Alternate Reality and Alter Ego

I promised that I would be pushing the proverbial envelope with regard to my music and songwriting career, and I am a keeper of promises!

This past Thursday was Halloween. I have not dressed up or gone out for a Halloween event in over a decade.

For Halloween 2013, I decided to dress in the personage of my alter ego. Essentially, I was working to shed my inhibitions and push my self far out of my comfort zone. Self-stretching, you might call it. It is character and confidence building, and it can even be fun!

I am a closet introvert and a complete homebody. I am paid by day to be an extrovert, and by the end of the day I am exhausted. Typically, I like to head home from work, drop my bags (carefully, of course…my laptop would otherwise be in pieces), immediately don pajamas, and settle in for a cozy evening of wine drinking and movie watching.

Did I mention I am a homebody? I can stay up late if I am cozy in my pajamas, but staying up late at an outside of the home venue is an entirely different story.

Nearly Wednesday since July, I have been pushing my self out of my introvert, comfort zone to perform at a local open mic at bar in downtown Lowell. I was completely out of my element at first, and I only knew one person. Yet, after multiple months, I feel like I have become part of a musical family of folk.

That being said, two nights of playing music out is not a regular habitude for me. But I wanted to go out in support of my musician friends, who had been planning a night of musical performance. I had not signed up to play because I figured my style of music might not befit a Halloween evening of performance. But one of the coordinators posted “where’s marieke in the lineup?” I was so touched, that I jumped at the chance.

Jumping meant that I had to figure out what to play, and fast. It also meant letting my alter ego out of her bag for a second night of performance. I could not just sit back and blend in with the crowd.

I decided that if I was truly going to go all out, I needed to choose songs that I would never dare to play. Musician friends had made suggestions of Joan Jett tunes, etc., but I was not sure I could really do it. I have never been a badass, and wailing is still something I am working on. I practiced for hours. Somehow, wailing while playing a ukulele seemed more humorous than badass, but I was determined.

1401267_10100686492809960_1058437670_oThen, it was time to get dressed. My alter ego had to wear clothing I would never ever wear. I already had an outfit in mind—a revealing, black dress from Russia (revealing in my mind, at least); netted, black tights, boots, a wig of long, straight, jet black hair, and black lipstick (I have not worn makeup since my days of dance recitals when I was in elementary and middle school.

When I looked in the mirror, I did not recognize my self. I felt more than a bit foolish. But I was still determined, so I headed out. When I walked into the bar, people I knew walked right by me. I watched and listened to my friends perform, waiting and wondering if I would pull off my own performance.

Then, I headed up. The first song was one I knew well, “Tugboat” by Victor Vox. I gave my self permission to play one comfortable one. The second was a Cat Power tune, “Naked If I Want To.” It was a quieter one, and I could not really tell if anyone was listening. In hindsight, I probably should have chose differently. The third tune was the tune. Joan Jett “Do You Wanna Touch Me.”

A friend was kind enough to back me up for all three on the drums. I turned around, and he asked which one I wanted to do next. I told him in a reticent, questioning tone, the kind one uses to both ask and tell. He responded encouragingly and began banging out the rhythm.

“This last one’s for you, Kelly,” I called out. “So you better sing with me!”

Before I could think too deeply, I started strumming. I strummed for a minute, building up my nerve. Then, I just started belting out the tune, hoping everything would be ok.

It was so noisy in the bar, I wasn’t sure if anyone was singing along. But I made it through the entire tune. My wig fell off at the very end, and everyone burst out laughing. Pretty good ending. in my book.

1455872_738774612803834_968854857_nPeople came up to me after and told me it was a great set. Even if they were just being nice, I was thrilled and grateful for their support and kind words. My alter ego has since willingly crawled back into her bag, but it was fun letting her out. Maybe, I will try to give her some air time more often.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s