Unlike other performances,it isn’t unusual for me to look out on the audience and see eyes closed and/or tearfulness, usually during a ballad. I’ve often wondered if I was reaching them.
I always close these shows as a character I created based on a woman who used to come in to hear me sing on Rush Street in Chicago. (I hope to take and post a pic later.) She was a little worse for wear and had seen better days. Her name was Edna and she usually always wore a straw hat with flowers on it. She was very upbeat, while asking people if they were going to smoke their cigarette butts. She was only too glad to take them. Invariably of course someone offered her a couple fresh cigarettes and occasionally a drink. Sometimes she would discreetly snag a back table and listen to me sing.
It rained the night this pic was taken, thus my red fro!
more often than not, if the club owner spotted her he’d escort her out. She was harmless, and I found her to be very upbeat, charming and resourceful in her own way.
Evidently so does my audience. Edna is always the highlight of my show. I get the biggest kick out of being Edna because no one knows what’s going to come out of my mouth, least of all me. I often surprise myself. (It would be so much more fun if I could swear.)
In the front row, sat a rather frail looking woman seated by herself with a walker. I noticed her quietly tearful several times, but she didn’t seem upset. I felt bad until she came up to me afterwards and told me how much she loved the show.
“You made me you made me laugh and cry and laugh again! I just think you’re wonderful!”
“I’m sorry I made you cry. That isn’t my wish.”
“Oh no dear! These were good tears! Wonderful memories!”
I could see the joy in her face and I was immediately lit up. I had to ask…
“Can I give you a hug?”
“Of course!” As I embraced her she felt so delicate and frail but she was elated and so was I.
The next woman who came up to me said, “I am fifteen years old! Can you tell?”
I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this because she didn’t appear to have dementia.
As others came to greet me, she looked at them and repeated…
“I am fifteen years old! Can you see it in my face? Your show made me feel like a kid again!” It was hugs all around, as I spoke to so many afterwards.
When I used to sing in clubs years ago I was very shy about mingling with people between sets unless I had a drink. But I very rarely drank when performing.
When I’m on stage it’s like somebody else is does all the work. As goofy as it sounds, my muse takes over. I’m rarely happier or more my authentic self than when performing.
It’s like perfect sex with someone you love deeply. Your emotions are completely exposed, you’re on autopilot while being extremely present at the same time. It feels a little dangerous because you’re so vulnerable. But at the same time you’re subliminally aware of the importance of balance and give-and-take. When all those elements are in place, you’re comfortable taking yourself off autopilot long enough to try some aerobatics.
On the way to her office, the intern expressed how rare it was to see that kind of an impact on the audience. She also felt it was important for their well-being to be so charged up. I figured I was a shoo-in.
We arrive at the office where she wraps up a phone call. From across the room she blurts out “Thanks for coming today.”
“You told me to come back after the performance to book multiple dates.”
“Ya. I’m really booked up. Maybe call me in a month and we’ll see. ”
Where before, I felt light as a feather, I suddenly felt the gravity of every ounce of my own girth. My heart tanked.
As the intern walked me out during the awkward silence, she said, “I’m sure she’ll have you back.”
“Doesn’t look like it. But the seniors had a good time. And that’s what’s important.”
Stick a fork in me…I’M DONE!
The next day I find myself wallowing in a sea of negative self talk. Why is it so easy to accept a state of self-loathing and/or self-criticism? It must date back to Puritanism, and the bullshit “You’re not worthy” mentality of “No pain, No gain”. As though you have to torture yourself in order to be worthy of obtaining your desires.
IT’S TOTAL BULLSHIT!!!!!
Here was the loop that played in my head…
• She isn’t booking me because I’m too fat!
• I’m too old.
• My hair is too thin, I should start wearing wigs.
• I’ve aged 10 years in the last year. Nobody wants to look at that! I should probably be taking hormones, but I don’t have health insurance.
• My life is a clusterfuck!
• I’ve given up everything for this, including most of my friendships.
• What if I’m unable to start another business? What will I do with my life?
I don’t want to give up, but where do I go from here?
WHOA! WTF! SLOW DOWN MS. MISERY!
The next day I decided to drive my son to work which invariably leads to stopping by the lake way back.
Shortly after dropping him, I listen to The Secret on YouTube on my phone. By the time I hit the lakefront, I feel my spirit rising. I begin going through a list of all the things I’m grateful for, not the least of which is having the opportunity to drive Mike to work and stop by the lake.
I made up my mind to trade negative self talk for gratitude. By the time I arrive home, 40 minutes later, I’m in a Zen-like state.
HERE’S THE NEW LOOP IN MY HEAD…
• My music has nothing to do with my weight! I can and will get back into shape!
• They say “You’re as old as you feel”. I don’t feel even remotely close to my age! Every age test I’ve ever taken indicates that as well.
• I can take biotin or wear hats or wigs in the meantime!
• Those people that I thought were my friends, clearly were not my friends and I’m better off without them.
• Working out will take those years right off! It has before and it will again.
• Yes. You have a shitload of challenges. The key is to overcome them and NOT let them get in the way! KEEP MOVING FORWARD! (As Debbie Reynolds says in the movie, Mother, “Never look back dear. They might be gaining on you!”)
• I won’t need to start another business because THIS IS MY NEW BUSINESS! (If I could sustain a business in marketing for 30 years with no academic knowledge of business, imagine what I do with performing. That is something I’ve known about since I was a child.)
You don’t have to give ANYTHING UP! There are too many stones yet unturned.
All it took was listening to “The Secret” for about 15 minutes and it reversed my mindset before I even walked in the door. (Yes. I’m drinking the “kool-aid” and it tastes wonderful!)
10 minutes later, I’m emptying the dishwasher, when my phone rings.
“Hi Julie. It’s ***** from ****** senior center.”
“I just wanted to apologize for rushing you off yesterday. I had a lot going on. I didn’t mean to be rude. I’d like to book you for a few more shows.”
Eureka! Not only did we book two more shows, but I raised my fee!
The purpose of this post is not to whine about my career. Nor am I naïve enough to think that a few more bookings is going to make a big difference. What DOES make a big difference is my perspective.
Which brings me to my next point, I’m going to start another blog and shift the focusing on weight loss and my journey utilizing The Secret and/or Napolean Hill’s teachings… (aka the power of positive thinking) and my test or implementation of these philosophies. I’ll probably throw in a dash of what little I know of the Buddha and Eckhart Tolle.
I have NO DESIRE to be preachy. Everything I’ve encountered in terms of its success is documented AFTER the fact. I’m interested in blogging my progress as I go, if only to stay the course.
I’ll be back here to write as well. But my health and longevity are taking priority at the moment. Besides, it looks like most people arrive here by googling “most romantic bedroom kisses”??
Shoot me a message of you’re interested in following me. I’ve got lots of work ahead but I have every intention of getting there.