#GirlBoner Courage Part II: The Gig Y’All Helped Me Play!

We are weaned from our timidity

In the flush of love’s light 

we dare be brave,

And suddenly we see that love costs all we are 

and will ever be.

Yet it is only love which sets us free.  

— Maya Angelou

Within minutes of arriving to New York last week I was propositioned by a 12-year-old and nearly overrun by a woman who appeared to be at least 100, yet moved as fast as a spritely racewalker, while a street musician serenaded an ignorant crowd. Such boldness isn’t common everywhere, but you can observe it routinely in NYC. I don’t think anyone can live in, or even visit, the megalopolis without some amount of bravery. The city is as crowded as it is diverse, the world’s epicenter of numerous competitive industries and—best of all—built on individuals’ dreams.

Before moving there in my late teens, I wrote in my journal: “I’m not scared, just excited. Or maybe I am scared. Maybe I want to be.” Naive as I was then, I had that latter part right. I’m pretty sure such feelings are universal. Fear can be exciting, in moderation.

This recent trip, I was abuzz over something else—the singing gig I explained last week. I spent time beforehand having a breezy blast with my brother and his girlfriend in Brooklyn. Beneath my calm lingered frequently spasming fireflies. (‘Butterflies’ now seems too tame…) I had at least 50 moments of, “Oh my God. SINGING!” and had to urinate nearly as many times.

Since guitars are difficult to travel with, I rented mine’s clone—the same make and model—from a shop in Midtown. Picking it up was more comforting than donning world’s comfiest jeans after a long day of glamming it up in a dress and heels. (SIGH…) The same thing happened when I spotted the stage, recalling the countless times I’ve seen one in recent years, longing to hop up onto it. I also thought those of you who shared personal fear-facing stories and offered support beforehand. (Have I mentioned how inspiring and fierce y’all are???)

I wish I could say that the fireflies buzzed off and I morphed into folk-style Bonnie Raitt onstage, but…nope. Each time I noticed a flareup, I refocused on whatever song I was singing—its meaning and why I’d written it. My nervousness and imperfections became trivial, and I ended up having a blast.

August McLaughlin_singer Way Station

The experience affirmed what we’ve been discussing here—that courage derives from love. We love something more than we fear the price of reaching it, and that love propels us through the freaking-us-out fire. Gradually (hopefully!) love takes over, showing fear who’s boss and inviting myriad rewards.

While this isn’t typical Monday material, it ties directly into what Girl Boner stands for—living full, passionate lives and not allowing insecurities, naiveté or ignorance hold us back. Our lives should be rich with passion and sensuality, both of which extend far beyond intercourse and masturbation (though obviously, also awesome!). They illuminate our souls, radiate outward and have the capacity to change or even save lives. I doubt my performance saved any lives, but it certainly enriched mine. Therein lies strength and beauty, particularly since we’re only as good for others as we are emotionally fulfilled ourselves, IMHO. But that’s another topic! For now, I’d rather hear from you.

What has facing a particular fear taught you? What would you do if you weren’t afraid? What’s the wildest dream you can foresee chasing—if not now, then someday? There’s no judgment here, so dream away! We won’t slash a whip or hold you to it unless you ask us to. 😉 And be sure to join us next Monday as we delve further into all-things-saucy.

If you’re interested in seeing my performance, it’ll be available on my Facebook author page shortly. In the meantime, you can watch it here. Pardon the opening act, my bobbling head. LOL That only lasts a few minutes—promise! 🙂

Happy #GirlBoner Monday. I hope your week’s off to a brilliant start!

#GirlBoner Courage: Turning Gutlessness Into Gusto

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” – Meg Cabot

facing fear

The woman who moves across the globe alone to start anew, the man whose heart is broken but never gives up on love, anyone who bypasses high-paying or “stable” vocations in the name of artistry… I so admire folks who step up in courage. This week I’m trying my darndest to be one of them.

If you caught my post from a few months ago, Singing Naked: Honesty on Stage, you know that music means a lot to me. You also know that sharing my original tunes with others makes me anxious. It feels a bit like opening up my soul, flashing neon lights on my vulnerabilities and pouring my innermost thoughts out before Simon Cowell-like ears.

Once I stepped onto the stage after a lengthy respite at my paperback release party in March, my nervousness transformed into bliss. Rather than pee on the floor or obsess over imperfections as I’d anticipated, I savored every moment. Afterward, I felt like trading my place for a bus and going on tour! I settled for a less dramatic pursuit: a few gigs per year.

writing dreams

Then in a burst of post-show delusional hysteria courage, I decided to submit tunes to New York venues, requesting stage-time during the week of ThrillerFest. A groovy one panned out. This Wednesday, July 10th, I’ll perform a full set not only live on stage, but before the entire Facebook-universe, or whoever decides to visit my page and hit ‘play.’

If you'll be in the NYC area this week, I'd love to see you here! I won't puke on you or anything—promise.

If you’ll be in the NYC area this week, I’d love to see you here! I won’t nervous-puke on you or anything—promise.

Shortly after booking the show, the self-doubt goblin reared its ugly head again: Your songs are weird. You don’t play guitar “right.” You don’t even practice! What were you THINKING?!?

As with my first gig, I considered canceling. Or sending invitees to the wrong time and address—someplace with better entertainment. Then I plunked down with my guitar, closed my eyes and recalled why I’d written the songs. Regardless of how they’re played or perceived, I still believe in their stories and care deeply for the people behind them. I also sense that music means more to me than I can begin to comprehend. Being the gushy bohemian I am, I shed tears, commanding the SD goblin to GO STUFF IT.

It worked, mostly.

Now me and my gastro-butterflies are nervous, but eager. I’m not trying to become the next Joni Mitchell, or playing because I believe—or even wish—to be “good.” I’m performing because I promised myself long ago that I wouldn’t let fear or insecurity hold me back from anything I hold dear.

So what does this have to do with Girl Boner? A lot, actually. I’ll be singing naked (metaphorically), and performing a song I jokingly call “Girl Boner Beginnings.” But the real connection lies in the gusto it takes to pull ourselves up out of a place of insecurity to pursue passionate pursuits we fear. While fear holds an important place in our lives and psyche, it can also tinker big time with our happiness.

I could delve into the studies that show a tight link between female sexuality and happiness, of which there are numerous. But the message for today is this: being whole, emotionally fulfilled people makes way for happiness in a variety of ways—including sexually. While we can often find contentment in the comfortable, I think it takes daring and challenging ourselves to truly soar—even (or especially) when it’s terrifying. How else can we truly learn what we’re capable of?

I’m not suggesting that we all make “I’m Afraid Of” lists simply to have better sex (though talk about rad frosting). I do think, however, that if we let ourselves grow complacent in other life areas, we’re likely to be complacent in the bedroom—and vice versa. If we seek empowerment in one life department, on the other hand, we can expect to flourish in others. (This by far beats fixating on problems rather than nourishing joy, which often defeats the purpose.)

The takeaway, from a solely sexual standpoint: If you’re feeling stagnant sexually, why not dare yourself to dream bigger and go after those dreams with gusto? I’ve found that the reverse also works: Prioritizing sexual exploration, intimacy and adventurousness can rev up excitement in life. Both scenarios are win-wins, in my opinion, regardless of the results. If we fall flat, we typically still gain something. We’ll never have to wallow in “what ifs?” or regret, and many “falls” move us closer to success.

So yes, I plan to savor sexual perks in the weeks following my show—no matter what happens. Dream-seeking and challenge-facing can be seriously awesome foreplay! More so than that, I plan to continue dreaming and living larger, with faith that rewards of many kinds will follow.

With this topic in mind, I posted a question on Facebook last week: What’s something you did that terrified you, and are now so glad you did? The responses were crazy inspiring. Here are just a few that rocked:

FB screenshot

What scary thing have you done that you’re now grateful for? What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Have you noticed a link between overcoming fear and your sexual confidence? Can I look forward to seeing you at ThrillerFest? love hearing from you. ♥ 

To more Girl Boner chit chat, join me on Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve missed any Girl Boner posts, you can now find the whole shebang in list-form here. Thanks for reading, y’all. Have a beautiful week!