Last night was like coming out.
Last night, at La Esquina, I sang & played 19 of my original songs and 2 Bob Dylan covers, in two sets. The first set with an acoustic guitar (plugged in) and the second with an electric guitar (really plugged in.) With his hands, Lucas played the bass, and with his foot, played the bass drum. Or in the second set, he played the drums with his right hand, and bass lines on the synthesizer with his left hand. 2 for 4. Dos por Cuatro. Four instruments for two people. If you count voice as an instrument.
I invited everyone I could think of that might be interested, and I performed with everything I had. I felt excited, shiny, vulnerable, raw, nervous & ready all at once. I still haven't fully processed all of what happened last night. But for now, I want to share with you my first feelings and thoughts.
Most of all, from the bottom of my heart, I really want to thank all of you who were there to witness and to be entertained. It truly means everything to me that you were there. After all, what's the point of being a performer if you don't have an audience? What's the point of being a songwriter if no one hears your songs? Those of you who read my blog or know me personally know how much I believe in the encouragement of creativity & truthful expression, in fact, it's what I pretty much live for. I do what I can to encourage people to live out their dreams, to keep making their art, no matter what kind of self doubt they have. I do this for you, and I also do this for me. I need to dare myself to live out loud, risking ego, in order to fulfill my soul’s code. It is never easy to come out of hiding and share yourself. I do it, not because it always feels good, or because I am confident, I do it because there is something in me that tells me that this is my destiny. It doesn't always make sense. But the songs keep coming and the need to sing never goes away.
It's hard especially, for a girl, or woman, to hold your own value enough to say, "Hey, I have something to say, and I would like to be heard." This is something I have struggled with my whole life, as so many of us have. It takes tremendous courage to show up for yourself, and then ask people to witness you. I hope that this act of being and living out my rock-n-roll self, will inspire others to to take similar kinds of risks. After all, hiding, while sometimes necessary, can become a destructive habit for oneself and the world. The world needs to hear all the true voices.
I am often inspired by this line in the introduction of Lena Dunham's book of personal essays, Not That Kind of Girl: "There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person happens to be a woman.”
Here is an excerpt from a response I wrote to an email I received from a friend/singer who came to the show:
"Last night was the culmination of MANY years of work. 2 years (since I started my daily practice of singing & playing.) 12 years (since I first started writing songs). 27 years since I first picked up an electric guitar. 42 years (since I dreamed of singing and performing). It feels good (and vulnerable) to finally unleash all this musical stuff that I have been dreaming of, working on, and creating.
I eventually want to integrate these songs into a live act of storytelling that also explains my journey of empowerment, from being a shy & quiet "good girl" to living my dreams out loud as a woman.
Thank you for witnessing. I am honored."
I will end with some excerpt of lyrics that were sung in the two sets. Each of the 21 songs represented.
you’re draggin' the dragonfly down.
Don’t let the bastards get you down,
you are a verb, and not a noun.
the vagabond that’s wrapping at your door
is standing in the clothes that you once wore.
i know now there’s only one sin
don’t you know honey, it’s the split within?
When I grow up
I wanna be a song-singer.
i’m yours for the taking
for mending, stealing, baking.
I know I’m no longer a kid
and I can’t pretend
to be immortal.
I can’t pretend
not to care.
I can’t pretend to be free
There ‘aint no hiding in the moonlight
there’s no fooling the stars.
when you see this from above
the parts are fingers of one glove
The city lights go down
I can see you all around
no sabía quien era
quien era hasta que te vi,
no sabía queera
una flor hasta que florecí
How does it feel? To be on your own?
With no direction home?
Like a complete unknown?
Like a rolling stone.
you’re a lucky guy
cuz you get to hang with me
all the time!
I’m so dutiful
it makes me want to fall.
restless big & small.
i can’t feel me in you
i need a point of view
no separate fingers!
oh, i got caught up in sunshine today!
I took photographs today
in my close up way
to make the pain okay
the state i’m in
I feel nervous and brave and exposed
She’s a rock-n-roll thing.
She knows how to do her thing.
when i’m thinking of you
will we be two?
Stay tuned for practice recordings and home studio recordings—I am going to be continuing to share the process & products of recording my songs.
We will be doing the show all over again on April 14th--hopefully with some new songs!