Starting All Over

Somebody once said to me “your life is literally like a musical. You have a song for every moment and you never stop singing!” I don’t know if this was meant to be a mickey take or not but I’ve always seen it as a positive. Music and singing are my breathing in and out.

The sad thing is though, I’ve not been singing much in the last two years. There are a number of reasons for this. The band I was in naturally drifted apart as people got busy with other projects or giving birth – well, that was just me! We were really a sort of gig band in the sense that we got together to rehearse if we found ourselves with a gig rather than rehearse to find gigs if that makes sense. It was a project we all did for love and for fun!

I’ve also not felt much like singing the way I used to. I couldn’t drive anywhere without belting out a song and singing in the shower was as natural as shampooing! But without noticing, I stopped doing it. It wasn’t one day recently that I realised. The mood suddenly took me and I began belting out “Someone Else’s Story” from Chess. When I emerged my husband looked like I’d just bought him a new Ferrari and exclaimed “that’s the first time I’ve heard you sing for ages!”

Recently I’ve braved venturing in to a new music project but my confidence isn’t where it was. Singing has always come so naturally to me but suddenly it feels kind of alien. It’s not been helped by having a miniature snot factory living with us, sharing colds and coughs gathered from every soft play and toddler group going! And I seem to be apologising an awful lot to my new music partner, possibly unnecessarily.

This week I’ve been thinking an awful lot about music. I picked up my guitar today for the first time in a long while and learned a new chord – Am7 apparently – but don’t worry, that still only makes about 5 or 6 that I can play vaguely competently. But mostly I’ve been thinking about songs that have got me through the rough times over the last couple of years.

It wont surprise anyone to learn that I’ve listened to an extraordinary amount of James Taylor – but especially the song “You and I Again”. I heard this for the first time live during his UK tour just after Munch was born. It immediately hit me and it was the first live music I’d seen for a long while. I went to see him with my Dad and it was a moment of real happiness that was palpable. I love the arrangement, the words, the journey the music takes and of course that forever youthful, soothing voice of his.

Another song which has been an almost daily “listen” is the Dixie Chicks version of “Landslide”. A few months ago, myself and my long term singing partner Jen got together with a couple of super talented musicians we’d previously worked with to do a couple of gigs. Jen is also my BFF (is that what the kids are calling it now?) and we sang this song together. The feeling of being back singing live, with such a poignant song and with one of the few people in this world that really gets me…well, that was a feeling that needs to be bottled.

I know there are a few more songs that have been important over my PND journey (ick…does that sound horribly cheesy?!) but recalling things hasn’t been my strong point recently! Also, if I noted down every single song that got me through something tough I would break the internet!

However, there is one more song that has given me something very important and has been the song I have come back to again and again. I can remember one occasion I was in such a bad place that I took myself out for a drive, parked in a local beauty spot, looking out to sea and I just sobbed…for something near an hour. I felt like I couldn’t call anyone. I thought they’d be super bored of hearing me bang on about the same old stuff. I thought the tears wouldn’t actually stop. Then my iPod gifted me Starting All Over by a beautiful duo called While and Matthews. I listened once, then repeated it over a few times. And suddenly I wasn’t crying anymore.

And the reason for that and my reason for sharing this story is because of the simple yet perfect lyrics of the song, which I’m going to share with you. Even if you’re not really a “music person” but you’re going through the cloud of PND, I hope that you can read these lyrics and that they can help you the way they helped me. I have to thank Chris While and Julie Matthews for giving their permission to share (I say “permission”…it was more a blessing. They’re very lovely people. And incidentally me and Jen are hugely influenced by them and kind of want to be them!). So here they are…

Starting all over again – Matthews & While

From the album ‘Piecework’ While and Matthews
It’s a very long road that’s in front of you
When you’re starting all over again
You say there’s no way out and there’s no way through
When you’re starting all over again
And it’s pulling inside of you, dimming the light in you
Turning your thoughts to yesterday
Your spirit is sinking low, thoughts have no place to go
The tunnel is closing in around you

Chorus
And it’s so hard starting all over, starting all over again
But the heart finds a way to recover
When you’re starting all over again

There’s a field of gold under distant skies
Starting all over again
You won’t see it till you clear your eyes
Starting all over again
Your heart feels as black as night, it will till the time is right
Just for the moment you’re holding on
Then turning each corner, your heart will grow warmer
And finding your feet you’ll be moving forward

Chorus

Your heart feels as black as night, it will till the time is right
Just for the moment you’re holding on
Then turning each corner, your heart will grow warmer
And finding your feet you’ll be moving forward

Chorus

 

 

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Music Old and New

Thought I’d add a little to the “Music” section today.

I was brought up with music playing all the time. My parents made sure we were surrounded by it.

I grew up doing amateur dramatics, mostly Gilbert & Sullivan then trained professionally in Musical Theatre. As a result I am the Queen of cheese and frequently annoy my husband by belting out show tunes in the car! But I was also exposed to every other kind of music too – especially folk. I adore artists like Jackson Browne, Sandy Denny, Gretchen Peters – anything acoustic. And James Taylor? Well, as far as I’m concerned there is nobody better. He is the soundtrack to my every day – although he is occasionally usurped by The Go! Go! Go! Show (Nick Jr) or endless rounds of Wheels on the Bus when Munch has her way!

Since quitting dancing for a living and leaving my dance teaching job, I’ve been singing with duos and bands on the Isle of Wight – mostly playing acoustic and folk music – and it’s pretty much when I’m the best version of myself. Playing music I love with some of the most talented musicians you could meet, is somewhere near heaven for me. Of course in my dreams I’m up there singing with James Taylor, but you can’t have everything!

One of my biggest regrets is not having properly learned an instrument as a kid. I was so busy with dancing that there just wasn’t the time.

In recent years I tried my hand at piano with an exceptionally patient (believe me, she had to be!) teacher called Shirley Camfield, but I took a break when I fell pregnant as my concentration went so far out the window I couldn’t tell one note from another! I fully intend to go back to it, perhaps when Munch is old enough to learn with me.

In the meantime I’ve found a bit of a connection to the acoustic guitar. It suits the style of music I like to perform and I can just pick it up and curl up on the sofa with it. To top it off, with just a few basic chords you can play an array of songs – something which appeals to the impatient side of me. And believe me – basic is good! Because I’m not exactly Eric Clapton here!

As an early Christmas present I acquired myself a “beginners” guitar, although actually I think it’s rather better than that. I figured that if I bought a £30 guitar and it sounded rubbish, I wouldn’t be encouraged to stick with it.

So we spent just a little more and I now own my first guitar. It’s a Tanglewood Discovery and I am in love with it…even though I can’t play it in the way it deserves! I love that I can comfortably fit my stubby little fingers around the neck, I love the way the curves in the body comfortably hug my legs and I love the natural wood finish.

Keeping the blog up to date with my progress will be a slow process as progress in itself is slow. Thus far I can finger pick a little, I can strum a bit and I can “play” about 6 chords, but not with any real skill or style. I’m off to see my old duo partner, Phil, who is an exceptional guitarist, for a few lessons soon so will post any tips or breakthroughs if and when they happen!

Now, if I can just stop Munch posting my picks or small plastic toys through the sound hole or yelling “no” at me when I start to practice, I think I might stand a better chance of improving!

Introducing Minis, Munch and Me!

Well, here goes nothing! My first ever blog post! I hope it doesn’t prove too painful for me or for you!

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ME

I’m very adept at repeating myself, so in order not to do that, it might be worth checking out the About page to learn more about why I started this blog and what I hope to gain from it.

To introduce myself properly though, I’m Sarah. I’m 36 and I live on the Isle of Wight but I’m originally from Southampton. I live with my husband of 5 years, Matt and my beautiful almost 2 year old daughter…more about her later! Oh, and Maisie the cat, who I must mention as she’s spent the last 2 years looking rather put-out!

I used to be a professional dancer, until I got injured and realised that actually, as much as I loved dancing, a lot of what comes with being a dancer, wasn’t for me after all. I now work for an awesome charity and find helping people through some of the worst experiences of their lives super rewarding.

I love history, music, reading, art and I am collecting hobbies! You can read more about why in that About page I mentioned before. When the little one is in bed or Daddy is being amazing and letting me have some “me” time, that’s when I indulge myself in all the things I love. Which brings me to “Minis”.

MINIS

This refers to just one of my hobbies and was the only one that seemed to lend itself to the blog title!

Maybe it’s because I’m short (5ft exactly) that I like small things or maybe I’m trying to recapture some part of childhood! Whatever the reason, I’m the proud owner of 3 doll houses. My first is Edwardian in style and this is the most complete, the second is a modern bridal shop (you’ll see a theme here) and the most recent acquisition is tudor. They’re all 12th scale and in varying states of completion. I intend to blog a bit about my progress on each of these and any really good products or techniques I uncover along the way.

Other hobbies which I shall be blogging about (is that even the right term?!) are my newly discovered love of fashion design (specifically bridal), my lifelong love of music and 3 month long relationship with acoustic guitar and perhaps a little bit of baking and cake decoration may find its way in.

Hopefully anyone reading will find something they like or find interesting – or perhaps just something that you want to point and laugh at! As long as it makes you smile!

MUNCH

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And finally, Munch.

This is an easy one to explain. When I was pregnant with my little girl, we had a scan at 10 weeks. My husband’s first reaction to seeing the little bean-like dot on the screen was “it looks like one of the Munch Bunch!”.

I couldn’t see it myself but somehow the Munch bit stuck and from then until this day, despite having a very pretty name, our little girl is very often referred to as “Munch”. Thus fulfilling the “Mummy Stuff” element!

That’s it! Introductory post done. Now follows the interesting stuff…I hope!