Recently, my husband and I find ourselves among jazz musicians. We are seeking them out. Sitting at a restaurant, listening to his coworker and friends jam, I ask him, “don’t you just sit here and want to be a part of it? Don’t you want to join in?” He smiled, shook his head and said, “no.” He pointed to himself and said, “introvert.”
When I see something happening, I want to be a part of it. Extrovert. I eagerly want to join in. I cannot stop thinking about it. I daydream about it.
But then, I am human. In my daydreams, I can do anything. When I do it in real life, I am embarrassed beyond belief.
This happens every Halloween. I want to dress up. I see costumes. I daydream about putting one together. I may gather the components. But if my costume does not consist of terribly normal clothes, I am unsettled all evening. I become self-conscious.
I feel very good about the projects I have tackled lately. Mistakes in sewing and painting do not bother me. I am generally good at that which I approach. Writing is going well. There is an 80%-finished painted dresser in the garage and the color is lovely. A started but stalled sewing project sits on my desk. A wood sign languishes in the background because I lost interest. None of these phase me. It is personal and private. I love those projects and I miss out on nothing if I do not finish them.
When it involves people, perhaps it is a different story. And jazz.
A lady sang. She only sang in front of people once before and everyone cheered for her. I want to do it, too.
I sing in front of my kids. I sing at mass. She is singing in front of people, and she is an amateur. Surely I can do it, too. I want to be part of the group.
My husband is excited. We cannot act spontaneously because—introvert. He gathered the music, plays the piano, and asks me when we will practice.
Finally, it is time. We saw those jazz musicians again last night. Another woman sang. That could be us! We could jump up there and sing “Cheek to Cheek.” What fun it would be!
I stand with my husband, hold my sheet of music and get ready to start. He presses the keys with a jazz-like spirit and I begin…laughing. And I laugh the entire way through. Not one word comes out because I feel so goofy and silly and self-conscious that I cannot stop laughing. Thank goodness we did not jump on stage!
We try again 30 minutes later. I manage some words but sing low and quiet trying to pair the words and music together. I have only ever sung this song alongside Doris Day. As I sing the refrain, I can feel my confidence glide down a funnel and out of my spirit. The more that drains, the more I want to shrink into a corner and give up.
He records the music so I can practice alone. The man is a teacher. I am not the first self-conscious creature under his wing.
I will not give up. We will keep trying until I feel comfortable. This is what it is to be taught a new art. Some you will take to naturally. Some will try your basest instincts. If you do not give up, in the end, you might just have a lot of fun.