Saturday, January 03, 2009

Stepping Up the Exposures

Over the past few weeks I've gotten more focused on exposing myself to potentially anxiety-inducing situations so as to learn to be less sociallyanxious. On ething that helped propel this was a card I received on Christmas Eve from my uncle Frank, who asked what I'd been doing with my life. I responded with a note telling of the progress I've made over the past few years, particularly noting my appearances at some open mikes and the hopes that this may lead to something that pays. Having written that, I then felt obliged to start getting more serious about it. So next day I busked for an hour in Suburban Station, after not having done so anywhere more than a few times and that at least a year before. I've busked several times in the days since, often before work, and mean to make it a regular habit.

I'd already decided to forgo my usual New Year's Eve practice of attending the party at Lee and Diane Weinstein's for membersof the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, in favor of going to a public party where there would be more new people I might meet. I went to McGillen's Old Ale House, where they were also doing karaoke. I sang "Imagine" -- having been reminded of how much I like it when it concluded the HumanLight event a couple weeks ago -- and the MC told me I'd done a good job. This feeling must have been shared by another partygoer who high-fived me as I was on my way out. High-fived by a total stranger! That ever happened before. But I'd earned it by having the courage to get in the spotlight like that, without even having any friends present.

When I'd first thought I might like to do karaoke, visiting Sisters with other members of BiUnity nearly four years ago, I only tried singing along under my breath, being as yet to shy to do more. Now I sang under my breath only prior to my own performance, to save my voice, but sang out loud afterward, and with no self-consciousness to speak of.

Eric Hamell