My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.
I sing with a local cover band. Tonight we played for four hot, exhausting hours (outdoor stage, middle America, middle of August) at a Mexican restaurant. I *do* love singing with this band, because I really love to sing/perform and I also really need the cash.
(Aside: I was recently accused of singing with this band "just for the money" by someone in my church who was concerned I was losing my focus on God. Does this person have any idea how little money local musicians gigging in restaurants actually make? Please.)
Anyway, I knew tonight would be a set-up on a couple different levels. First of all, they always give us lots of free food and drinks. Now I love a good beer as much as the next guy, but - at least for today - alcohol is not in my food plan because of its sugar content. And oh, the tacos and nachos and burritos! It's like the Holy Trinity of food!
But I was OK. I knew I would be... but I checked in with a program friend, texting between sets, just to make sure. I drank my free Diet Cokes with gusto and said a polite "no thanks" whenever the server came around with food.
The other challenge to me in a setting like that is far more insidious. I tend to start thinking about what I look like vs. what I think a lead singer in a band should look like. I don't really measure up. I can sing, let me tell you, and I'm pretty good at the "performing" part of it too... Saying the right things, getting the crowd up and dancing, etc. But that's where I get tripped up too. When I'm performing, I don't know how to just be myself. What is this elusive "myself" anyway?
I texted the aforementioned program friend, who assured me, "A lead singer of a band looks like YOU!" That was cool. And, apparently it's true. Because tonight the lead singer of our band looked an awful lot like me.
The title of tonight's post comes from a Dave Matthews Band song that I sang tonight, "So Much To Say." I had just read my friend's text when I sang these lyrics:
I find sometimes it's easy to be myself.
Sometimes I find it's better to be somebody else..
I don't know if I found it easy tonight, but I was at least reminded that I'm OK the way I am, that my body isn't out of place on the stage. That no one is distracted by my 50 pounds of excess weight. Well, at least not distracted like I am.
And the whole "better to be somebody else" thing... Well, part of that is my job as a performer. I have to be bigger than life and move around and at least TRY to look comfortable, even when I'm not. It's a fine line.
I didn't like my shirt tonight. It was a little too snug for my comfort... I want to be able to move freely and dance, and I do... but tonight I felt a little constricted. Note to self: Find a comfortable shirt to wear tomorrow. (We have another gig tomorrow afternoon.)
I'm up way too late. I have to be up at 5:30 (in just five hours!) to prepare for church. I've already packed a snack for tomorrow mid-morning, since I'm going to have a long stretch between my breakfast at 5:30 and my lunch at noon. Then I'll dash home, make lunch, put on clothes for the show, then get to the gig and play for three hours... Then at 4:00, I'll pack up and head to the church again, where I'll do reading and writing to prepare for my phone call with my sponsor at 5:30. Then another church meeting at 6. Then I'll go home and crash.
I'll try to sneak in three program calls in the midst of all that chaos. Think anyone will pick up?
(Aside: That three-calls-a-day requirement actually brings more anxiety into my life than the food plan! Especially if people are not picking up their phones... I'm grateful for the three who picked up today after I called probably eight people and left messages. When I *do* get on the phone, I'm always thankful... It's just the weight of having to make the calls that brings the anxiety.)
I am so grateful for you, my program friends, who love me and support me. I am grateful for a Higher Power who created me, loves me and desires the best for me. I am grateful that I get to partner with God to bring about His will on this earth. I am grateful for a voice to sing and opportunities to use it, both vocationally and recreationally.
I am grateful for a home (my very own home!), a loving wife and four amazing kids. I get a lump in my throat when I think of this sweet family, all sleeping soundly under this roof in the silence at 12:38am.
I will rest tonight, knowing that I am in the loving hands of God. Goodnight!