Rise Up Singing

I’ve started singing again.

I don’t remember when I stopped singing, or why. Maybe there wasn’t a why.

Maybe there was just a loud child, whose parents had to make a specific dinner table rules prohibiting singing. Who wore out Disney cassette tapes and scratched grooves of clumsy enthusiasm into the best tracks on edutainment vinyl records.

And somehow that turned into a silent adult, whose throat shriveled up from stage fright when she tried to hum, even if there weren’t any other people around. Who bought a guitar but wouldn’t learn to play it, because the neighbors might hear. Who almost started shaking during a party game once, when the totally-lame “dare card” mandated singing two lines of a pop song.

I don’t know why I found music so mortifying for so long, or why it’s starting to come back. But it is. I catch myself singing while doing chores. Singing loud enough that the neighbors might hear me, maybe, if they happen to be really close to a window. And I mostly convince myself I don’t even care, and sing louder.

Okay, so I still roll up my windows at stoplights so pedestrians can’t overhear my serenades. But I leave those same windows down while I’m crooning and cruising the city streets. I belt it out in the shower, and hope my voice carries anonymously across the apartment pipes. I’ve tried once or twice to sing along to a song with somebody else in the room. It hasn’t worked yet – still quavery and hoarse from nerves – but I don’t feel like I have to change my name and move to Canada to avoid facing that person again.

This isn’t a story about a rock ‘n’ roll soul. I’ve done a lot of growing, in the past couple years. Without implying that it’s time to stop improving, it’s still safe to say: I like this version of me a lot. Metaphorically, there is some punk rock in a lot of things I do. A bit of glam pop. A lot of Americana. A sly nod to the blues. But this isn’t about the metaphors.

This is about somehow, slowly – without any when or why – starting to believe it really is okay to sing again.

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