Have you ever really considered what it means to be brave?
For so long, I considered bravery to be the antithesis to vulnerability. If you were brave, it was because you were strong.
I’m the kind of person who can get on stage and make a complete fool of herself at karaoke five nights a week without batting an eye–I’m shameless when you hand me a microphone and a back up track.
But when it comes to braving the world with lyrics of my own–well, that’s vulnerability. That’s something to fear…right?
One of my biggest stressors in life is being brave enough to ask for and accept help when I need it. Verbalizing my needs to the people closest to me in any situation (outside of, say, getting hit by a car) is a very, very scary and stressful task for me.
In conversation, recently, I’ve come to hear others suggest the same idea: being brave means having a lack of vulnerability. Being strong is showing the world that you can’t be broken because you’re made of stone.
But then I look at something like this blog, which is, for all intents and purposes, my version of writing the lyrics and getting up on stage to sing, and I realize that my biggest strength, my moment of bravery, is that vulnerability.
It’s been so long since I’ve consciously made an effort to sing–since I’ve even downloaded my music onto my iPhone–that when I started singing again, it was like opening up the flood gates. As a performer,* singing always gave me an out for expressing my emotions without having to write or say the words themselves. I could cry, scream, whisper, beg, love, laugh–anything, so long as it was already written and set to music. It was my permission to express the pent up emotions that I was afraid to express on my own.
All of these memories and feelings came rushing back, especially with my choice of artist today: Sara Bareilles. I have a lot of history wrapped up in her songs (including pieces of my first relapse with ED), so revisiting her music was pretty powerful. It made me realize just how far I’ve come in my journey–and how far I still need to go.
But it takes a lot of bravery to admit that…and a lot of bravery to accept the fact that not only do I need to keep singing, but I also need to do the work to start writing my own “lyrics” in order to keep growing.
Heart Rate Variability:
Fact: no one writes a bridge like Sara Bareilles.
Yesterday, I rocked out in my car with the windows rolled down. At a red light, in the middle of King of Anything, some jerk started mocking me by mouthing the words and pretending to sing. The problem is…you can’t shame the shameless. I turned the music up and sang louder.
– Little Black Dress
– Let the Rain
– King of Anything
– Love Song
October 2 was another tough day. After a night of zero sleep, getting out of bed to face the day was tough. But I powered through, and singing in the evening really helped me reset.
I think Sara had the perfect reminder for me today–more reason to keep on singing and stop holding onto emotions without expressing how I’m really feeling or asking for the things I need:
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave
I didn’t have a problem with the dude who was grilling me from the front seat of his car, but I know I still have work to do when it comes to saying what needs to be said to the people who feature more prominently in my own life…maybe it’s time to deal with stress head on and “let the words fall out” as effortlessly as song lyrics.
Does singing make you feel more confident? Are you the “shameless” type who likes to sing in public? What do you do to feel more confident in your own life?