A meeting that didn’t quite go as planned.
Last February I sat across from my mom’s literary agent, Ned Leavitt, at lunch. I had scheduled the lunch to ask him questions about the publishing world as I was beginning to get a hankering to write a book. And that’s what we talked about…for the most part.
At the end of lunch as we were paying the bill and Ned began a conversation that both surprised and unraveled me. Here it is, paraphrased to the best of my memory:
Ned: I was so glad when I received your invitation to lunch, Kate, because there’s something I’ve been wanting to ask you for a while. What ever happened to your singing?
Me: Oh no, that’s my sister you’re thinking of. She’s the singer.
Ned: No, not your sister. You. I have a vivid memory of you singing for your mother’s fiftieth birthday. Something came through you when you sang that was so earthy and vital and alive and I’ve never forgotten it. What ever happened to your singing?
Me (in tears): Well, I guess the answer to your question is what I just said: my sister.
Hiding my light under a bushel.
(Thanks for the expression, Mom!)
***Necessary interjection: My sister and I have an amazing, deep friendship. We love each other so much and support each other in everything we do. I realized in this moment with Ned that I had given up performing at eighteen after landing a starring role in a Brown University musical my Freshman year because I subconsciously thought that there was only room for one performer in our family. My sister seemed to want it more so I decided to switch directions and focus more on business than on being an artist. Let it be known publicly that my sister is my biggest fan, has encouraged me to tap back into my artist/performer self continuously and has never, in any way, dissuaded me from shining. Any hang ups I’ve had about this have been purely in my head. Thank you Annie for being the most amazing sister I could ever dream of. ***
After I blew my nose and got myself back together, I explained to Ned that I had given up singing and performing so as not to be in competition with my sister. He told me that though he had no doubt that part of my purpose was to be a leader and community builder in the business world, he suspected there was something else in me.
Six months later my friend Kirsten Lewis began producing a cabaret burlesque show called Paper Dolls. She asked me to do an act and I politely declined saying: “Oh no, I’m too busy/I’m a business woman not a performer/performing in burlesque shows isn’t part of my brand/(insert other stupid excuse here.)”
Given that I’m about to leave NYC, that I’m embarking on a journey into the unknown, and that I’m leaving more space for possibility by allowing myself to be more of who I am and less of who I’m not, I decided that now would be a good time to let my performer come back out to play.
So on Tuesday night at Paper Dolls at Sway Lounge I let “Bubbles” (my stage name) come out to entertain an intimate group of 75 New Yorkers who braved the cold. Sandwiched between a hula dancer, some girls in pasties and tassels, and my friend Kirsten and her baton, I took the mic for a spin.
And though I was scared out of my mind and I was really pissed at myself for saying yes to this before the performance, as soon as I was out on stage and I gave myself permission to lighten up, I LOVED IT! I tapped into a part of myself that I’ve not invited out in public in at least nine years and IT FELT SOOOO GOOD!
A once in a lifetime (sort of).
It’s not lost on me that this all occurred the same week as I deleted my external drive of video footage for Glimpse TV. It’s not lost on me that since Tuesday night I’ve felt happier, more energized, and more inspired than I have all year. I wrote to a group of friends before the performance that this would be a once in a lifetime chance to see me perform. I think I lied. I think I’ll be doing this more often.
Here’s to doing things that freak you out. Here’s to letting your freak flag fly. Here’s to grabbing the mic and serenading someone (or a hundred someones). Here’s to not hiding your light under a bushel. Here’s to giving yourself permission to be seen.
***For those of you in NYC, I’ll be performing in Paper Dolls again on Tuesday, January 18th at Sway Lounge in NYC. Join the Paper Dolls Facebook group and my list to make sure you get the invite.***
And now, Glimpse TV presents….Bubbles!
(Disclaimer to make myself feel better because this is really scary to put this out there: the footage is not professional, there were a few mic feedback moments, and my voice is slightly rusty after not singing for nine years. But progress not perfection! I’m proud enough of it to share it with you so enjoy!)
What have you done lately that freaked you out?
How did you feel afterward?
Is there a part of you that hasn’t come out in a while that it might be time to invite out of hiding?
Leave a comment!