So I’m in this class, Expand Your Expression, to learn how to rap. We’re in week three and my progress is slow. This week, our fantastic teacher, Kiyoshi invited improv wunderkind Adam Rudder in to teach us techniques that help with stage presence. Soooo good, and also, a gut punch.
I’m free in lots of ways, but not all ways.
When it comes to freestyling, my brain is like a stunned fly hit by one of those electric swatters. My singing voice is, ahem, limited. And I let it all rip last night.
The humbling experience reminded me that the price of being a fully expressed human requires a willingness to be vulnerable even with (especially with?) the stuff that doesn’t come so easily. That includes exposing and celebrating these parts that we feel ashamed of instead of allowing them to keep us small.
I let my shame keep me small for a very, very long time.
For so long, I believed I was so very very tiny.
I’ve also peeled many layers of this onion.
I didn’t expect singing to still be one of “those things” and yet, there it was.
Here’s what I heard while I was doing it:
You can’t sing. You can barely keep a tune. You look like an a-hole. All of it, right there beneath the surface.
In my mind, I knew what time it was. But my body hasn’t forgotten those old well-worn grooves.
The old me might have made an excuse not to show up to class next week, but that would be giving in. F that. Instead, I’m going for the opposite action: sharing this with you, and gently reminding my animal body that it’s not gonna die or get kicked out of the tribe for showing its soft underbelly.
This tension between knowing what I want and acquiring the skills I need to get there is real. And I kind of love it. I’m breaking up the fascia, getting to the meat.
Today, I have a vulnerability hangover. I’m feeling it again, posting this. I take this as a good sign. A vulnerability hangover shows up when we’ve put ourselves out there. It’s uncomfortable, and a sign that we are growing.
Maybe I can’t sing. So what? I’m learning. I’m playing. And I’m still worthy of all the love whether I’m good at something or not– just like you.
Keep putting yourself out there. And by “there” I don’t necessarily mean here on social media, but outside Ye Zone of Comforte. I dare you to try something new and scary. And pretty please tell me about it. Encouragement is love with an engine.