Comfort is a nice warm and fuzzy state of being that makes us feel safe, secure and protected. But it can also make us stagnant, resistant to growth and lazy. Don't get me wrong, comfort is not a completely bad thing, but when you are so comfortable in your environment that you become predictable and stale, sometimes you need to shake things up. Do something radical. Something you never in a million years thought you would ever do. Trust me, it feels great!
Two years ago I turned 40 and knew I wanted to mark the occasion with something besides a hangover. For whatever reason I'd always had this fantasy of being a lounge singer, a la Michelle Pfiffer in the Fabulous Baker Boys, and thought I'd do something as terrifying as singing in public. I enlisted my good friend Sally Taylor to play guitar for me and we'd put on a mini concert. I chose to do it Boston where I have a ton of friends and knew I'd have support. (I figured at least they wouldn't throw tomatoes or heckle me if I sucked since they were my friends.)
I traveled a few times from New York to Boston to practice with Sally at her home and from our first session I wondered just what the heck I'd decided to do. We already had a venue booked and Sally being the progeny of Carly Simon and James Taylor increased my anxiety as she is from fantastic musical stock and is an accomplished singer/songwriter herself, and I was, well...I don't know what I was but musician wasn't anywhere in my title.
But Sally was great and supportive. She was patient as I creaked and crooked my way through the songs we were to do as we prepared for the big day. I'd been doing my own practices (doing chords while walking my dog down the street in New York looking and sounding nuts, I'm sure) and was finally ready for my "debut."
Sally did me a solid and performed a solo first while I sat next to her just getting used to being on stage, my heart pounding in my chest the entire time. A brief few moments later, I was up. Oh boy. My-turning-40-and-doing-something-crazy-moment was here and I was absolutely petrified. As a model I found it easier to walk a runway or undress in front of strangers than what I was about to do. Finally, I opened my mouth and sang.
I made it through our four song set relieved as all get out and better for having had put myself through the experience. My friends showed love and were very kind in their praise and applause and Sally had made me feel like a million bucks with the confidence she had inspired in me. I had effectively taken a big leap outside of my comfort zone and had lived to tell the tale.
Taking a break from rehearsing before the show. Sally was totally relaxed to my terrified state. Look at my eyes. There was fear there!