How Can I Keep From Singing?

I was fretful all last night and half of today, trying to decide if MasterCard and I should register for the singing workshop with Dr. Barnwell So, I asked my sisterfriends for counsel. You know, those wise friends without whom the journey through this mid-life passage toward 50 is dangerous and rough.

Here’s what they told me

It has been my experience that when I submit to something that I can intellectually repudiate but still covet, magic happens. Go.

Go! Your soul’s voice is asking for what you can’t deny.

A former choir mate said: Go! You gotta sing so your soul can be nourished by cool, melodic notes sung from the depths of your heart and mind that reach your ancestral roots.

Another reminded me that my intention in arriving matters more than my assumptions about who else might show up. She described a similar circumstance where the one person who targeted her for mistreatment was the one face she was happiest to see walk in, because it looked like hers.

But the clincher was my no-nonsense friend Lynn, who said “Ok…be practical…YOU NEED THIS EXPERIENCE. It isn’t about the white people or the cost or living in a place of lack. It’s your personal celebration of an Intentional 50!

So, I won’t be blogging on my 50th birthday this October. I’ll be up in the Berkshire Mountains with Dr. Barnwell and a hundred strangers, belting out my intention to be a powerful voice in this world, singing from my soul.

And I’m gonna have to trust that MasterCard and I will work this one out, somehow.

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  • Laura  On April 5, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Ok, my 2 cents (pun intended): if you have not already paid, can you ask for sliding scale??
    Good luck. Sounds exciting!

  • Jen H  On April 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    many perfect gifts here: you hear your sisterfriends and your own heart. You going to celebrate and voicing your power. And sharing the gift of your story, both episodes (and more). I’m grateful, excited for you, honored

  • SueB  On April 6, 2011 at 12:13 am

    I’m so grateful for your wise sisterfriends! I think it’s the best idea! Glad ur going…

  • jude  On April 6, 2011 at 12:31 am

    SOOOO glad you are doing this. she is so amazing in performance – cant imagine the kind of time you will have with her. YAY!!!

  • Intentional50  On April 6, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Of course, my sisterfriends will not be joining me in Rowe… Having made the decision to go, I now need to figure out how to make this a joyful, emotionally safe space for myself. Those strings are no longer holding me back, but they are still there.

    New England is a Very Special Place to be a black woman. I am likely to be the only one in the room other than Dr.Barnwell (and she gets to leave after the workshop). I am already thinking about how to manage the likelihood of being a Lonely Only. I am anxious about what it will be like to watch others cheerfully experience my culture as tourists, while I come to it with the desperation borne of isolation. I am already trying to figure out how to keep my heart open while dealing with folks saying and doing awkward, hurtful things in their attempts to connect. Or, being aware of their attempts not to connect. New England is a small place, so how I handle this really matters: I am likely to encounter these people again in my personal and professional life.

    I have no doubt that singing under Dr. Barnwell’s direction will be an incredible experience. I am praying for a miracle: a busload of sisters arriving from New Haven or Albany, perhaps Boston? And I am more aware than ever that finding a way to thrive when I live in a place of cultural isolation and constant hurtfulness is part of what it will take to arrive at fifty with strength and power.

  • Pedal Paradise  On April 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I’m glad you decided to go – you have to sing. You have to sing. This is your experience, claim it for yourself, and make no apologies for it. It is your gift to you. Just as the music you will be singing is our culture’s gift to the world.


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