You are Invited

Here I am attempting to sing some backup vocals at the conference I hosted earlier this month. (That’s my friend Ronnie on the left and our partner Shonna snuck away to snap this photo.) On this particular Saturday night, I had scheduled an 80s themed dance party and seven friends (including my guitarist husband) asked if they could play a few songs beforehand. They’re a group of people who see each other only occasionally and all enjoy making music together. Of course I wanted to give them the space to do what they love to do and share it with so many. So yes, yes, yes! Please do, I invited.

I arrived super late to their set after a full day of supervising the activity of 500 people. Quickly enough, my friends had pulled me to the microphone, saying, Sing with us! Well, shit, I thought. I don’t know these songs and I haven’t rehearsed at all. Worst of all: I don’t sing. Seriously, I really, honestly and truly make a point that no one ever hears the crackly, odd, seriously off-key sound that comes out of me. Me and musical notes do not mix. I can’t read music, I hate the sound of my voice, I’m embarrassed by the whole idea of anyone besides my forgiving kids listening to me sing. Or attempt to. I wanted to run away. I wanted to high tail it back to my room where I couldn’t be asked to participate again. I wanted to hide. I’m good at that; really good at finding ways to avoid being involved so I don’t get hurt, don’t risk too much, don’t look bad. It’s easy for me.

On top of that, one of my biggest super-powers is to decline if it isn’t my idea.  I’m good at offering, bad at accepting. It has to do with not taking too much, not taking up too much space, not taking advantage of. There’s a big, fat flaw in there, though, isn’t there? I’m missing out on what is genuinely and generously being given. I’m overlooking the flat-out truth of how much I am liked and loved. I’m creating a perception that I can be hurt by the very people who only want to have fun with me; not at my expense but with it.

This moment, though, something was different. This night I was feeling the love of all I had created around me. I was enveloped by friends. Support was in the air and I felt calmed by it.

I accepted the invitation.

I listened to that part of me that said, So what?  So what if I don’t sing well. So what if people think I can’t sing. I can’t! But I can have fun. I can be a part of something. I can play with my friends. I can try something new. I can smile and dance and relax. I can forget all of the work I’ve been carrying all day and release it through a spontaneous moment. I can share something that means so much to the people I care about. My kids can see me putting myself out there, way out of my comfort zone. My friends will know they can count on me. I will know that the sky won’t fall.

And I did it! I couldn’t hear myself because the music was so loud and at first that scared me so I was really quiet. I tried my best to keep up and faked it I guess for a bit. And all of a sudden it was fun! I was enjoying myself so much that it didn’t matter what I sounded like. My inner self was so happy that what was happening outside couldn’t change that.  In the moment, truly, directly, solidly in a single snippet of time, I got lost in the experience without judgement or concern. It was a beautiful late summer night under an inky sky, near kids splashing in a pool with friends sipping drinks and laughing together. Not at me, I’m sure, but it didn’t matter. It was a time when all was right in my world. It was vibrant and alive. It was literally pulsing with amps and drums!

It wasn’t planned. I simply accepted an invitation to join in. Easily I could have politely declined and my friends would have gone on to create the scene without me. Not much would have changed.

The difference? I had an opportunity to change. I had an opportunity to experience. I had an opportunity to participate. In my own life.

I said yes.

When someone posted this photo on facebook some of my family and old friends commented. They were surprised that I was singing and said complimentary things about how talented I am and is asking if there was anything I couldn’t do and telling me how proud they are of me. “how cool is that??? so talented and you know how to live life to the fullest! way to go…”

I replied, “My friends are very good at providing fun opportunities for me. ♥”

And it’s true. Instead of forging ahead as if only I can make life better and sweeter for myself I can take the support I am offered. Everywhere, all around me there are people who are inviting me to join the party. It doesn’t have to be a solo performance; in fact, there’s an entire orchestra playing along, in the background, providing the accompaniment.  It’s a diva who believes she can carry the show alone. It’s a critic who never wants to join the cast. Accept the mic, be willing to share it and step onto the stage.

I invite you to crank it to eleven. Will you accept?


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