Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Living our Dreams

Last night I realized a life-long dream. For those who don't know me personally, I turned 60 in April. But ever since I was three or four years old, I've wanted to perform on stage. Like many little girls, I took ballet and tap-dancing lessons. But when a strange man molested me when I was seven, the dance lessons disappeared, along with any dreams of dancing, or singing, or doing anything creative. I shut down. If you are interested in more of that story, please visit my website, http://www.followingthewhispers.com/. There you will find an essay called "Frozen."

I didn't dance again until I was 16 and began folk dancing (cultural dances from countries around the world). That stopped when I married at 19. Didn't dance again till I was in my forties and met my current husband at the Albuquerque folkdance group. However, when I was 56, just after my graduation ceremony from college in 2005, my brand new Schwinn bicycle slid out from under me when I hit some gravel, and my right ankle shattered, fracturing in three places.

Laid up for almost a year, the depression nearly did me in. But one day a catalogue came in the mail, announcing continuing education classes. One of them was a singing class, something that had comforted me throughout a turbulent childhood. I signed up. It is a perfect example of the old saying, when one door closes, another opens.

Singing with the other members of the class wasn't a problem, but when I had to stand in front of anyone, my throat closed, my heart hammered inside my chest, and my voice came out cracked and off pitch, mostly because I could hardly breathe. For three years, I worked hard to overcome the old emotions and feelings that emerged when I become the center of attention.
I knew if I was going to publish my book, I would have to speak in front of audiences, and singing became my way to get comfortable being in the spotlight.

Last night my childhood dream came true. As part of an ensemble group that gives concerts at retirement communities, we performed for an audience of approximately 100 folks. In past programs, there was always one wrong note, or I couldn't put out enough energy to really do the song justice--something invariably happened to keep me from feeling good about what I was doing. Last night, however, I had a blast, and I could see that the audience received my song really well. They were smiling and mouthing the words, swaying in their seats, as I sang the song Doris Day made popular, "Everybody Loves a Lover." Google it if you don't know it.

No, it's not Broadway. And no, I won't become rich and famous singing and dancing. But I sure as heck had fun, and, I think, gave some pleasure to older folks who just don't get out to see shows anymore. I guess dreams don't really die. They may lie dormant, but somewhere deep inside, they are there, waiting.



Helen Ginger said...

You're amazing Karen. Really!

This hit home because just yesterday my son and I were in the car together & singing to a CD. We both said we'd like to take singing lessons - not to become real singers, but just to be able to sing along without sounding like cats howling. I never thought of a community college class!

Straight From Hel

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

What a great story and proof that it is never too late for our dreams to come true. Congratulations on your big achievement.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Karen Walker said...

Helen, That's great. I say, "Go for it!" We only live once.

Thanks, Jane. It felt wonderful!

Patricia Stoltey said...

What a great choice of songs to lift you and the audience up. And congratulations to you for challenging yourself. I really enjoyed reading this post.


Galen Kindley--Author said...

I could no more get up and sing before a crowd than I could walk around naked in Old Town. HA! Talk about a crime against humanity, both would qualify for that.

Nonetheless, you continue, time and again, to overcome the obstacles put before you and exceed your standards. How nice is that?? Good job.

Oh, ref software. Nothing really techie about it. If you know Word…you know the software. The download is free and uninstall is simple. I’m not trying to be pushy, though it kinda sounds like it, huh, just supportive and encouraging about something that works for me. Won’t work for everyone…so, just sayin… Okay, let me get outta here, too jabbery. No one likes a big mouth.

Best Regards, Galen.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

That's wonderful, Karen! I'm so glad it went so well and that you had such a great time, too.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Karen Walker said...

Galen, I love your "big mouth."
Glad you liked the story, Patricia.
Thanks, Elizabeth. It's a joy!

N A Sharpe said...

Karen I am so happy for you! That is awesome to live your dream like that. Kudos to you girl! Sounds like it was a wonderful evening for everyone.

Nancy, from Just a Thought…

Anonymous said...

Aw, this is so sweet!! So happy I read this post this morning.

Anonymous said...

Great post and inspirational for us all. One of my all time favorite songs is Leanne Rhimes (sp?) "I Hope You Dance." You know that one? Cuz you're living it. :)

The Old Silly from Free Spirit Blog

Lynnette Labelle said...

Hi, Karen. Check out the comment I left on Patricia's blog, if you want help growing your blog. http://patriciastoltey.blogspot.com/2009/06/painless-book-promotion-wishful.html?showComment=1244209102346#c2107558651441680566

Lynnette Labelle


Karen Walker said...

Thanks, Alexis.
Hi Marvin, Yes I know the song. Actually thought about singing it. Yes, I'm living it.
Lynette, will do.
Thanks, everyone.