Sunday, August 18, 2013

I'm not a social person

There were times in my life when I WAS more gregarious, but I have receded into my shell to such an extent since my last job that I feel I'm doing well to connect with anybody other than Cliff, in real life.  I don't even know how to make conversation these days, unless I run across someone who loves cows or has a husband who almost died from gall bladder problems.  Or loves to go barefoot, or has a garden.  
Knowing I am so terrible at communicating, I seldom try any more.  What, me make conversation?  Who wants to hear what I have to say?  I hate shopping, I don't like shoes or purses.  But hey, have you met my pet chicken?  
Yeah, that would go over like a lead balloon.  
So a year or so ago, somebody at church ratted me out, telling somebody else that I used to sing.  
Well, back in the late 70's and early 80's when a few pretty good songs came floating down from somewhere, I was grateful for them and promised God that if anybody asked me to sing my songs, no matter whether I wanted to or not, I would do it, but that I would never promote myself, never ask to sing anywhere.  After thirty years of not having been bothered with anybody asking me to sing, here I am on the spot again.  
It helps that I attend a small church.  On the positive side, I have rediscovered the songs I wrote back when I used to be a songwriter and have fallen in love with them again.  

This morning I tried to explain to my husband and my adopted granddaughter Heather why it bothers me to sing in front of people, even when the audience is small.  I am never ashamed of the songs I've written, by the way.  I feel they are pretty darned good.  BUT...
1.  I am not good at playing the guitar.  Even though all I do is chord, which a ten-year-old could do, I hit a clunker sometimes.  This is why I always choose the thinnest flat picks I can find:  They make a softer, quieter strum, so if I mess up it isn't so loud and obvious.  
2.  I'm not particularly happy with my voice, which goes flat occasionally.  This isn't one of those cases where I put myself down in hopes somebody will protest, telling me I'm not that bad.  It's honestly how I feel.

But hey, I promised God if somebody asked me I would sing, so sing I do, when I have to.  Why He had me take a thirty-year pause before somebody asked me again, I haven't any idea.  I'm sixty-nine years old, for pete's sake.  Why now?  I'm tired.  It's like starting over.  I thought I was done with all that.  It's scary.
I am not comfortable in front of an audience.  Now, you set me down in a circle with a bunch of people strumming and singing together and I'll do fine, but I hate being the center of attention because I know I'm not that good.  I have trouble making eye contact with one individual; let's don't even talk about looking out at several pairs of eyes watching me as I "perform".  

This is what I tried to explain to Cliff and Heather, and for what it's worth, I'm telling my readers also.


Margaret said...

I would hate that also, and I AM a social person, although much less so than I used to be. Now I need space and less conversation because I get stressed when there is too much pressure to chat. I do what I can do, but like to leave whenever I feel like it.

Jon said...

I can fully identify with this. The older I get, the less I feel like communicating - - to the point where I have become hermitized and misanthropic.
That's why I write (in my blog) so often about my long-ago Hollywood years. I was a completely different person then.

As for performing. I've always been terrified of playing (piano) in front of an audience. I eventually conquered my fears by playing ONLY for myself and pretending that the audience isn't there.

Paula said...

Wish you could play and sing at our little country historical church. We only had twelve counting the preacher and his wife today. They don't beg for money or try to twist your arm to join. Just friendly caring people.

Back Porch Writer said...

You strike me as very social on the social networks. However, I'm really the same way. I am more social on FB than in real life. I do have to wear a professional hat at work and seem to pull it off ok. But if I had to perform - no way! lol


But you are good. Very good at singing. And you communicate quite well via the blog. But I understand how you might feel otherwise.

Mrs. L said...

So we'll be having a hootenanny at your house next Saturday night?

Donna said...

Yes Mrs. L, and bring snacks. Preferably something light and not too salty. Never mind, I'll make popcorn.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

You do have a gift that is meant to be shared. Even in old age lots have done wonderful things. I always like to think of Grandma Moses who didn't start painting till she was almost 80. Who knows what effect one of your songs might just have on someone. I do know where you are coming from though..there are days on end here when I don't talk to anyone, but my self and conversation isn't easy for me either. I have always enjoyed reading about your chicks, cows and gardens and you songs too.

CountryDew said...

My father is 73 and he sings in a band, the community choir, and at church. I think you are setting a wonderful example for everyone - because we never need to stop, just keep on going like an Energizer bunny, regardless of age. I also have performance anxiety but I recently began teaching and have found the fear lessons with time and experience. I hope the same for you.