Tonight I had to cancel a show that I had been preparing for — that I had pretty much revolved my whole life outside of work around — for the past two months.

For some reason — or reasons — this show meant the world to me. It held all of my passion and drive captive. It felt like I was taking the biggest leap to the moon because, for once, I was actually excited about performing in front of people. After so many years — a whole lifetime — of stage fright, I was excited.

And what I finally realized just last night, the biggest thing of all, is that it represented a moment where — before even stepping on stage, before I might receive any praise from anyone else — I completely believed that I would do an incredible job by my own standards. It was that self-validation, that I know I’m still in the process of working on, that I felt I was realizing.

I was working with two other singers on this show, as well as an event organizer who is a musician in his own right and had brought us together. He supported us, promoted us, put us on a pedestal. He was on the ball, so wonderfully communicative, making sure we were on the right track towards putting on a great night. He motivated me with our messages and conversations. He believed in us.

Him and I talked about our similar approach to putting on a show like this — that, while there was passion and fun involved, it was work. You put in the work and you get back so much more. And it wasn’t even about me hoping that “more” meant more performing opportunities. Whatever it led to might not even have to do with music.

But it was the lesson I have learned throughout my whole life, in which things have not been handed to me, that great opportunities that come along can and do lead to things that change your whole life around for the better, that change your perspectives for the better, that connect you to people who by virtue of knowing them make you better … if you put in the work.

So, I put in the work. I canceled plans when I felt even remotely exhausted because I didn’t want to get sick. Or I refused to make plans and explained that I need to stay home because I wanted to practice or rest. I drank almost nothing in the past month to preserve my voice. I studied my music, practiced my guitar playing.

But at the same time, I found myself going through continuous stress. Some of it related to the show. Some of it related to life. And I just kept telling myself that I needed to self-care. I needed to write about it. I needed to rest more. I needed to make healthy choices. I needed to meditate. I needed to let go of the frustration, bitterness, resentment and be accepting, adapting and compassionate.

I told myself that there were much bigger problems in life — like people getting their houses bombed in other countries — and that I had been through way worse in life, so I was going to be just fine.

And then, I got sick. And I have no issue saying that it was no fault of my own. But, wow, it was demoralizing. It was a slap in the face. It was a message from some asshole in the wings that it didn’t matter how hard I had tried, I was doomed to always get sick.

And yet, still, I told myself I had to stay positive. Because stressing would not help me get better, it would make me worse. And people would frown at me and wag their fingers if I didn’t do everything possible to be well for the show. And why was this such a big deal anyway? It. Was. Just. A. Show. Even if I couldn’t sing in it, I would be fine. Life would most definitely go on.

But I wasn’t fine. I was stressed. I was mad. I was disappointed.

It’s so ironic in a way, because while I have no real need to perform — like the kind of need I have to be in nature or to write music — I felt that my contribution to others in performing was to give them permission to feel.

I was willing to lay all of my emotions — pain, sadness, sensuality, despair, anger, hope — out on the table and through doing that, to let people know that it’s okay to feel these things.

I have always believed that one of the greatest, and most common, travesties in life is that people don’t let themselves feel. They bottle things up. They feel ashamed or scared of showing their emotions.

And here I was — after all that — not allowing myself to just feel. Why? Because I needed to be strong, be the “bigger person”, be there for others going through worse, be a “better me”.

I have cried non-stop the last two days. For so many reasons that go well beyond the unravelling of the show. As I was reminded today, in the past year I have checked off so many boxes on the Life Stressors list. And through it all, I don’t really know how much I have let myself truly grieve and accept that — while I’m stronger now — these things have still made their deep impact on me.

Crying has been exhausting. But it has been needed after so many self-denials to cry. Of course, I will pick myself up. I will do what I need to do to not spiral to a dangerous low. But in the meantime, I will cut myself some fricking slack and just let myself feel like the human being that I am.

~ Janice <3


18 thoughts on “Feelings

  1. I’m hoping you are in a better place now, emotionally. Though from your latest post, I can see that you’ve been travelling and and having yourself a good time. Couldn’t be happier for you! Looking forward to more of your travel diaries and covers. P.S can I still do song requests like ol’ times? <3

  2. I don’t know why it took me so long to find your blog on WordPress. Glad I did. Finally read through your post. Loved it. Love you. I’ll be at your next show when you are ready. I’m so proud of you and hearing you sing makes my heart warm. Keep it up, share your love and voice again soon. Sickness be gone! Lol

    • Lil!! Hehe no worries, I’m glad you’re here now :) Thanks for your encouragement and support..and love!..it means a lot. I have another show coming up, will tell you about it soon! Love you!

    • Eryn!! Thank you so much for your very sweet comment and hugs. A big hug back! I am feeling much better now about everything :) I hope you are doing well! Xoxo

  3. Well I just found you on MusesMuse (in the OpenMic thread) & totally admire you and hope to read/hear soon about a next awesome gig!! :)

    • Hey Andreya! Very cool, so nice to meet a fellow Muser here :) Thanks so much for your sweet comment and encouragement! Hope to find some time to get back on the Muse, maybe I’ll see you over on that side ;)

  4. I already know I’ve said “sorry to hear that” a couple of times already but knowing how much it meant to you I can’t help but express it again.

    I think over the past couple years I’ve realized that the it takes courage in facing our emotions, to ignore them is to be dishonest with ourselves. So I say, feel away..

    Over the years I’ve known you, it took a couple of years till I heard you sing at a karaoke, a couple of more years you picked up the guitar, a couple of more years later you were writing your own music, then last year I got to see you win over your stage freight. You’ve come a long way, so for this to happen your feelings are understandable.
    For what it’s worth I’m proud of how far you’ve come and your amount of conviction (something I think I’ve always noticed) has always been an inspiration to me.

    Get well! This is just a hiccup, you will own that stage again real soon!

    • Now that I’m not feeling so sad about things, I can reply with a clear head :) It was so awesome to read your comment because you articulated what I couldn’t — that long, slow journey in finding courage, rediscovering and expressing my love for music — and this show was kinda the next step in that journey. That’s why it was so important I suppose. It wasn’t just about performing. Thanks for understanding and your thoughtful words, as always. And glad if I could ever inspire anyone! :)

  5. Hey, I guess there is the Murphy’s Rule or Law, whatever can go wrong probably will go wrong at the absolute worst time. Is that it? Not sure. But it seems that you had that GREAT FEELING that you KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO NAIL IT!! I love that feeling, and it does not come often enough. Felt like giving you the old pep talk thing. Take care.

    • Haha well, you know what? I think part of it is selective memory. We really remember those disappointing moments, but there are also the ones we look forward to just as much and they do work out. Cant have it all :) You’re right though, it’s empowering just to know that I did have that great feeling that I was going to nail it. And maybe that’s all I need this time around — the memory of the process despite no desired outcome. Thanks for the pep talk. Always welcome :)

      • I hear you! Selective. Remembering the outright pain of smashing one’s thumb with a hammer. One giant swelling thumb. Damn that Hurt! Rather than a room full of folks giving you the THUMBS UP! so I give you a THUMBS UP :)

  6. It sucks that you had to cancel, but it’s also good you are letting it out now. I learned a valuable lesson about letting the sad and bad stuff fester for too long. It’s best to get it over with as soon as you can, which in turn lets you bounce back faster.

    You’ll get them next time. You’ll come back stronger and better than ever before. :)

    • Thank you Nhan :) I have learned that valuable lesson too. Sometimes it’s a fine balance between staying strong and positive versus shoving feelings aside that need to be addressed. Always a good learning from everything. Thanks again for all your encouragement and support!

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