger thinks of me?) OR they will smile and shake their head, (in which case I got them to smile--which is a good thing--especially when stuck in traffic!), OR they may just flip on their radio to see what amazing song is on that has me so joyful--and start singing along! Either way---it has nothing to do with me.
Me--I'll be singing by lungs out in my car--maybe not yet with the windows rolled down. One step at a time.