There are moments in my life when I realize something for the first time. I mean really realize it. Things that I always thought I understood, or things that I always thought I knew about, but didn’t really know or understand. Oprah calls them “aha!” moments….it’s when that little light bulb goes off over your head and your eyes get wide. I always thought I understood what it was like to be in love….until I met that someone special. I always thought I understood the bond between a mother and her child….until I had a child of my own. I thought I knew what it felt like to have a broken heart….until I lost someone who meant the world to me. I also was under the impression that time heals all wounds. But as time went by, I also realized that broken hearts never really heal. Sometimes these lessons come quickly, and sometimes they take years to learn. But eventually we all come to the realization that things and people aren’t always what they appear to be.
Over the past few months, I have been experiencing something that I can only describe as a “fullness”. I guess you could compare it to how you feel after a satisfying meal, although it has nothing at all to do with food. I have recently been able to realize a small piece of my life-long dream of being a singer/entertainer. When I say “life-long”, that’s exactly what I mean. I have never wanted to do or be anything else in my life. I never dreamed about how many kids I would have or what my wedding would be like….who I would marry or what kind of house I wanted to live in. I dreamt about being on stage and singing songs….about traveling around the country on a tour bus from show to show….about dressing up in sequins and glitter and entertaining the crowds….about people telling me how much they love to hear me sing. Obviously, after a while I began to notice that my dreams about the future and my friend’s dreams were very different. Even though they were my best friends (and we are still close to this day), I could feel a divide between us that I don’t think they noticed. An invisible wall, you might say, that put me in a world of my own. It was always a place I loved to be, but a place that I was sure no one else cared about. Because of this, I usually felt alone and isolated, even in a crowd. I was never one to follow the majority, even though there were times I did just because I didn’t want to feel that loneliness. It’s hard to be an individual. I sometimes felt as if my dreams were too far-fetched and unattainable. That maybe I should be thinking about the kinds of things that other people my age were thinking about. But I just couldn’t shake that inner feeling that I was meant for something different, something unique….something other than marriage, children and a house with a white picket fence.
So over the last couple of years, I have been piecing together everything I need to be able to put on a show. Even though the “show” was usually in my living room in front of an imaginary audience, it was still satisfying to me. When I am singing I am happy, even if there’s no one around to hear it. I don’t do it for the recognition or the accolades, although it’s nice to get that kind of feedback. I do it because I can’t not do it. I have to sing. It’s like oxygen to me, I can’t survive without it. I started a little fledgling music company that provides all sorts of entertainment--DJ, karaoke, background music, MC services, live vocalists for weddings--and I had business cards made up. I have been passing them out to anyone who will take one, and gave bunches of them to a few friends and family members who are passing them out as well. One of my cousins put me in touch with a lady who had recently acquired a bar where we all went for karaoke over the last few years, and she offered me a gig at the end of August to do one night of karaoke. We just finished a second show last Friday and have two more scheduled for the end of October.
Being in front of that audience as the host of my own show has changed my life. I knew I wanted to sing. I knew I wanted my own show. But I had forgotten just how much I wanted those things. It’s not the same as being in the audience waiting to sing. This time I am in control. This is my show. People are looking to me to entertain them. Knowing that everything hinges on my next move or my next word….seeing all those faces looking up at me expectantly….waiting for me to take them out of their everyday lives for a few hours….me….I suddenly felt “full”. It’s a rush I’ve never felt before. I can feel my heart pounding in my chest as if it’s going to burst out at any moment. I can feel a happiness in me that I haven’t felt for a very, very long time. I have found my soul and I feel alive again. Suddenly, I’m in the spotlight. I have no idea where the future may lead me, but one thing is for sure….I can never go back to where I was before this.