The fingers of my left hand are partially numb, partially pained, because I just picked up my guitar for the first time in too long, and grabbed my lyrics book, and played some of my songs, and my fingers have no calluses left, and I don’t remember some of the chords, and I wasted my potential, but there’s beauty there still, and I think I am desperate for someone to hear it. To hear what my soul needed to expess. To hear it.
And I’m not sure anyone ever will.
And I have lived with that understanding for such a long time, that I’m not sure there’s much space left in me to believe that someone ever will.
I’m not sure what my fantasy is. My mother told me when I was young my singing wasn’t convincing, and that the songs I liked to sing didn’t suit my voice. One major ex said it wasn’t that I had a bad voice, he just didn’t like the things I sang. Another said it was a shame I couldn’t really play guitar, because I have a nice voice. Those are the opinions I internalised. The people that said nice try.
I ignored that my headteacher orchestrated extra opportunities for me to sing publicly. Or that multiple family friends fervently encouaraged me to keep singing as though it was important. I ignored the strangers that came up to me after performances to tell me they were moved. I ignored the complementary comments of friends and acquaintances when I displayed my songs in places they could see. I probably even, to be fair to them, ignored more positive sentiments from the people whose lukewarm opinions I absorbed. I never let them reach me, because I chose instead to believe the words that confirmed I was okay, but not good enough to take up space. And I bound myself in the knowledge that I would never be able to dedicate myself enough, to get good enough to take up space.
So probably what I’m hoping for is for someone to look at me, eyes wide, jaw clenched, not quite breathing. Maybe a quiet ‘fuck…‘ Because anything less than a profound, authentic demonstration of emotional resonance will quite likely be dismissed as kindness. I will be grateful for their generosity, but it won’t convince me of anything.
The thing is, though, I demonstrate that resonance myself. Sometimes I play a song and then gape and laugh a bit and have to walk around the room shaking my hands out. So, what more do I need from it, really?
Maybe no-one else will ever hear it. But I hear it.