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It's been a while since vanity really tripped me up.

Maybe it's not just vanity. My default answer to someone asking me for a favour is 'Yes,' unless I remember to take time to think about it and see why it may not be OK. A thing sounds like a good idea so I just don't think... but by heck, don't I ever respond to flattery without even realising what a ninny I am being.

Anyway, a lady I know vaguely from the Pagan scene contacted me. She is/was one of the Avalonian priestesses, and while I have lots of time for followers of the Western Mysteries, the Women's Temple in Avalon does collect a reasonable number of aspiring delusionals. This lady however is a well known non-delusional stalwart of the scene, and she told me that she was doing a sea ritual, and a very good mutual friend had told her that I do a beautiful rendition of the old folk song, The Grey Selkie, and could I come and sing it at the Pagan Federation Open Ritual?

So actually, it was just plain old vanity. I said 'Yes.' But as time went on, I remembered something...and it was made very clear to me by a chum who is marvellous in many ways, but very direct. 'This is all very well,' she said, 'But you can't sing a note, can you?'

And she had a point.

I didn't want to do it. Sometimes the idea of walking into a room full of people is just too much for me. I know it will be OK, but still don't want to be in any place difficult to get away from. One of the reasons I don't want to attend LARPs is that, while woods and fields give me a great sense of escape, I can't face a situation in which someone might see me suffer a PTSD attack, and if anything is going to trigger that, it'll be me trapped, facing some bloke with a sword. There's no getting away from the Foe Factor. I can't ignore it, and the results might be neither fun nor fair for others.*

So anyway there is that...and the much lighter fact that my voice has all the timbre of a broken air conditioning unit. Naturally, I had forgotten this minor detail.

I went to the dentist yesterday afternoon, which gave me good reason to cry off the yodel. And I brought poetry too, much better than anything I could ever sing; so armed with excellent excuses I made my way to Conway Hall, where dedicated people were creating a little sea-bed altar on the floor out of teal and green and blue fabrics, oyster shells, pearls, goddess statues, blue candles... and including little plushy seals on cushions for rocks. Bees had been included among the seals for no better reason than that everybody likes bees.

The lady said little and put no pressure on me, though she looked at me somewhat glassily. After all, she had asked me to do one thing, just one thing...
'I've brought a poem too, ' she said, and it was obvious it mattered very much to her, the poem straight from her heart. So too many poems, singing needed. I decided to bite on the bullet.

It worked really well! I was rescued by the acoustics, helpful surrounding influences, and an easily pleased audience. My direct friend, who has made a jolly packet working in the music industry since the 70s came to watch in amusement at my pickle, and ended up enjoying the whole ceremony, which for sure was profound and gentle.

Afterwards we sat together sharing prosecco in plastic cups. 'I had no idea you had a competent singing voice,' she said to me. I laughed and was honest about the bits I had missed, and she said very nice things indeed, extra nice, considering she never humours anybody. So OK, flattery got me into a mess. But some genuine compliment turned up as well.

Also, I enjoyed it in a way I haven't really enjoyed company beyond friends for quite a while. It's a challenge, singing in front of strangers when you know you just don't have the goods. But I am glad to have done it. Had to leave early after all was done, because the whole thing is still quite hard for me, and I just had to get away, but there's no denying I had a good time.

* Why has this all come into my head now? I guess it's because one of the few things I miss about LARP is singing around the campfire. There are some seriously quality voices among my LARPing friends.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 15th, 2015 10:38 pm (UTC)
What a fabulous acheivement!
Jun. 16th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
Well, I dunno... most people would have had the sense to decline in the first place!

But when in doubt, echoes help you out... that and loads of other people joining in. And I did enjoy it :-)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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