Bedframe Breakdown

I imagine a lot of tears have been shed over the years that
people have attempted to assemble IKEA furniture. Luckily, now they have
completely eliminated all language, so
you get a
Ziggy-looking dude
smiling at you, and lots of pictures with “x”s through them as they indicate
the proper size widget you need to use.
However, I wonder how many people are brought to tears
because of a full-blown emotional breakdown while assembling IKEA furniture.
Yesterday, that was me. Sitting in the open center of the
assembled “Brown-Black” bedframe, I began, suddenly to cry. That cry became a sob,
and that sobbing became wailing. WTF.
To accompany me on my single-handed, self-sufficiency
journey of furniture assemblage, I listened in a row to three albums of artists
I love and rarely listen to. I rarely listen to albums all the way through,
what with the advent of the shuffle setting on my iPod, and the theft of all my
actual albums a few years ago. But, I knew I wanted a theme to guide my work,
to get into a groove, into a mood, and so I listened to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire
, Ari Hest’s Twelve
, and lastly, cue breakdown,
Dave Hause’s Resolutions.
While listening to the Dave Hause, I began to sing along. I
began to sing along in a way that I don’t really do that much. In a
whole-hearted, but not like overly dramatic, just a full way. Full, is the word
for it. I was full with the words I mimicked, and the words were these, over
and over: Pray for Tuscon, Pray
for me; Yeah, Pray for Tuscon, Pray for me
And I sang, in my gut, in my belly, in my heart, as I screwed the
eight-thousandth manual screw into the frame. And I started to cry.
There is something you should know about me that very few
people know, because I keep it private, and a secret: I love to sing. I more
than love to sing, it is a source of joy for me, a source of filling up from
the inside that nothing, nothing,
NOTHING else in the world offers me. Nothing.
Not painting or drawing, not writing or playing the piano (which often leads to singing, but not always), not performance or
acting. No one knows this, because I am ashamed. I am ashamed of how much it
means to me, and the fear that I’m “not good enough.” I am ashamed because I
don’t want to “sing pretty,” but because I want to sing passionately, and those
don’t always intersect. I am ashamed because I want to sing in a rock and roll
band, and I feel too square, and too removed from any of those characters. I am
ashamed of my visceral, incredible desire and passion for singing because I give
it so little credence, I’m embarrassed to mention it.
It’s like saying you have a life passion for cooking, but
you always make microwave dinners.
If you only let yourself pick up a vegetable and a knife,
your heart would soar, but you don’t.
Partly, I feel ashamed of my passion and desire to sing
because I feel that I am such a magpie of creative endeavors, I feel that singing becomes just another item in a long List of things Molly would Love to
. But not something actually worth paying much attention to, because the
subtitle of that list is, But she Doesn’t.
I grabbed onto the railing of the bedframe, and I ached. I
called for mercy, for help, for guidance. I cried at the stark reality that LIFE
, unpredictable, and I almost lost
mine. I almost lost my whole and entire life, without doing that which
ultimately brings me the most joy in the world. I almost stepped out of all
experiences ever, without allowing myself to do the thing that makes me alive.
I cried that I couldn’t be taken away from this yet. That I must, that I have to be allowed the time to try, to do this, to allow myself to pursue
I was almost taken away. I was almost ended. And my fear,
and my procrastination, and my dismissal of myself almost allowed for it.
I recently read Bel Canto, a novel by Ann Patchett. In the book, a character, a guerilla, jungle
insurgent begins to sing during the several-month hostage situation with a
world-famous soprano. When he begins to sing, the whole audience is flattened.
This voice, Ann writes, almost died in the jungle. No one would have ever known
about it, nor would he himself; it would have just died.
I’ve been talking with others lately about “the burden of
potential,” and the soul-cry to engage in the things we feel drawn to, and I’ve been reading about the strength of vulnerability.
Over the years, I have taken
private voice lessons with a jazz singer. And then stopped. I have trolled
craigslist ads for bands looking for a singer, and even recorded a sample of
myself trying too hard and sent it to two bands who weren’t interested. For a
period of time, I was looking back at these ads every few months, but too
ashamed to try, feeling musically uneducated, and vocally untrained. Because,
the truth is, I don’t really know how to sing in a rock and roll band. I know
how to sing like me, and even that is so rusty, the pipes are red with
So, who can help me with this? Who I don’t feel ashamed to
be myself with, because, obviously, I really really cannot do this on my own.
I texted a friend of mine that I was having an existential
crisis, and wondered if I could come sing with her jazz band in practice.
I got back to screwing the 8,000 and one’th screw … Surrounding myself with new stuff, updating my image, as if these are numbing agents, as if they work, as if a new bed could be a balm or a substitute for actually living my life … I bawled
I texted another friend of mine, one who is actually in a
rock and roll band, and asked him if I could practice singing with him, not
with his band. Because, I’m not really brave enough for that yet.
Both answered, Yes, of course.
I have to take action around this. The whole “Life is short”
thing is so aching right now. That I could let another decade go when I don’t
engage this desire –, well, it’s more than criminal. It’s disastrous. And it is neglectful and abhorrent of the fact of Life itself, that not everyone gets.
These two people I’ve asked are people I trust, and who I
don’t mind not being perfect around. Because, as I’m reading, the key to being
vulnerable, the key to being brave, to making change, is to allow ourselves to
be imperfect. To embrace that we are exactly who we are, and that is enough.
I don’t know anything beyond the fact that I will call these
friends today and “set something up.” I don’t know what that means, what it
will look like. But I know that the passion I felt as I shook the wooden slats,
like bars on a prison … – it is not that I am “unwilling” to be silent anymore,
it is that I have become unable. 

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