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

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Telling the Truth Tuesday - Screwing up and liking it

Each year, our folkdance community has a New Year's Eve party. It begins with a potluck followed by a Talent Show. We have quite a few talented children (singers, violin and piano players, as well a dancers). The adults are gifted as well. Me, not so much. I just love to sing. I can truthfully say I am not a great singer, or even a good singer. I'm okay. And that's truly all right with me.

This year, one of the singers in my trio (the group that performs at retirement communities) agreed to sing a duet with me at the Talent Show. She's an amazing singer and I was really looking forward to performing with her. The morning of 12/31, though, she called saying she couldn't make it--she'd thrown her back out.
I thought about how I'd feel not participating in the talent show versus singing a song I've sung a lot but never performed and hadn't practiced much at all. I decided to go for it.

Several lines into the song, I sang the wrong words. This is something that has never happened before. Lyrics are my thing. I remember the lyrics to thousands of songs. Singing off key, now that has happened before. I tried to keep going, but I was having trouble hearing the music, so I couldn't find my way back into the song. I laughed, shrugged my shoulders, and said, "I'm lost. Can't find my way back." Bowing at the waist, I said, "Thank you," and walked off the stage.

Even a few short months ago, I would have felt humiliated, mortified, and eternally embarrassed. It would have made me stop wanting to sing altogether. It would have ruined the rest of the evening. Instead, I laughed about it, but not laughing at myself. We are all human. Humans make mistakes. It's what we do.

You guys don't know me very well, so it's hard to express how monumental a shift this is for me, but trust me, it's huge. I am learning to acknowledge my successes AND my missteps without beating myself up.
As Lily Tomlin's Edith Ann would say, "And that's the truth."



Crystal Clear Proofing said...

Being able to laugh at ourselves and accepting that "things" happen, IS a huge thing! You handled that situation so well! Good for you, Karen!

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I love to laugh at myself and have others join in.

It's human to err...it's how we deal with it that makes the difference. You have grown in a positive way from this experience and I say, "Way to go Girl!!"

Tamika: said...

Praise the Lord! When we can laugh at our missteps that says a great deal about our maturity. Glad to hear you are growing in grace!

Cyndi said...

I can imagine how big of a shift this was because I know I would have felt humiliated, mortified, and eternally embarrassed, probably would have left and would never sing again. I am beyond impressed that you were able to shake it off and enjoy your evening and continue to sing. Incorrect lyrics or not, I say....BRAVO!

Helen Ginger said...

That is fabulous, Karen. I can imagine what a shift it is because it would be a huge one for me. I'm not there yet, though. Have I told you how much I love your new picture?

Straight From Hel

Patricia Stoltey said...

Finally learning to laugh at myself was a big change for me as well. Certainly has made life more fun.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think that's GREAT, Karen. And the best part is that it caused the *audience* to have a different reaction to the episode. If you'd been upset, then *they* would have been feeling upset for you. Your easy-going reaction made them feel relaxed and easy-going, too, I bet. And that's a great gift to give *them* as well as you!

This is something I'm planning on working on. I can definitely laugh at myself, but I'm more inclined to get really irritated with my shortcomings...

Mystery Writing is Murder

Simona44 said...

Did it help that most of the adult acts screwed up? Harlan and Lissa quit, and you couldn't hear Tom and me because I refused the microphone! The only adult acts that went over well were Dr Chuck,the Casino performance, and If I Had A Hammer. The kids did so much better than the adults. I'm so proud of them. The night had amazing spirit--such joy. It was ultimately wonderful. Talent-show screw-ups are forgotten.

Sally said...

Good for you! Being able to lighten up and not take yourself to seriously is a Gift....

Elspeth Antonelli said...

This is one of the bravest stories I've ever read. I've been on stage. Not singing, mind you. I can sing, and I always stay in key (having perfect pitch helps!. But I'm not confidant about my voice. At all. I had to sing a small song in a play I did years ago, and it was pure terror. Every night I was just relieved it was over and I could get on with the show.

I send you a standing ovation. With bouquets and bouquets of flowers. Well, well done. You stand 50 feet above the ground to me.


Tami Richards said...

So brave of you to perform in front of an audience. I can barely give a speach without feeling as though I'm going to pass out.