Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Home Is Where the Heart Is

     A lot has been going on since I claimed that the "starfish" has been "grabbed."  First of all, I went into two weeks of probably one of the most stressful times I've ever had at my day job.  My company has been acquired and we are in the middle of a software conversion so all of our information can be shared.  I won't bore you with the details, but anyone who has ever done that knows how the process can make you extremely irritable. With this acquisition is coming a change of position for me from Accounting to Sales essentially.  I know I had said that I hadn't been over the top happy about being an Accountant all these years, and that I decided that a day job didn't define me, but I feel pretty weird.  I mean, I've been doing it for nineteen years, I should feel a bit odd about it.  Excited, nervous, worried at the same time, but definitely weird and that's not helping the stress level.

     While this was going on in the place where, let's face it, we all spend most of our time, I became somewhat hostage to my "extracurricular" schedule. I organized a can food drive for the local serving center that was coming to an end.  Food had to be gone through and itemized and we had to somehow find time to actually get it to the serving center.  This same week church council and the Wednesday evening study I teach fell in the same week and I couldn't not attend either one of them.  We have this week off from the study because of Halloween, so we couldn't have two weeks off in a row and while I can usually I can get out of council if I need, I had signed up as minute taker for this month way back in January...


     I'm going to estimate that there was one point during the last few weeks where I don't think I saw my dog, Kobi, for three days. He was awfully clingy this past weekend because of it.  Sometimes if I'm not there, he doesn't eat.  He's kind of sensitive as dogs go.

     So, on top of work, church, dog, and I do have a husband somewhere in there, there was something else to add to the schedule.  Halloween.  More precisely a show the Saturday before Halloween in which I was singing a few songs with a local band called The Nevermind Project.  They do covers of alt-rock song's from the 90's like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Sponge, etc.  I think, Ben, the drummer, and I had talked about me performing in the show way back in August and I was so excited at the premise of being back on stage again.  I won't lie though; it was just a bad week for there to be a practice in the middle of everything else.  However, like with the rest of my schedule, I made no complaints and made it happen.  I was late, but I went...

     ...And it was the most "normal" I had felt in a long time!  When I started this blog I would say I was a proverbial "fish out of water..."  I guess make that a "starfish" out of water, but I was probably pretty lost career wise and personally as well.  The one thing I've learned over this last year and a half is the reason I didn't know which way was up about anything is because I was denying and not dealing with who I was at my very core being.  When you don't understand who you are, it'll mess you up pretty good for sure.  I'm not saying I'm going to go out, quit my day job, and tour around the country, not that that doesn't sound fabulous, but what I am saying is you still have to nurture in some way those things that are very key to who you are in some way.

     That's what I did during the Saturday night performance. What I didn't expect out of that experience are a few things far greater than just a simple indulgence of a permanent place in my soul.

     First, There was this wonderful variety of people who would also be performing in the show on Saturday. I should have mentioned previously that I wasn't the only one brought into the "Project."  I have really been preoccupied with the relational aspect of life these days and feel it's so very necessary in life to connect with those around us.  I try to actively engage in conversations with and really listen to others' perspectives on and about what they've been through in life. Make this life not all about you, you know?  So, I really liked meeting all these people, finding out what bands they have been in, and how they knew members of The Nevermind Project. I felt so at ease that all of the pressures from that week seemed to melt away momentarily.  I so enjoyed watching everyone show off their particular talent whether it be singing, drumming, or playing guitar or bass. All of us brought here to, well, put on a tremendous show for those willing to pay admission!  I was actually sad when I realized I needed to get going because I had to work in the morning.  Everyone was so great and wonderfully inviting.

     The other thing is it had been nine and a half years since I had been on a stage with a band.  During the run of the last band, I don't even know, even though I was singing, writing, and performing, that I was completely comfortable in my own skin.  I would get so nervous before shows that I could drink a six pack of beer and not feel a thing because of all of the adrenaline running through my body.  I would sometimes have panic attacks before shows.  I was really worried that would happen this time...and you know what?  Nothing happened.  No extreme nerves.  No need to pound alcohol.  That alone was remarkable.  What I realized later is, because of some of the things I have experienced while trying to "grab the starfish" it stopped being all about me.  I wasn't focused on "will everyone like me" or "will everyone think my voice sucks" or anything like that.  I got on that stage, a switch just "flipped" inside me, and I did my thing.  I didn't care what anyone thought and it was quite liberating.  I probably did a better job because of it.  I'll be honest; it felt amazing.  I'm not saying I didn't care about whether I did a good job for the band or the crowd or anything like that.  I did have a little bit of "good nerves" right before I went on, but I was no longer so self-conscious.  I don't need to be.  I never needed to be.  My true self always was and always has been good enough.

     My friend Jennifer texted me the next day and said, "you were so at home up there..."

     ...she was right. For the first time, I knew what "home" felt like.  I don't think I can stress the importance when grabbing your own starfish, of knowing, deep down, where your "home" is.  When you know that, you will always give the best performance of and in your life.

     I still have many weeks to go before the crazy schedules are over.  I just participated in a wedding, the church study picks back up again, there is another donation drive to get ready for, and the work issues are still numerous.  It doesn't seem like I've learned my lesson about saying "no," but I think this universe colliding busyness in conjunction with really feeling where I belong heart and soul is bringing some issues with my schedule to light.  It may not be until Thanksgiving that I finally slow down, but I had that one night of "home" and I know I will go there again soon... 

     .....Don't worry though, Kobi;  Momma will be physically home more often than she was that week!

Happy Fishing!


PS - For anyone curious, here I am with The Nevermind Project, featuring another guest for the evening, Cricket, on bass!  Remember it was Halloween...I lost my Hello Kitty head and paws for the second song!