Last weekend I joined the Women's Rock Retreat with Girls Rock Charlotte. Last summer, I was a band manager and volunteer with GRC, and I'm on their Leadership team. I have so much heartfelt support of their mission to empower girls and gender diverse youth through music. The women's retreat was a version of the summer girl camps and also a fundraiser to send more youth to camp.
Our retreat purpose was to gather on Friday evening, connect with other women, pick an instrument, create a band, write an original song, practice and perform it by Sunday evening. I had done a version of this (over the course of a month) with my friend Krystle Baller, creator of Pachyderm Music Lab and the Music Director for GRC. So I had an idea of how things would go.
Even though I'm an introvert, and being in groups doesn't always feel comfortable > GRC events are so inclusive everything was good. I had decided to play the ukulele, instead of my Hello Kitty guitar, and was enjoying the empowerment workshops we had.
But learning the strum pattern for the uke was new to me, and a challenge. Of course, I could have just done a simpler strum > but I liked the strum my friend Lonna taught me (down down up up down up) and wanted to try it.
I was maybe at 85 percent when we went to dress rehearsal on Saturday evening... and for whatever various reasons, I couldn't find the strum. Once I couldn't find it, I didn't know what to do.
There were four bands so after everyone went, we played again in the order we would play at the concert > but by then I wanted to go home.
My little wounded child had come out.
Fortunately, we still had an activity to do before parting Saturday evening - wish bracelets. Wish bracelets is a meaningful activity shared at kid's camp. In your band, each person gives a yarn bracelet to each band member with a wish and a compliment. It was healing to be held in such a loving safe space.
The next morning, I returned to camp and our band meeting space. Here's where things really began to change. I had already asked for some close friends to just send me good energy and thoughts. I could feel this support and love. Then when I was still continuing to struggle in finding my strum, etc > I decided to ask the band could we go reallllllly slow. And, of course they did :)
We had an afternoon break, which I took as a quantum self-care opportunity. I talked to a close friend who is intuitive and so positive. I took a rare nap. I practiced, just a little.
Then, I did another cool cat move - I decided to pretend I was a happy child. I imagined what a fun-loving, free little kid would do... they'd just do the best they could. I took that cue to read the fourth agreement of "The Four Agreements" ~ always do your best - no more and no less!
At the venue, I watched the GRC House Band play - all youth - and I became okay that the tiny uke player was better than me! I was happy for her!! I was happy that these girls got to experience so much support... support I very likely had not experienced as a girl.
I hung out with my band/life coach and dear friend Lonna - who kept answering my strumming questions over and over as if I were asking for the first time!
Then it was time. The song was 3.5 minutes and over. I felt so much relief when I played the final strum. I had played with dear friends on the stage of "The Evening Muse" - a Charlotte cool spot! I had learned so very much!
I learned that even fun experiences can trigger old childhood wounds.
I learned that having an amazing support team can soften any struggle.
I learned to ask for support and help when I need it.
I learned to access my fun-loving child to transform how I felt.
When I left, one of the girls from last summer's camp (and a talented ukulele player) complemented me. I could tell she was sincere. "You did great," she said beaming. "Well thank you, someday I may be as good as you," I answered.
It's okay to grow and try and to even struggle, because the more we grow and try and struggle > the more we grow and try and DON'T struggle! How cool cat is that?