I’m taking these singing lessons and every week I think I should just stop. There is no reason for the lessons, except that it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I finally decided maybe I could use that time for me. I’m not planning on dropping everything and recording an album, I’m not going to audition for musicals, I just want my voice. I want to grow in confidence and be able to actually take time for something I enjoy.

Except for the days when I stand there listening to my own voice feeling uncomfortable and awkward.

Today was one of those days. We missed last week’s classes and I was almost glad because I didn’t feel ready for it. When we went this morning I felt unprepared to sing. I didn’t want to hear myself. I didn’t want to try and convey the emotion in the song I’ve picked.

There is a mirror set up in the office where my singing lessons take place. I stood at the music stand, in front of the piano and in front of the mirror and I did my warm ups and I sang my song and I felt every bit of awkward and ridiculous and stupid that I’ve felt maybe ever in my life. I feel dumb for wanting this time for myself, for wanting to sing when it’s for nobody but me. There is no why.

I’ve been struggling emotionally for a few months now, my depression biting at my heals, and the little voice inside my head that tells me I’m just not good enough to be worth any of this nonsense getting louder and louder. It seems as though every part of life has been hard, and I’ve been watching my daughter give up things she loves because of her anxiety – modelling something I do to myself when my mental health declines, and it hurts.

And so I’m trying to recapture some of those things I gave up for no real reason. I’m taking a drawing class online because my Gramps taught me to sketch and I want to get back into that. I did a watercolour workshop to learn more about technique because drawing and painting is the best way I’ve found to meditate.

I’m reading books because more reading opens up my mind more and often leads to more thinking and more writing, something I desperately miss.

I’m taking my piano lessons because I like the learning process, and I’ve got other online classes lined up. I’m taking the time for them, and for the practice. I want to get back to yoga classes but am currently doing physio for a rotator cuff issue and it’s not currently recommended (but man do I ever need a good stretch).

But there are days when I find it hard to sit in my skin. There are days when I line up plans and let them go.

In two weeks I will be in Cuba. It will be me alone with my thoughts and lots of books by the pool, by the beach, taking long walks, going snorkelling.

I have every intention of coming back feeling healthier, more at ease and much more prepared to face the ongoing challenges life has been throwing at us. I fully intend to use the solo vacation as a time to get over some of the self-consciousness I need to shed if I’m going to get past where I am now. A week at a resort in a foreign country, full of people I’ll likely never see again? Yes.

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