Singing For Me

I used to sing more.

When I lived in Northern California, before marriage and kids, I worked one day a week at a counseling agency where my commute was about 35 minutes each way, give or take.

Each Wednesday, after a leisurely morning of sleeping in, exercising, showering, eating, and catching up on stuff, I’d drive to work to see several evening clients.  I plugged in my ipod and chose from one of my many playlists.

And I’d sing.  I’d sing very loudly and with passion.  I’d try to hold the long notes and I remember the first time I successfully held that one note in that one Sara Bareilles song as long as she did.  There were a few times I sang so loud that I remember thinking I should scale it back or I wouldn’t have working vocal chords during my upcoming therapy sessions.

I’m actually a decent singer.  A little better than average, I’d say.  I was one of those kids who idolized the musical theater geeks but never had the ladyballs to join up, even for the backstage stuff.  I was in a dinky choir in middle school once.  I couldn’t read music (and still can’t) and didn’t know how to sing the harmony unless I heard someone sing it first.

Lately, with sadness, I’ve realized that I don’t sing very much anymore.

I don’t have a commute anymore.  When I’m in the car I’m rarely alone.  And when I’m “alone” at home, one or both of the kids are sleeping, so I can’t let loose there either.

Don’t get me wrong – I sing to my kids (when they let me).  But it’s not the same as singing for me.  Singing the songs that I want to sing, in the way I want to sing them.

There’s been a few times when I’ve been folding laundry upstairs and everyone else was downstairs and I put some music on my phone to sing to.  It felt nice.  More than nice, even.  When I’m out running (a loose term for what I actually do) I often can’t help myself and start singing half the lyrics, between gasps of breath and probably loudly and off-key since I can’t hear myself through my earphones.  I’ve forgotten how stress-relieving singing is for me.  It works my lungs, my diaphragm.  It makes my eyes water and my sinuses plug up with emotion (read: snot).  It calms me, makes me feel alive.

I was reminded of this because I’m reading a book: Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection.  In it, she has a chapter that mentions the importance of music, dancing, and singing in what she calls wholehearted living.  I want to be wholehearted.  I want to feel more carefree.  I want to carve out times and places where I can express myself in this way, like I used to.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs to sing to.


NaBloPoMo Day 2

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