I was playing a show at my favorite club in Nashville. I was singing my ass off and the band was sounding great and everyone in the crowd had smiles on their faces. My new songs got great reactions and now I’m closing the show with a beautiful heartfelt version of “Over the Rainbow.” I hit the big money note with awesome power and emotion and this surge of goose bumps covers me from head to toe. I’m floating. And with this confidence I ease into the last line of the song with the worst possible note choice…and then I freeze…I can’t hear it…I panic…the song stops…I’m frozen…I can’t hear the note I need to sing…I fumble through an attempt to laugh at myself…blurt out randomness to finish the song…the audience claps…I say goodnight and I leave the stage trying not to show how embarrassed I am.
Just kidding this actually happened at my last show.
I stormed to the back of the club and karate kicked open the back door and let myself fall apart with huge angry tears hitting hard on the pavement. I paced back and forth trying to calm down cause I knew I needed to visit with folks and thank them for coming to see me. But what I really wanted to do was throw a tantrum like my 2 year old does every day. My mother–in–law appears around the corner with tears in her eyes. And all I could say was, “This is my nightmare!” and she responded, “but you took a big risk and that takes courage, courage I wish I had.”
I cried the whole way home. I asked a friend to take down the performance from her Facebook page. I was so mad at myself. I should have practiced more! I was completely deflated. I was grateful I had some work coming up but I ended up just having more vocal mishaps. I always get invited to be in the band for Dad and Amy’s Christmas shows they do every year at The Ryman. I never expect to sing a solo, and I rarely ask for one, but I always want one. Dad offered me the chance to sing Oh Holy Night and my excitement helped me deal with the horror I had lived the night before. Well my first attempt was not too impressive, and my second wasn’t any better. I was trying so hard and I missed the big note each time. Voice crack and all. More crying. The third attempt however I felt was a very strong performance. I felt like I truly did the song justice and I was so proud. I thought things would start to get better but then I came down with a cold and completely lost my voice. I couldn’t make a sound. Has anyone had to care for a 2 year old with no voice by the way? Let me tell you that it’s impossible. Anyways I ended up having to miss out on the last three Christmas shows and it was unbearable. I felt so defeated and useless. I felt so left out of this magical time of year with my road family. And i never got another chance to sing the crap out of Oh Holy Night.
So through all of this my poor husband has been putting up with my sulking and my sickness and he basically saved Christmas. He found all the last minute gifts we needed and he helped make it such a great day. Wyatt loved all his new toys and I couldn’t have written a better Christmas morning for us. Josh and I have had some nice heart to hearts while he’s been home over the holidays. His hope for me is to be happy and ENJOY this life as much as possible. And we want that for all our loved ones! How miserable is it to watch someone you love so much just constantly tear themselves into shreds. Well I’m just now realizing I do this way too much. He watches me beat myself up all the time because I usually see myself as a failure. I fail at singing, writing, parenting, and wife-ing. I have this desire to be amazing at everything I attempt. It’s just not realistic. So instead of trying extra hard to be better at all these roles his suggestion was to simply give myself a break. Take the pressure off. Don’t be perfect.
So today I thought I’d share my weird December with you as it comes to a close. I’m on the road with Amy doing a private gig in South Dakota. My voice is till struggling to make full recovery but I’m with my road family and I feel at home. I had all this free time to relax and sit at my computer. And this time I don’t have any guilt for being away. And as we approach this season of making resolutions and big goals I think I’m going to do the opposite. No resolutions for me except for one: I’m going to take it easy on myself. I’m not going to beat myself up when something doesn’t go to plan. When my 2 year old is being a butthead I won’t tell myself I’m a bad parent. Being a butthead is just his job (and he’s really good at it). I’m not going flip out when I sing a bad note because as it turns out people actually enjoy seeing the mistakes. Not because they want you to screw up, but because they enjoy seeing someone else be an actual human being. Besides, perfect is boring anyways.
I'll see you next year.