caught in my tin can

I got caught singing in my car today.

I was in full-on concert mode; not pretending to be Adele, but pretending that her song was my song and I was on stage fully bringing it to my adoring audience.  The crowd was vast, waving their iphones with the candle-app; I think I was even doing the closed-eye thing singers do when they are really feeling the groove.

Just as I hit the chorus, I got completely snagged. I was doing a little hand motion thing, fist clenched with passionate intensity, when I felt eyes on me. Not the eyes of my adoring imaginary audience, but real eyes from the car speeding up next to mine. My heart beat out of my chest.  I had that horribly mortified feeling like I just stepped out of the shower and dropped my towel accidentally in front of a crowd.

As I was cruising along in my little tin can on the highway, I forgot, in that private moment, that I was, in fact, out in public.

We all do things we wouldn’t do if we knew someone else was watching. We all do things in front of some people that we might not do in front of others. In so many instances, we put away pieces of ourselves for others. We have our “at home” self and our “in public” self.  We are careful about what we say. We rein ourselves in. As we were taught as kids, we demonstrate self-control.  We diligently protect ourselves. We carefully protect others from ourselves.

I don’t mean to imply that not putting oneself completely out there is bad. The world would be pretty nuts if we all just said and did exactly what we were thinking all of the time; I mean, there’s something to be said for a little bit of decorum!  But as we tuck pieces of ourselves away, out of fear or shame or insecurity, we risk losing what is most wonderful about each of us.

So where is the line? When does putting away who we are when no one is looking to be who we are in front of others become a compromise of our own integrity? How far do we let the fear of not being accepted take us?

Teenagers are in the thick of this. I see it every day as I witness their wade through the deep waters of figuring themselves out.  While they are rolling in the deep, the older I get the more I feel like I just take the occasional plunge. I thought for sure I would wake up one magical day and not care one bit what anyone else thought of me.  Do I dare admit that I sometimes care? And if I admit that I care, do I somehow compromise my own character?

With each day I grow more comfortable with the fact that I do care, that I do censor myself to a degree.  Each day I grow more at ease with admitting that rather than trying to hide yet another piece of myself by pretending that I don’t.  For me, that’s as authentic as I can be right now.

There are people in this crazy world with whom I don’t have to put any pieces of myself away.  With each day, I realize the incredible value of spending my time with those people.

And so there I was, wanting to just speed away from whoever was in the next lane over without ever looking at them.  Just as I was about to accelerate away from the embarrassing confrontation, something in the air made me duct-tape the mouth of my innerjudge.  I faced my fear, and there in the next lane, in the car with all of the eyes, was my dear friend B with her husband and their three kids; all of whom I love.  They were all frantically waving and laughing and giddy at seeing me in concert.

I laughed and waved back, still singing.


23 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. crista
    Dec 28, 2011 @ 20:36:47

    I love you girlie, and I can so picture this scene playing out.


  2. Becky
    Dec 28, 2011 @ 20:41:50

    Atta girl! Love this question and enjoy the struggle for the balance…it always reminds me of my mother and how endearing it was when she let go and lost a bit of her decorum struggle.


  3. Rayne
    Dec 28, 2011 @ 20:49:07

    I pretended to be Adele in the bathroom yesterday…shine on my beautiful aunt!


  4. Bethany
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 00:25:06

    Despite the fact that we almost got into a car accident on the 84 ramp trying to get your attention, I love the fact that you looked over. Your post reminds me of when we pulled up next to a male co-worker rockin out to Indigo Girls before work. After our initial shock and laughter, we loved him more for seeing that side of him….well, kind of, jk.


    • mcglam
      Dec 31, 2011 @ 10:06:18

      That was hilarious. It’s so funny how excited we got even though we’d just seen each other an hour before!!! I will never forget that Indigo Girls moment. That goes down in history as one of my favorites.


  5. Michael McGlamery
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 07:14:37

    Rockin in your car is totally acceptable! Years ago on I84, between Asylum and Sisson, I saw a guy about your age, in suit and tie, sucking his thumb while driving his BMW. Well, I guess that’s acceptable too. Nice job Susannah!!


  6. Liza
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 09:07:10

    Embrace that joy of life! I had a similar experience at a wedding. I love to dance and decided indulge the desire to lose myself in music. It is amazingly freeing to give yourself over to the beat of the music. The trick is to hold onto that freedom and not judge yourself when the experience has ended. Experience the joy whenever and where ever you can.


    • mcglam
      Dec 31, 2011 @ 09:58:44

      YES! I can completely relate to your dancing experience. AND, I’ve been witness to you letting it fly on the dance floor! It’s a beautiful thing…


  7. Denise
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 10:19:30

    Great story!
    The trick is to keep singing and laughing when the folks in the other tin can are unknowns!
    Keep singing!


  8. carla ten eyck
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 16:01:24

    man what a great story- I LOVE that it was B in the car next to you!!! How serendipitous and perfect!


  9. Liza Sue
    Dec 29, 2011 @ 18:36:44

    Sing on sister!!! Love it


  10. mj monaghan
    Dec 31, 2011 @ 13:31:45

    Really liked your post, and so true, as well. Censoring our actions is something to think about as you get older. I think for me, it just depends on how I feel at that moment. Thought-provoking.


    • mcglam
      Dec 31, 2011 @ 13:35:22

      Thanks for stopping by, MJ! Living in the moment is the way to go…I also believe that making sure that we aren’t betraying ourselves (or others) by censoring ourselves is pretty key, too. All the best for a wonderful 2012!


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