Two years ago, I met the kind of friend that inspired the love of all other friendships throughout time. Time stood still when we were together. Thanks to the transient nature of life, and in particular the lives of international teachers, we had only one year to spend together. Our first long weekend away as two couples cemented the friendship, and we spent many others that year. We cooked, walked, yoga-ed, talked, and planned the school we one day hoped to open. We wrote for hours in a happy co-existence. And we always, always had music. These two had guitars hanging in their living room. She played violin, he kept a steady beat. They always had the right song on to set the perfect mood.
“I wrote a poem,” I told her one day.
“Read it.” she said, matter of factly, as if reading a poem you’d written wasn’t scary at all.
So I did.
And as I did, she began to strum on her guitar.
“Should we add a chorus?” she asked, our second weekend away.
“Sure, why not?” I was giddy with nervousness, and the fact that there was nothing to be nervous about at all. All through childhood I had been told I couldn’t sing, but suddenly it wasn’t about could or couldn’t. It felt so good to feel the vibration of notes not quite hit, to know that flat chord was my own voice ringing out in our tiny pinhole camera of the universe. There was no one but us to hear it anyways, and we were just having some fun.
Quickly I discovered what a rush the act of creating can be. Taking something that didn’t exist before and making it real. It’s a shame how often I have allowed fear to ruin that high, to dampen my spirit, to keep me out of ‘harm’s way’. And for me, doing it alongside someone else, sharing not only the experience but the potential, was the ultimate expression. We are social beings after all, no?
Soon, we began to practice Wednesdays after yoga class. Relaxed and refreshed, we added new chords, changed words, worked on memorization, all while the men cooked us dinner and we harboured no guilt about the second bottle of wine.
When we shared our piece with our writing club, the response was so positive and heartwarming that it truly began to override the fear. Then, at the end of the year, we organized a picnic and Newlywed game for some other teachers at the school. We needed performers to share in between game show rounds.
You can see where this is going.
In the end, it isn’t the words themselves, or the feeling of sharing something intimate with friends and coworkers, or even the rush of the performance itself that stays with me. It is the creative process: a pilgrimage of taking risks with whatever you are capable of in that moment and knowing that it is completely worth it for the feeling of living inside the journey from thoughts, to words on a page, to collaboration and sound, and ending in a final piece I can share with a click.
What a crazy world indeed.
Today, on International Women’s Day, I am posting a recording of the poem (here and fb) for the first time. It isn’t a professional recording, and it isn’t perfect. But in celebration of my favourite thing about being a woman – the bolstering, supportive, without-which-I’d-be-a-completely-different-human-being friendships inspired by sharing who are you with each other, and going through the ups and downs together – I figured it was worth the risk.
3/8 – #SOL18