Tag Archives: singing

So I Said to Myself, Self:

I sing to myself all the time. There is nearly always some song or other stuck in my head, on repeat, and it generally only fades away when another song has supplanted it. On rare occasions, listening to the entire song will cause it to fade at the last note, but that doesn’t work as often as I’d like it to. Much of the time I don’t mind, it’s like I have my own little sound track and I can usually switch tracks when I want to, though the auto-play often gets stuck on one particular song for days or weeks, and that can get incredibly annoying.

Sometimes I talk to myself, too. Sometimes I even argue with myself — and once in a while I win — but I usually save the heated arguments for when I’m alone, and I usually just let those play out in my head. (It’s worth noting, for those of you who know me on Facebook and saw that gem of a quote from Fred today, that he knew nothing about this blog entry, and most of this post, including the previous sentence, was written weeks ago.)  But the singing? I made a conscious decision a while ago not to keep the singing to myself, and I thought I’d tell you why. Just in case you run into me somewhere and wonder why I’m walking along singing, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I’m, you know, in public, and people — possibly including you — are looking at me funnily.

Here’s the thing. If a kid talks to himself while he’s playing alone, most people think it’s really cute. Adults nearby often sneak peeks, trying not to get caught watching, so they can catch a bit of what he’s saying when he doesn’t know anyone’s listening. Of course, if he did know the adult was there he may just go on exactly the same anyway, because he’s probably absorbed in his own little awesome world, but I digress. Why do we do this? Because it’s adorable, that’s why. But why is it so adorable?

Because we know that that kid is completely engrossed in his play, and completely free to follow his imagination, or work out his train of thought in the way that comes most naturally to him in that instance. He’s not burdened down with all of the rules and regulations that we’ve placed on our ridiculous adult lives, saying we can’t do this or that or the other because so-and-so is watching, or what’s-her-face might see, or the men in white coats may come to take us away. We call it the ‘innocence’ of childhood. And I think we stand there, listening, remembering days when we felt free to play out our imaginations out loud, unbound by unwritten rules that make us confine our mind til it’s left with no outlet but to ricochet endlessly off the inside of our skull whilst slowly driving us mad.

If an adult gets engrossed in something and starts talking to himself in public, barring some recent tragedy, people generally think he’s losing his sanity. Someone, somewhere, decided that talking to yourself after a certain age, means you’re ‘nuts’. Then someone else came along and jokingly decided that you’re only ‘nuts’ if you answer yourself back, and everyone laughed, and went on knowing that no, really, you just can’t talk to yourself in public.

Now, granted, there are some rules regarding self-talk that make sense. If you go talking to yourself all the time it’s going to annoy people around you if, say, they’re trying to watch a movie, or read a book, or hear a sermon, or cross a tight rope on a unicycle while balancing an egg in a spoon with their mouth. But does the general public require you to be silent while you’re getting your groceries, or sitting at the park, or checking your post office box? I mean, if you took your kid or your boyfriend or your grandma with you you’d probably be talking to each other a lot, surely one voice is less annoying than two.

So why does it disturb us so much to hear someone talking to himself past a certain age? I mean, it’s easier to get away with in the age of the cellphone, especially now that wireless earpieces are so popular and upstanding business people go walking down the street arguing with ‘themselves’ all the time. But you can bet most of the people they pass still do a double-take and immediately start looking for the device that makes this ‘okay’. Because if it turns out he’s not on a Blackberry or something, and he really is just arguing with himself, you can bet they’re gonna start walking a little faster.

When you really stop to think about it it’s a rather strange thing. What is so cute in little kids is somehow troubling in adults. The freedom we envy in our children we abhor in fellow adults. Apparently, growing up means you’re supposed to grow boring, kill your imagination, and stop being friends with yourself.

It’s all a little silly to me. Especially considering that some people, the few who have ‘proven’ themselves in some way, maybe by being rich, inventing something, having an enormous IQ, having a book on the best-seller list, get called eccentric and get a free pass on these kinds of rules, but anyone who hasn’t met some standard of proof — a standard which is also unwritten and ridiculously fuzzy — is considered ‘nuts’. You do get a free pass if there is audible music or you have headphones on and you’re singing.

I’d been thinking about these things for a while. I’ve also been working on my music quite a bit over the past few years, debating whether I should take this whole singing thing more seriously and consider trying to make a real album. I’ve been singing in church for years now, and practice is required, so I go around singing at home much of the time, and I’ve always sung along with the radio in my car. One day I was singing in my car and I got out to go into the little post office in our village. I would normally switch to humming, but it was after hours, if I remember correctly, and no one was around, so I just kept on singing. Someone walked in as I was there and caught me off-guard. I figured they had heard me when they walked on so I might as well keep on singing, so I just did.

And it was incredibly freeing.

I mean, at some point in my past I would have been worried about offending people’s ears, but I’ve been assured by most people I know that my singing voice is actually pretty, and since I almost always sing on-key the chances of making anyone double over in pain, or even cringe, seem fairly low. Unless of course, they’re offended by the lyrics, and I do try to stay conscious of the content and adjust my volume or hum the parts that I think might be somehow offensive to someone around me. But allowing myself to just sing when I want to sing, as long as it’s not going to be interrupting anyone or become an annoyance, has taken a burden off of me that I never even knew I was carrying.

So, if you see me singing to myself when I’m out and about just know that I’ve decided I don’t need to grow up in that particular way :P

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Filed under Humor, Music & Songs

Sometimes ♫ I Don’t Wanna Sing

Depression can be like a deep, dark, hole in your soul.  When you’re in that place, sometimes it feels like you will never get out.  Not because the hole is too big to climb out of, but because the hole is you.  At least for me, despair rarely feels like something that’s happening to me, caused by something outside affecting me.  It feels like it is part of me, a fundamental part, at the core of who I am… and it will never change, and there’s no point in trying to escape it, because it’s where I belong.

When I look back I see
The person that I was
Staring back at me.
Same confusion,
Same despair.
I become the she that I was there.
Caught in the moment,
Panicking, still.
No escape.
No free will.

If you’ve never been depressed, or if your fundamental years were free of depression, you may well have no clue what I meant by that.  If you’ve been depressed for very long, and especially if you were depressed as a child, as I was, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.

If you are in that place, please know that it is not you.  No matter how much a part of your life it seems, you can come out of it without giving up who you are, regardless of its cause.

But you will probably need help to come out of it.  Psychologists and well meaning friends and loved ones can help sometimes, for some people, but that often falls far short, and sometimes makes things worse.  Sometimes the best solution is the one that seems the most desperate, so we never even consider it.  Sometimes, you have to look up.

I spent over a decade in that place, resigned to always being there.  I spent nearly another decade trying, and mostly failing, to claw my way out, with the help of a really great friend, who kept trying to convince me that it wasn’t part of me.   I never believed him, but I was trying anyway, for his sake.  I was also working on my spiritual walk, drawing closer to God every day, and one day God just picked me up and pulled me out of that pit.

And suddenly that deep darkness was gone, but I was not.  I was left reeling, almost in shock over the sudden change.  It took me quite a while to adjust to the change, the sudden loss of such a huge part of my life.  I was happy, don’t get me wrong, it was a relief I don’t think many people can relate to, but it had been part of my life for so long, part of my self-identity, and I had had no idea that it was something other than me, that whole time.  Something riding on my shoulder, pushing me down.  I was intact, I was whole, and it was not a part of me after all.

But sometimes
When I look up I see
The person that I could,
Maybe, someday be.
No delusion,
No more fear.
Possessed of a mind that’s free and clear.
In those moments,
Hope abounds.
And all is great,
And I am found.

(The poem quoted here is titled “Sometimes” by me – Tammy Bowles.  I don’t mind if you share it but please give the reference.)

I don’t think anything anyone said could ever have convinced me of that fact.  If you’re in that place right now you probably think I’m crazy for believing I was healed, or maybe you just think it’s well and good for me, but your case is hopeless.  I understand.  I truly do.  But please give God a chance.  Ask Him to help, and then let Him (He’s a gentleman, He won’t take the reigns from you, you have to hand them over).

If any of this seems a little too esoteric, I apologize.  I am still a little uncomfortable sharing at this level in the open, but if you would like to talk about this stuff in more detail please feel free to contact me.

I’m not saying that I never see that dark place anymore.  God pulled me out, and I no longer live there, but there are times that I find myself looking back in.  Hormone spikes can send me in that direction.  I found out a few months ago that the wrong medication could send me back there as well.  It always feels so familiar that it takes me a little while to figure out what has happened.

In the midst of that last medication-induced bout of depression God gave me a couple of lines and told me to write the rest of this song, because I needed to hear the ending.  It’s a funny thing to be told to write what you need to hear, but it worked out in the end.

I shared this song on my Facebook page a while back, and have sung it at church a few times.  I was going to wait to share it here until I got some music and a better recording, but something tells me I need to share it now…  Perhaps someone out there needs to hear the ending as well.





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Filed under Deep Stuff, Music & Songs, Personal

Answered prayers and such

I know I haven’t posted anything here for a while, but it’s not exactly for lack of trying.  I have at least 5 posts I’ve been trying to write but I just can’t seem to get anything to the point I actually feel comfortable posting it lately.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk the past few weeks (okay, that’s a massive understatement), but I believe yesterday evening was a huge turning point for me.

I’ve been checking out a new church lately (while still going to my current one — I love those people dearly but the church just isn’t accessible, and I don’t feel like it’s a place I can really be used), I’ve been there 3 times now and yesterday the pastor’s mother took it upon herself to make sure that I got to sing.  I sang one of my own songs that I haven’t sang in public for probably a year or more, and it went really well.  God seems to have touched nearly everyone in that service through my song, I had people chasing me down to make sure I knew about it, too.  I’ve never seen a reaction that strong before, and the timing was great, I really needed the pick-me-up.

After that, the pastor’s sermon hit me just right, I’m not even sure what he said exactly, but it was just what I needed to hear to finally let go and step out on faith on a couple of things that have been holding me back for a long time.  To top it all off, one of the ladies invited me to come join a group at McD’s after the service, and we sat there talking until they kicked us out at midnight.  If you know me very well you’ll probably be able to pick out about 7 answered prayers in the past couple paragraphs.

After I got home I pulled an all-nighter, I had some contractors due to come install a new door and I didn’t want to sleep through it  (which is the only bit of bad news in this post, it started pouring down rain around sunrise, and they had to postpone til Friday).  While I was up, I managed to get about 20 more songs recorded for the Praise Songs Database, and I actually got them updated to the site, along with a bunch of updates I’ve been putting off for months.

Then I made a couple of phone calls — I got resolution on one issue that’s been seriously stressful for me for the past 2 months, and I made the first step in finding a solution for another issue that’s been a huge stressor for years now.

So all in all this is shaping up to be a really awesome week, here’s hoping the trend continues, but even if it doesn’t I think I’ve had enough blessings to carry me for a little while.

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Filed under Music & Songs, Personal

Why are you striving?

I know I just put up a song in my last post, but I went for several months there where I couldn’t really sing, let alone record, and I’m excited to be able to get back to recording some. Besides, my keyboard is acting up, so typing much is a huge pain right now.

By Your Side by Tammy Bowles

(Original artist: Tenth Avenue North)

Please feel free to leave comments and critiques, just don’t be too mean about it :)  I’d welcome a discussion on the lyrics as well.


Filed under Deep Stuff, Music & Songs

Bizarre Evening

So I went to church this morning, and the family that does worship on Sunday mornings made the following announcement: “Not this next Sunday, but the one after that, we’ll be singing at such-and-such church and would love it if ya’all wanted to show up and worship with us.”

The church I go to doesn’t have Sunday evening services, which I hate because that’s the service I’m most likely to be able to attend on a regular basis… so, I’ve been kind of going to different area churches every Sunday evening just to fill the time. Hearing this I thought, great! A place to go.

Once I got home I lost my mind and convinced myself that they had said they were going to be there *tonight*. I couldn’t remember what time tonight though, so I tried to call the pastor, who didn’t answer his phone, so I figured it had to be either 6 or 6:30 and off I went. I got there at 6, and no one was there, and the sign said service was at 7, so I went wandering around town to blow time, and got a big shake at UDF.

Here’s where the evening got interesting lol. I went back to that church around 6:30, and decided to just read some while I was waiting… 6:45 came and no one was there yet, but this is Ohio, so I figured maybe it’s just one of those churches where everyone’s always running late instead of early.

At around 6:50 one car pulled in. Two old guys walked up and peeked around the back of the car towards my open window and one said “can we help you?”. This seemed like a rather odd question at a church on Sunday evening, but I just told him I got there early and was waiting because so-and-so was supposed to be singing there tonight. To which he answered “Uhm, I don’t think so”. I explained better who it was, and he said “Oh, they’re supposed to be here on the 23rd I think”.

Me: “Oh. uhm. well… are you sure?”
Him: “Well you might as well join us anyway”

So I went in. I’m not all that observant, and didn’t realize until I shook his hand that he only had half of his right hand and a hook on the left… shaking three fingers felt a little strange lol. He had to be in his 80s. The other guy is (I found out later) almost 87.

They were the ONLY two people there! Had I not been there, I imagine they would have talked a bit and went home or something, but since I was there.

Him: “Well, I wasn’t going to preach tonight, and the guy that normally does on Sundays called to say he won’t be coming. You don’t preach do you?”
Me: “Uh… no. I can sing but I don’t preach (literally lol).”
Him: “Oh, you sing?!?…”
Me: “Uh, yeah, some.”
Him: “Well, you wanna sing? Morris sings some…”

So I spend the evening singing random hymns (thumbing through hymnals and song booklets trying to find songs that we all (or at least two of us) knew. Most bizarre, but it actually turned out to be fairly fun. I’m always up for singing, and since there were only two of them I didn’t really feel on the spot…

I think they appreciated having someone else there, especially since, as it turns out, they had to drive over 45 minutes to get to the church tonight.

So they’re hoping I come back lol

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Filed under Disability, Humor, Music & Songs