Thursday, March 20, 2008

Music Man

Music is a huge part of my life. Not listening to it. Creating it. No, no, no, have no delusions, I am not a musician, nor do I possess any remarkable musical abilities beyond that of your common curbside, homeless chanteuse. But this fact alone does not prevent me from singing, whistling, and humming along to the soundtrack of my day, which plays exclusively in my own head. Twenty-four seven, FM Jacob.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that I spend a good seventy percent of my day singing. If not out loud, then in my head, or under my breathe. I always have a song right on the tip of my tongue. Always.

For as far back as I can remember, and even earlier, or so I am told, I have always essentially woken up each morning singing, much to the horror of my family.

Long have I snuck away to the privacy of the back of my closet, steps of the back porch , or bathroom shower stall to belt out my repertoire at full volume, to my little heart's content. And, granted, while in adulthood, it no longer requires my sneaking away, and what was once my closet has now become my car, that same earnest, youthful exuberance with which I once performed these private concerts still remains.

In my mind, singing and emotional expression are absolutely, inextricably linked. Every loss, triumph, happiness, and heart ache has been exorcised from my spirit through song. Ballads flow forth like tear drops. Lyrics lingering like lovers. I inhabit the music. It becomes my own story, my voice, my tragedy, eulogy, anthem, or battle cry. My happiness, sorrow, anger, outrage, and joy all balled up together in one.

To this day I often find it difficult to look someone in the eyes while listening to them sing. It feels so intimate. They stand emotionally naked before me, exposed, and I avert my eyes in order that I might help preserve their modesty. I dare not look too long, for fear of stealing from them some small piece of themselves.

This is probably a big part of my disproportionally large irrational fear of performing in public. Exposing too much of myself. Accidentally losing secret parts of me to the sea of prying eyes.

A good friend of mine is what some might describe as being tone deaf, and, fully aware of this, she sings loudly, passionately and with reckless abandon. I admire and envy this acceptance. This expression so pure it need not be harnessed, measured or muted by the enjoyment or judgment of those around her.

The soundtrack to my life is varied, unique and ever changing, but the space it fills, and the effect it has on my days is undeniable. And so it is that I march along, dancing to my own little drummer.

6 comments:

M said...

"Accidentally losing secret parts of me to the sea of prying eyes."

I'm not afraid of public speaking but the above is a huge fear.

Jacob Blankenship said...

Oh, yeah. I can speak in front of large groups of people all day long without hesitation. But not sing. There is something very different about that kind of nakedness. When I was younger I sang in public often, and to reasonably good review.I was always nervous, even then, but as the years have rolled along so, too, has that fear inside of me grown, making its transformation from stage fright into phobia. It's actually kind of sad really.

Hennifer said...

here, here? hear, hear?
You are turning out to be quite the inspiration for me these days my dear !

Cheyenne said...

i could sing your praises all day long...

gabrielle said...

my family always sang along to music. it was something we did. i would go to a friend's house, or ride in their parents' car, and be horrified when i was the only one belting out 'all you need is love'. so what, other people don't do this? you need to KNOW how to sing for music to be part of your life? bah and BAH!

i adore your love of music. i love when we clean and sing along to ani. music is a memorymaker. and much needed in our lives.

Adam said...

I can completely relate. Whatever I'm doing, if music isn't playing, I feel like something's wrong.