Sometimes, I like to think. Perhaps, not enough because I find it hard to do. They say when you think hard, your pupils dilate and your blood pressure increases. Hard thinking is hard on your body. It is easier to just quickly categorize, simplify, and move on.
I am slowing posting my 2nd album on Soundcloud, so I re-read my message on my first album. Basically, it said that I recorded that album in an effort to overcome a lifelong fear of the opinions of others. When a non-trained vocalist sings, it creates a real sense of vulnerability for most people. When I first started recording, I couldn’t stand to listen to my singing. I have progressed now to the point where…I can’t stand listening to my singing if someone else is listening to it with me.
One really useful thing about blogging is that it also provides one with a record of their different moments in life. If you get enough of these moments, observations, opinions recorded, you can begin to see trends in your psyche scribblings. Very, very few people will do such a thing in a public format. However, that public format creates another opportunity at being vulnerable and vulnerability makes one hell of a mirror for self-examination – which provides one with the opportunity for some hard thinking.
Here is what I thunk about. My real problem on that first album was not with other people’s opinions. That was just a symptom. My problem was, and is, about shame. I felt shameful.
Where did it come from? Again, thinking hard, I think shame goes back to the earliest, and even earlier than that, of our ancestors. The story of the Garden of Eden tells of the first appearance of shame when Adam and Eve recognized they were naked for the first time. Hello shame. Some ancient storytellers were trying to tell us something about being human. I notice that our dog can jump up and grab an entire cube of butter and gulp it down without any visible sign of shamefulness. Even while I am chewing her out, she just sits there and licks around her mouth. I use two tablespoons of butter and I start feeling shameful about it all.
Beyond that though, I think some of us might even be a bit more coded toward shamefulness. Have you ever noticed how two siblings can go through basically the same dysfuntional, hurtful, abusive childhood and yet, can come to oppositie conclusions about their experiences. For one of them, they might concentrate on it for the rest of their lives and the other one seems to be able to move on from it all. This is not a judgement, just an observation. Some people just seem to be wired differently.
Combine the previous two possibilities with the constant and emotionally terrifying lessons of shamefulness within many religions and we end up with shameful people who not only won’t sing, but they won’t dance either. Religion can really “seal the deal” when it comes to shamefulness.
It has taken me almost 3 years of writing, singing, and recording to realize that it is not others’ opinions that I am fighting. It is the Dragon of Shame. The dragon that says, “You’re not good enough. Look at your nakedness! You can’t sing. You can’t write. You are not smart. You are a fool. Get away from here little man.” What I need to think more about, however, is the possibility that religion also might provide the very solution to my problem. I am not talking about the religion of my youth, at least not in the way it was presented to me. I am talking about something universal, something infinite.
I need to do some more hard thinking.