Friday, August 6, 2010
I am a terrible procrastinator. No, actually, that's not accurate: I'm an EXCELLENT procrastinator. In fact, in order to avoid something right now, I'm WRITING about procrastination.
I understand that if I clean up the kitchen and livingroom BEFORE I go to bed, it will make getting up so much more pleasant. I know that if I prepare for a workshop/class/gig weeks in advance, I'll present with poise and confidence, with none of those unforeseen glitches that sometimes happen.
But somehow, I've always ignored deadlines until the last possible moment. I maintained a B average throughout university, when most of my papers were written between 1 and 8 a.m. of the day they were due (but honestly, more often when they were 2 or 3 days late). Back in those days, I'd save my work to a floppy disk, run to the closest computer lab and print out the paper, and make it to class for 8:30 a.m. I guess you could say I was a bit cavalier about the whole thing...but because I managed to get fairly good grades using this method, I didn't see any reason to change it. I did learn to play guitar during those university years, and that is something that has stayed with me much longer than any Geography facts ever did!
So. Tomorrow I have a 1 hour gig at our local museum. They are focussing on women and music this summer, so it is to be a retrospective performance, a reflection on my journey as a woman and as a musician. I thought of parcelling my life into chapters, and singing a couple of songs to represent each time period: childhood, teens, university, living in Northern Ireland, teaching, living in the Arctic, love, marriage, kids, farming...I'd been thinking up songs while driving, and singing a bit. But it is now after 8 p.m. and I'm still not practising. My attempts to run through some songs while the kids were in the bathtub failed miserable...guitars and bubbles don't mix.
There was a time in my life when I was performing regularly. In Whistler, BC, I had a regular weekend gig at a resort. Back home again, I also entertained tourists at a local whitewater rafting place 2 nights a week. Back then, I thought I'd never be able to forget the words or chords to the songs I sang so often.
But tonight, while I was starting to strum a bit while the kids were in the tub, my voice felt...rusty. The reasons for me not singing for so long are varied...newborns, postpartum exhaustion, setting limits on how much I do outside home in order to avoid burnout...the few gigs I attempted with small children in attendance (because I was breastfeeding) were extremely stressful, with baby frantically struggling in daddy's arms: "What?? What does she think she's doing in front of all these people? Holding a guitar instead of ME? I don't think so..." Another time, I booked a gig between Violet's bedtime and her first nighttime nurse, then lost my keys. I was in a panic to get back to her, and vowed that it just wasn't worth the stress.
I went through periods of resentment, as my husband is also a musician, and his involvement in music has experienced nary a pause since we had children. I feel like it's something I've had to give up in order to be peaceful with parenting. Acceptance does not come easily, and I struggle with bitterness. I know it doesn't serve a healthy purpose, so I'm working on it.
Singing is a deep part of who I am and always have been. So I'm starting small, with a daytime gig. Hubby will stay here with the kids (I've learned that much!), and I will try to find my footing again, to reacquaint myself with She-Who-Was-Me...and I imagine still is Me.
Enough procrastinating. I'm going out to my potting shed with a cup of tea and my guitar. Maybe you'll hear my first tentative notes on the wind...listen for the moment they become stronger, more sure of themselves...and send me some love!