Written in 2010:
In 2004 I started writing songs. I had been writing poetry in a journal since I was 14–I was told that the things I wrote were crazy but I kept writing anyway because it made me feel better. At that time I trusted those closest to me more than I trusted myself and so when I was criticized for my singing too it broke my heart and I gave up on my dream to sing. But my soul kept making me sing and write anyway–in secret. I started learning the guitar at 17 (A boyfriend bought it for me). I slowly started learning to play chords to my favorite songs. These were songs by Carole King, James Taylor, and Linda Ronstadt. (Later on it was songs by Bonnie Raitt and Sheryl Crow). I sang in the a capella choir in college and got great praise but I didn’t believe it. If I was good then those I trusted most would have told me, right? I had stagefright and gave up on my dream.
When my eldest child went off to college and my husband started traveling more throughout the week I had more time to myself and suddenly one day I was inspired to put music to the poem I was writing in my journal. I remember a melody came to me and it seemed as a gift from above to go with these words I was writing. Not until after I was done writing it (long hand) with this melody in my head did I pick up the guitar to try to play it and miraculously it fit perfectly with the few chords I knew well. I recorded it on a tape recorder and during a rare and brave moment I dared to show it to my other child’s voice teacher who really liked it and said “you are a folk singer/songwriter” and also that he was jealous because he had a masters in music and couldn’t write any songs. This first song was entitled I’ll Believe and I feel that this song may have been a gift from above and that I had just been open to receive it and put it all together. After that, songs just started pouring out of me and I always put the date on every song I write because it is important to me to acknowledge when it was given to me.
Not only that, each song was prompted by an emotional state and a painful learning experience. Sometimes I would feel a lot of shame after the song was complete because I dared to pour out my truth (as a child I had been emotionally punished for expressing certain feelings). I soon realized that my best songs were the ones I felt the most shame about initially. Then I would make myself listen to a tape or CD of my recorded songs whenever I was feeling bad about myself. Every time I felt revived and hopeful again. It was a very healing experience as I saw myself getting more and more confident in expressing my “voice” in more ways than one. I realized that because of the internalized shame I was beating myself up all the time and it was up to me to start believing in myself and to stop believing the inner critic inside my head. It had been a lie! I was actually good. I was finding my voice as a person as well and speaking up for myself and standing up for myself in all areas of my life. My children and husband are very supportive and they bought me the computer software and hardware to record more professionally.
So it is the music that I feel helped me to find my true self and true voice and I hope that it will be a source of hope and healing to you as well. I always called them my “Songs of Hope and Healing” and that is the inspiration for the name of this website. Now (2014) I am working on recording my songs professionally. Please let me know if there are some lyrics that are an inspiration to you. Thank you for your support. 😀
(For a more detailed and more in depth version of this article, please see the post on Jan. 28, 2010 On Overcoming Self-doubt: The Story Behind My Songs of Hope and Healing.)