“You have a lot of work to do, and we’ve only just started today,” she said.
“I know,” I thought to myself. “I just don’t think I want to do the work with YOU.”
And that was how I ended my fourth counseling appointment: struggling to put to words why I found myself evading this woman’s attempts to get me to open up and talk. Why I consistently shut her out. My best guess? She reminds me of a family member with whom I would never talk to about the gritty stuff, the honest stuff, the stuff that hurts. So I asked for a referral to a different counselor and I’m waiting to hear back.
In the meantime, I’ve started thinking about where I am and where I’d like to be. And I realized that maybe I am still figuring out who I am, trying to decipher that out from the white noise of all of those characteristics and interests that I admire in my friends and want to try, to incorporate, to emulate.
Recently I spent a week in Old Town Alexandria for work, and during those four days I found myself feeling INTERESTED and INTERESTING. Broken away from the routine of job-house-gym, I picked up newspapers and set my iPhone to the task of finding me new and interesting places to eat. I worked out, but only after going to the hotel lobby and tasting a free glass of wine. I sparked up a conversation with a random person and her cute little dog during the doggy happy hour in the courtyard.
Then I came home, and the sameness settled back over me like a comfortable house coat that you’re ashamed to let anyone else see. I immediately began to feel a little dull, dimmed, and dare I say it? Boring.
I have a lot of work to do. I have to figure out how to bring the “Away Jen” back home, and I figure part of doing that might be to shake things up a bit. There’s a variety of things that I’d like to try or re-attempt, like a dancing class (my sister is taking belly dancing and hip hop), or knitting (I have to finish a project I started last year!). But these solutions feel borrowed and not original to my own self.
So, I referred to my Ultimate To-Do List and found that something that had been tickling the back of my mind was actually right there, on the screen, staring back at me: #18. Take singing lessons, then overcome the fear of stagefright by singing in public at a karaoke bar.
Why singing lessons? Well, I joined chorus in 8th grade and continued singing in high school, where I was a member of the Great Mills High School Chamber Singers. However, I never really learned how to read music, I always wanted to be within earshot of someone else who was singing my part, and I never learned to harmonize.
Yesterday I spent a few minutes doing a quick Google search, and I think I found a possible singing instructor in my local area. And if that doesn’t pan out, I plan to walk into the local music store and see if they know of anyone. I’m both excited, because this feels like something I genuinely want for myself with no outside influences, but I’m also a bit terrified.
Singing out loud. In front of people. Without judging myself into silence? I have a lot of work to do.