The word on the street is that Stephanie Meier is now on the street. The word on the street is true. I am currently unemployed by choice. Some might say that I lost my mind, but I would say that I finally found it.
I have decided to take some big risks to reach some big dreams. Those risks include busking (street performing) as my primary source of income. This is something I have never done until now, yet it has been a dream of mine. Believe me, there is nothing glamorous about busking. It is exhausting, back-breaking, voice-straining work. It takes courage and confidence to put yourself out there. It takes perseverance to perform as if you have an audience, in those moments when few people are around.
When the homeless man tipped me some marijuana, I knew I had to start a blog. No, really. I had been so touched when I saw him smile at me with great admiration, give me a thumbs up, and toss what I thought was a coin into my guitar case. And there it sat, in my pile of change, for about thirty minutes, until I took a good look. I then proceeded to discreetly discard it over the side of the waterfront. Yesterday, I was offered a shot of rum as a tip. (Again, I knew I had to start a blog.) I was very flattered, but the last thing we need is a tipsy Stephanie Meier singing on the streets. (It is very wise not to take shots of rum from strangers. At least I think so.)
I suppose you could say that I am finally in my element. I love people. I love playing music for people. When I am out on the street, I feel like I am doing what I was destined to do. Because I know that I am doing what I was destined to do, not even the psychotic, demon possessed, homeless man could chase me away. Well, he tried, but I stood my ground.
The most bizarre thing for me has been when people walk up to me, tip me and say, “Thank you so much for being out here.” Why is it bizarre? It’s bizarre because they literally heard ten seconds of whatever I was playing, dropped their tip, thanked me, and went on their merry way. I mean, I’m definitely not complaining. I just can’t wrap my mind around the favor that God is giving me. Big favor from a big God. If I got a dollar every time someone thanked me, I would have a lot of bills in my guitar case—oh wait, I do.
And then there was the man who handed me five dollars to play my favorite song. You should know that I went out on my first day armed with cover songs to lure people over to me. It went well. I had a lot of people interact with me when I played my cover songs, but even more amazing things began to happen when I played my original songs. So, when this man came over, handed me five dollars, and asked me to play my favorite song, I had two choices. I could play him a song he may have heard on the radio, or I could play him a song that I wrote. I went for option two. I played the man an original song. When I finished, his face was full of emotion, his eyes were welling with tears. Before leaving he dropped another five dollar bill into my guitar case and said “Thank you so much. You have no idea. You completely made my day.”
It’s the one-on-one moments with the people I meet that make the hard work worth everything. There was the moment when a mother pushed her young daughter over to me in a wheelchair. (I’m trying to be politically correct to the best of my ability. Forgive me if I fail.) Her daughter was severally disabled, and when I first saw her in the distance, her eyes were in a daze and her face was expressionless. My heart fell and then it leapt. The moment when she was within hearing range of me, I saw her face light up and connect with the song I was playing. When I finished the song, the mother asked me if I knew “You Are My Sunshine”. I was floored. Just a few days before, I had learned all of the lyrics to the song. Up until her request, I had not yet played the song in front of anyone. That was one of the most special, joy-filled moments of my life. Singing “You Are My Sunshine” to that precious, little one.
While I have been having the time of my life, I don’t want you to think that every single day has been perfect. There have been breakdowns with many tears. There have been days where I have been overwhelmed with exhaustion. But thankfully, they are just days. Thankfully, the stretching is producing much growth.
And now you might think I’m really losing my mind. This afternoon I put in a thirty day notice for my apartment. The apartment I literally just moved into a couple months ago. My first very own apartment. The apartment that I was so ecstatic about moving into. Well, lets just say my priorities have dramatically changed. Don’t worry, I have a plan. The plan involves me selling pretty much everything I own, except for my music equipment, instruments, clothes and french press. The plan is to be mobile. To say that I am excited is a huge understatement. I cannot wait to see what happens next.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some busking to do.