20 July 2011

singing in the car

A few weeks ago, my mama emailed me this article from the American Express OPEN Forum, which proves that American Express really is everywhere you want to be: they're even on the Internet.

And on the Internet, they're helping small business owners with articles like "5 Reasons to Keep a Work Diary" and "The Toll Financial Stress Takes on Your Employees."

So I don't own a business, but I do keep a diary—I prefer the term journal—so my mama thought I'd find that article on keeping a work diary interesting.

As a sidenote, I'm very picky about my journals. I do not like there to be any label on the front, saying that it's a Diary or a Journal or My Thoughts. This same rule applies to photo albums: no Photos or Memories or Special Times or Dang, I Should've Taken More Pictures labelling. It's too obvious, this labelling, and while I know it sounds like a ridiculous rule to have, it's one I'm sticking by.

I like it when my mama sends me articles. Often the come in the mail with Post-it Notes attached.

Found this interesting!

Thought you'd like to see this!

See you Friday!
{I like this one—when she doesn't explain why I'm getting a particular clipping since it's just that obvious, like the wedding announcement of a girl I went to high school with.}

I once got a fat envelope from her that contained articles on:

  • my grandpa—about how happy he was to be living at Sunnybrook, the retirement community in Burlington. After reading it, I wanted to move there.
  • my high school cheerleading coach, who'd been named Iowa Cheer Coach of the Year.
  • the Aldo Leopold movie that premiered in Burlington. You don't know who Aldo Leopold is? I'm shocked. And saddened. Go Google him now. Then come back here and tell me what you've learned.

So an emailed article from a website is the logical next step for my mama, and I appreciated an article all on journalling.

Then, in that way that happens on the Internet, I ended up on another article called "8 Ways to Get More Time for Yourself." The article suggested things like exercising and reading and having coffee dates, all things I already do, so I felt pretty good about my me-time.

{Although interestingly enough, even though I do most of the things in the article, I still felt drawn to this article about getting more time for me, me, me, me. Why is it that no matter how much time we have, we still long for more? That's a big question to tackle another day, another time.}

And then the last tip was this:

Sing It Like You Mean It
My entrepreneurial uncle once told me that every time he had a meeting with a client, he would spend the entire drive over with the car radio blasting, singing along at the top of his lungs. My uncle said singing along helped him speak more powerfully and clearly when he got to the meeting. Better, he said it made him feel happier, more confident, and more energized every single time.

When is the last time you belted out your favorite songs word for word like your life depended on it? Do it and you'll see benefits in life and work, too.

Not that I need any more justification for singing in the car, but still—I like this tip.

I've used it quite a bit myself, mostly with, I will admit, musicals. Musicals, you know, are compressed emotions, all set to music. They can give us space to be sad or angry or perky or lovelorn, all by using someone else's story.

I am not above using The Music Man or Ragtime or In the Heights as emotional segues. It's not that I'm distancing myself from the emotion by turning to another narrative; no, it's more that we all, in some way, need other story arcs to give us a framework for what's happening to us.

Whether it's movies or books or musicals or other people: I think that when we turn outward, we're looking for proof that we're not alone. We're not lonely. We're not the only one.

And so I sing along with musicals.

Example: Once, when I was driving to have a very difficult conversation with this guy, I listened, over and over, to this song from In the Heights: "It Won't Be Long Now."

This is a girl power kind of song. Strong Latin beat that makes even my non-moving hips want to move.

A lot of that "I'm independent and what do you think about that?" feel, all in my alto range {girl power songs are often in the alto range, btw}.

Confidence. Strength. Shake the hips. All good things when you're on your way to a hard talk.

There are these lines:
The boys along the way
Holler at me when I'm walking down the street
Their machismo pride doesn't break my stride-
It's a compliment, so they say...

And even though the boy I was on my way to meet wasn't full of machismo pride, I still belted. I needed that edge from the song to walk into the cafe and not doubt my own decision. I needed the song's belief that even though this was scary, I was doing the right thing.

So I sang it like I meant it, and I got through the conversation.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, so true! I love when that perfect song comes along -- the one that can carry you through a difficult time, and then later be a reminder of how much you kick ass for having gotten through it.

    In the last while it's been Florence & the Machine's "Dog Days of Summer" for me. It was my this-relationship-is-so-messed-up song, and then my break-up song, and has finally become my I'm-happy-again song. I've almost blown out my speakers (and my voice) belting it in the car, and it leaves me feeling tough and capable and on top of the world every time.



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