So the story goes that my oldest cousin at the elder age of eight, to my four-years, asked my mom why I sang all the time. “Is there something wrong with her?” My mom, in good mom fashion, reassured him that I was fine and just liked to sing. He persisted saying that I was always making up songs or changing the words. She agreed, that was true.
I still sing all the time. He doesn’t.
People frequently say things like, you must be happy today. They only say that when they don’t know me. I like sad songs too: also mad songs, odd songs, wordless songs, repeated phrases, interesting tones. I don’t necessarily know all the words, often I make them up and am not worried about finding the correct ones. Although sometimes not being able to think of the real words is absorbingly frustrating.
I finally am at a workplace where bursts of song are acceptable. This did surprise me, because although I sing almost all the time I try to keep it to a soft hum during social, business occasions. I’m still hesitant, as I only work there part-time and am the proofreader, a seemingly serious kind of job. No Ethel Merman yet.
Thinking about singing Ethel loud; years ago when “The Who” was popular and I was a teenager outside, walking down the lonely, seemingly empty road ripping out, “See me, feel me, touch me, heal me…” repeat line; when a guy came out of the woods, staring at me, but walking on. His sudden and unexpected appearance shocked me, the memory stays with me. That was one of the only times my singing scared me with potential consequences. And even though nothing actually bad happened I’m still anxious about being too absorbed in my enthusiasms and whether I’ve fully considered the outcomes. The message I’ve carried is – be more aware, don’t let yourself get so absorbed.
Maybe that wasn’t the right message to carry. Maybe getting really absorbed isn’t a prelude to a scary surprise. Or maybe internal focus, external focus is a relay. “We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine” repeat.