February 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

For almost a decade, I was in a choir.


Image//Edited by ThisChickadee

As soon as I could, as a little third grader, I joined my elementary school chorus and was on my way to long, faded navy skirts from years’ past and white collared shirts with bow-like neckties.

It was clearly not a fashion show.

And boy- I loved to sing.  Something in me connected with music in a special way, as a part of the collective making a big, beautiful sound. It quieted the noisy boys and focused the chatty girls and together we would just…sing.

Some of my fondest memories are from those years. I can still rememeber special moments that gave me goosebumps, where everyone forgot about being perfect and instead was taken away by the music.  And at the end of the song or performance we all breathed, “Yes. That.”

My choir director, Mrs. Cooper, was always pulling more out of us. She emphasized the power of the diaphram, always wanting us to dig a little deeper, hold the note a little longer, give a little more.  It took guts, literally, to engage that source of power and once we thought about it and did it, it felt like we were singing from our very core. You could almost say we were sending something very important, our best, out to be heard. There was no feeling like it.

Still, to this day, I know when my diaphram is engaged and when it’s not.  I can tell if I’m giving my all to a hymn or song on the radio and when I’m only partially singing along.

But here’s the thing.

I want to live the way Mrs. Cooper would tell me to sing.  Yes, this could mean a lot of things, but specifically I want to write like it’s coming from my very core, engaging muscles I didn’t know existed and pushing myself to find my true voice, to produce something I can truly be proud of. But it’s scary.

In singing, once you’ve let it out, for better or for worse, you are committed. No editing it, freshening it or deleting the sound once you’ve sung it. No back-tracking and explaining or apologizing.  It is sung. It’s a bit different in writing, with “delete” buttons and drafts. But the same fears exist in both the sung and written word.

It is easy to let fear keep you quiet in singing.  Fear of falling short of the note or missing the mark entirely makes you want to whisper. Instead, I want to engage my gut in my writing and feel proud of what I put out there- my best.  Not just what I thought people wanted to hear. I want to use that “delete” button less.

Just like in singing, where you can’t run from the note but towards it, I have to find the courage to run towards those words and trust my voice.

But it takes guts. And in the end, I want to breathe, “Yes. That.”

What do you want to run toward?


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