After spending two days stomping the pavement, I was tired. I told myself that if I get one performance out of all of my efforts, gratitude would be at the top of my list. While praying at the river, my phone rang. It was a number that I did not recognize. The voice told me that we had a conversation yesterday, and I told her how I played the harp. She was engaged and wanted to receive a quote for her wedding ceremony. I was overjoyed. Home soon found me furiously typing away the numbers to email to my potential client. A week later she booked her date, and sent me the information for her planner.
This experience taught me a lot and inspired me to think about the next step. After all of the work that I did: preparing the print media, introducing myself to different venues, emailing follow ups, and updating all of my social media outlets, I was able to get a client. How can I increase my booking possibilities? Paid advertising has never worked for me. Word of mouth has always been the solution. However, people like Instagram a lot and seem to truly connect with videos. People are able to easily understand the full scope of what is being offered in addition to learning more about the vendor. I am currently looking into making a promotional video in addition to mapping out new ground to stomp. If I was able to get one client, what if I aim for another?
It was six months of me not getting what I wanted. Adults have needs that can be met by being with other adults in intimate 1:1 situations. That was the sole purpose of the association. After a one time encounter, it never happened again much to my dismay. My invitations were met with, “you play too much”. Instead, I received occasional visits which were filled with luke warm conversation. Small talk is nice. Since it was all that was being offered, my invitations stopped. I accepted the small talk. Six months passed and a train hit me like a ton of bricks.
Out of the middle of nowhere, I was invited to a night of adult fun. If I said that I was not pleased, it would not properly describe the magnitude of disdain in which I responded. The next day brought the offer of a date. My silence was deafening. It was not long before text messages about games and the real me appeared. My response was simple, “I do not play games. For six months, you were not interested in me. I stopped requesting your company and accepted the fact that you just wanted to be friends. My life continued.” As the sun rose the next day, I was informed that after work, a shower would be taken and that I would have company for the evening. My growing fear did not allow me to respond. Imagine my shock when I found out that company appeared on my property without invitation. Fortunately, my schedule had me elsewhere. I asked for all future communication to halt. My request was denied.
Phone calls from a friend started to hit my phone. Gifts began to appear on my porch. My rage began. The gifts were promptly collected and delivered to the local Goodwill where someone else could appreciate them. I was insulted by the fact that all of this effort was now being made to chase me when it could have been made well over six months ago. You were not interested in me and placed me on a shelf. I do not belong on a shelf. After a mutual friend stepped in, all attempts to flatter me ceased.
This experience proved many things to me. You need to appreciate opportunities when they present themselves to you. Time will make you appreciate what you had. Intentions should be communicated from day one. Too little too late will leave people alone in the dust. Life does not stop simply because someone does not know your worth. What you want for yourself, is not always what you need; this situation is the perfect example of this.
Ten years ago, I would have sat around twiddling my thumbs awaiting my turn in the spotlight. Now, I am forty and forty pounds lighter. Not only do I have options in my life, but I also want to be with someone that wants to be with me and makes that clear as day. There are people in the world that would shout from the top of mountains that you are their beloved regardless of what is happening in their life. That is the type of person that I want to be with. Make me feel like you know that I exist. Put forth actual effort into making me feel special. It does not require the budget of a millionaire; it is free. Acknowledge my presence in spite of the fact that you have the entire world on your schedule. A morning text message goes a long way, and so does a good night text. It is the little things that make the heart of a woman melt. It is the moments in which words are not shared and feelings are that connect two people. At the end of the day, that is all any of us want. A meaningful connection with another human being in an intimate relationship. It has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with the basic human need of togetherness.
As a professional musician, the summer is my very slow season contrary to popular opinion. I have been spending my time getting my print media into the hands of potential clients. This morning found me stuffing envelopes with brochures & cards, and then mapping out my drive to different venues. Funerals homes, spas, banquet halls and even a school proves that nothing is off limits to me. I even visit nursing homes, hospices, and adult day cares. It is important to be aware of all of the potential opportunities that exist. Sometimes, I have to put extra effort into finding them for myself.
It is also the responsibility of a creative individual to diversify as much as possible. The bulk of my business consists of weddings; however, that does not mean that I can’t perform graveside or bedside for a dying patient. Last week, I was hired to perform on the platform of a MetroMover station. Strange? Yes. Fun? Absolutely.
The emails are finished. The driving around and introducing myself is finished. The walnuts are currently being munched on, and I think that I am going to take a nap shortly. The thing to realize about all of the work that happened today is that nothing may come of any of it. A job has not been landed, and there isn’t an immediate paycheck. The hustle is like that. You have to continue to produce and put forth effort while hoping that something comes through. Also, you have to smile as the bills come in and your account dwindles.
This is important to remember when people ask for free performances or discounted services. For one thing, it is insulting to be asked to work for free. While it is my passion, make no mistake about it, this is a job. It takes money in order for me to make money. The lovely brochures that I passed out cost a pretty penny. If I do not get out of my bed all day, money is being spent on air, electricity, water, wi-fi, etc. It is not possible for me to take care of myself by simply giving services away.
I used to be a wallflower. Now, I am a rose with thorns…..
This is not to say that I do not have friends. There are associates, coworkers, friends, and dear friends. A best friend is not in the cards for me. There have been love interests. However, as of this moment, I am unable to say with certainty that there is a single person on this planet that considers me a high priority. Unless I am functioning with one of my work capacities, no one is looking for me. That is because everyone has their own entourage to deal with and enjoy.
Faith and patience have been my themes for this year. Faith that I can reproduce in spite of my feminine woes and patience to create that family structure. I have no intention of being a single parent. While my mother has encouraged me to adopt instead of carry because it will be difficult, I say that it may be difficult but not impossible. Women were giving birth during late stages of life for centuries before medicine started dictating standards through the mouths of men.
My time was being spent developing me. The nights of picking up my best friend to spend a fortune on food were no more. Cooking had to become a constant activity because of the detox that Pilates was causing. After work, I stopped going to hang out with her at her job because I had to go home to research topics that interested me. The phone calls that I would normally make on her behalf suddenly became her responsibility. Her insecurities continued to rise to the surface. When she could no longer control me, she tried to change how someone else saw me; she took it upon herself to share personal info about me with my mother. Shortly after that incident, I banished her from my world despite attempts to keep me. The best part? I did not miss her. Wow.
Pilates and bellydancing continued. After a beach photo shoot, new information about me began to unfold before my very eyes. It became evident that all of these years, my tragic private life was spent with the wrong type of person. It took some years before I could accept this for myself. My spiritual views were very encouraging of my new found tastes, and also rather encouraging. My mother on the other hand remained ever negative against me. Never approving of choices that I made for myself and always overly critical and generally negative.
This scene played itself out in my 30s. I was the champion of womens circles and being able to do what I want whenever I want without having to check in with a significant other. There wasn’t a baby waiting for me or even a dog to walk. Freedom was mine to dance on the beach naked whenever the moon beckoned. Then my father passed away.
My mother was devastated. His death made me see her in a completely different way; she was going to be round II someday. It was not long before I realized that maybe, I should have a family of my own. Other people had their own units to claim. How many times had friends canceled on me because they had to take care of something for someone that they loved? Even now, the fear that I could vanish without anyone noticing is a credible threat. Prior to my 40th birthday, it was apparent that there were many things in life that were no longer fulfilling and something else was required. I wanted my own family. A complete entourage. Maybe even a dog.
When I come home with a high from an amazing day, there is no one to share it with. Saturday mornings find me waking up to the sound of my insane neighbor talking to himself. If I get sick, there is no one to run to Walgreens to get Nyquil. Most of the time, I am alone. This probably comes as a surprise to people that know me, but it is true. Weekends, week nights, and even most holidays, it is just me. While it used to be a pastime, it is now a borderline fear. It is quiet and deafening.
I never fit into the norm a single day in my life. As a child, unicorns and animals interested me. Art and music soon followed. My mother spent most of her time making sure that I did not explore anything. She also insisted that I attend church with her which never made sense to me. While invitations to social gatherings did arrive, there isn’t a single friend that stands out in my mind. Everyone was temporary. Middle school was a social nightmare filled with rogue boys and friends that were not friends. The only thing that mattered to me then was music.
High school was much the same. Music was again the central theme. Friends came and went. I often sat alone during lunch. My parents were not fond of my first boyfriend to say the least. My prom date refused to dance with me, and my cotillion date hit on a friend of mine. I did hang out and have good memories of the weekends. My family was a good support system then. After high school, everything changed.
Since I was attending a local university on scholarship, I remained at home. This is something that in retrospect should have been avoided entirely. As graduation approached, cupid pulled back his bow and I found myself in love with a guy. It caused a huge crossfire in my family. My job fired me, and depression took over my life. Darkness became my world. From the kettle into the pot I jumped. Living with the guy was more than what either of us had bargained for. Needless to say, rock bottom soon ensured. No friends. No family. No boyfriend. Everything was lost; but, there was my degree. My family did not attend my college graduation.
As my new job began, it was obvious that my current living situation was going to have to change. Paycheck after paycheck was tucked away so that I could look for a place to own. Once my home was purchased, a new boyfriend was in the picture. He was another epic mistake of all time, but he did help me move. Break up after break up simply could not keep him away from me. We did not have anything in common other than the fact that he loved me. He was shot which put me in another state of grief for a long time. His assailant was never found. In the middle of it all, I completed my second degree and left for a memorable trip to Jamaica.
Time passed. One summer found me dancing. I pursued it with everything that I had because it made me so very happy. There was a strong connection there for me. Rehearsals, performances, classes, and general fun became all the rage. My instructor suggested a Pilates class to me which changed everything. My mornings were spent in Pilates while my evenings were spent dancing. New friends became my sisters as we formed circles and explore the concerns of the moon. My discomfort level with organized religion was at an all time high as the need to belong vanished as other women centered spaces seemed natural to me. My core became empowered and people began to take notice.
I became friends with a pregnant woman. We talk every Monday for about an hour. I have been wanting to serenade her baby for a while now, and today brought that opportunity my way. Two other coworkers joined us for the festivities. There we were in a rugged formation. Holding space for the upcoming arrival of a new bundle of joy; four women welcoming a little girl.
The swells of the music touched everyone. The movements of the baby changed to a relaxed nature. She would violently kick her mother in between songs as if to say, “What is happening”. All of us sat and talked for a good while enjoying the celestial space that had been created. It wasn’t until later in the evening when I realized what had actually taken place. It was a special moment for all of us.
My 40th year on the planet started off with a bang. It has also brought about some lessons that keep me afloat on a daily basis. I think my favorite one is wanting something that does not happen. We often focus on what we want out of life. We won’t get everything that we want, and that is a good thing. When this happens, it is because it was not the best fit for us or something better is right around the corner. This is a good indication that in many cases, when a situation becomes too hard to manage, sometimes it is best to simply walk away. It was not supposed to work. That is the correct outcome. Why? Ultimately, it benefits you.
It was an off colored email message. It was the norm from this particular individual. Comedic. I responded with a hello, how are you? The response was extremely disgusting and rather shocking. The thought of alcohol being involved crossed my mind. I was rendered speechless. It took an entire evening to pass before I was able to respond. A business contact made a crude sexual advance towards me, and I am completely confused as to what made him think such a gesture was perfectly okay.
They say that people are taught how to treat you based on how you react. He thought playing my strings below my waist was a perfectly acceptable message to send to my business email. He thought there was humor in it. The idea that a man in his 50s would think such a thing is a huge problem. I am gravely disappointed by this gross display of the patriarchy. Women are not placed on the planet to service the sexual desires of men. Women are not mere sexual objects that are expected be treated in any manner that a man deems acceptable at any given time.
The backbone of society is maintained and in existence because of the queen. We give birth to the universe and stay in touch with Mother Earth at the expense of our bodies. Unfortunately, our proper position is often defecated upon by men that pretend to recognize us for our talents, for our minds. The bottom line always seems to be, “When can I play your strings?”. The individual has been deleted and blocked. I pray to God that I never encounter him again in this life or the next.