After an easy-going Saturday, I was expecting a quiet dinner with my visiting friend Cathy. Little did I know that we would enjoy a fun-filled dinner joined by her adventurous parents and other good friends. Even less expected was that the night would end up with me belting out a few classic tunes in front of a bar filled with strangers.
Following our delicious and rambunctious dinner at Knoxville’s awesome new Central Flats and Taps, we headed across the street to the local favorite – Toots Little Honky Tonk. Toots is one of those places that epitomizes “dive bar” – a small room filled with cigarette smoke and an eclectic cast of local characters. It doesn’t put on any airs and it’s far from fancy, so the great atmosphere is thanks to the energy you and fellow patrons bring – and of course the karaoke.
Such patrons range from the experienced vocalist to the novice songbird to the inebriated crooner. A few take their singing very seriously, while many are just there to have a good time. But they all have one thing in common – the crowd is unwaveringly supportive. Sure, there are some performers or songs that are bigger hits, but no one is getting booed off stage for missing a note (trust me, I missed many).
Emboldened by the group’s good nature and my friends’ accompaniment, I mustered up the courage to get up and sing some songs. My repertoire for the evening included: “The Sign” by Ace of Base, “Africa” by Toto, “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King, and our biggest crowd pleaser – “Dixieland Delight” by Alabama.
I should probably say that I am by no means a performer. Although many find it hard to believe that I’m an introvert, getting up in front of people – even just to speak, much less sing – makes me pretty nervous. Yet, after each song I sang, I felt a little more brave and a bit more proud. Though I’m not vying for any Grammys, I found it really exhilarating to extend myself beyond my comfort zone; to shock my system out of the status quo of daily life. It builds confidence, plus is just plain fun!
As the author Neale Donald Walsh wisely said…
What are you doing / have to done to break out of your comfort zone? B e brave today!