The World is a stage, too bad nobody wants to watch.

I blame my parents for putting me in dance classes and theater  at such a young age, but I truly believe that I was born to be on stage. Even if that stage is just a tiny stage at the front of a bar, or heck, the driver’s seat of my car.

I’m one of those people (some of you know all too well) who is likely to break out into song and dance anywhere. It’s not calculated. As soon as I hear a song that I like, I can’t help it. I grab the nearest item to me to use as a microphone, and I let loose, honey.

halloween 001

I really do think that theater camp may have a big something to do with it.You put a kid on stage and tell her to sing,  then tell her it was good, (because every kid in theater camp gets a part)  and after so many times, she really starts to believe it.

Don’t worry, I’ve been set straight since then.  I’m a mediocre very bad singer…. (you can quit telling me now, I get the point!)

I cannot carry a tune. But that doesn’t make me love it any less. I have realized that no matter where you are, it’s all about performance. It’s the emotion you put into it. I truly believe this.

I know there are certain people who don’t appreciate my ability to entertain an audience wherever the setting may be.

My mom, for instance. If you asked her what her most embarrassing moment of her life was, she would probably go into detail about the time she took me to the fabric store. She was right in the middle of discussing comforter material with a group of older ladies, when she she heard me bust out at full volume  with “the only one who could ever reach me, was the son of a preacher man”  from across the store. She acted like she didn’t know me until we were safely back in the car when she scolded me and told me that there would be serious consequences if I ever did that to her again.

I now use public singing as a “friendship test” of sorts. If we’re going to be somewhere together in public, there is a good chance I will I start singing  and it would be really awesome if you would join in, or at least not act like you would rather be on fire than be in my presence. You may be embarrassed at first, but there is nothing more liberating than a group sing a long at a hole in the wall restaurant in the middle of nowhere. (Right? I’m talking to you friends who went to the river! The Journey sing-along in  Health camp? Hells yeah!)

I have made venues out of grocery stores, movie theaters, zoos, and gas stations. But I have found a new favorite.

Parks and trails.

Oh yes. Although they are somewhat lacking an audience, there is really nothing like belting out a song while going on a walk. I discovered it a few years ago when I didn’t have a job and had nothing better to do than to go on 6 mile walks in the middle of the day. For the most part, you’re on your own. You can have your ear buds in, and can listen to any song of your choice. The best part is, there is no noise restraint. Even I know not to exceed a certain volume when indoors.

Even more so, when your out in the wide open, you can take it a step further.

You dance.

Not just a normal dance. You have to just completely let the music take you over, and what happens feels glorious. It started out as something I would do to embarrass my mother when we were on walks together, but now I just can’t help it. I’m talking about no dance that you would do under normal circumstances. I wouldn’t even like to do this type of dance (if you can even call it that) in a one mile vicinity of a mirror. What happens to my body is something truly worse than even the Muppet Babies could pull off. It’s like one of those exercises we do in improv workshops, where you just let the different parts of your body move without really thinking about it. I know I sound like a complete weirdo right now, but just try it when no one is looking, and I think you ‘ll see what I mean.

Tonight my roommates and I decided to go on a walk together. I put my ear buds in and went at my own pace. I started out belting a little Aerosmith, then switched to Death Cab, and made my rounds through Van Morrison and The Smiths. I had just started spastically moving and singing along to Mariah Carey’s “I don’t want A lot For Christmas”  (It’s November this is ok now) when my roommate, Jake, tapped me on the arm to tell me he and Denny were going to take the short route and head home to start dinner.

I usually would have just kept going without a thought, except for today, for the first time in months, it was pitch black at 6:30pm (fucking daylight savings) and the path we were walking on was through a very unlit patch of woods. And there was a giant full moon, which just put me a little on edge. I probably would have just turned around with the roomies, except I couldn’t shake the memory of me eating about 17 tortilla rolls and 10 mini kit-kats at around 4 o’clock on Saturday morning, and I just couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do something to ward of that repercussion.

The following conversation occurred:

CJ: What do  you mean y’all are going home?

Jake: You can come too… we just want to get a head start on the chicken…

CJ: But it’s DARK. I could get raped… or murdered!

Denny: Just keep singing and dancing the way you are now… no one would dare to come near you!

And that, friends, is exactly what I did.  I sung at full volume and spastically danced my way through the woods. It all went well until I came upon a group of skateboarders, one of which I couldn’t see clearly and I thought he was charging at me. I screamed very loudly at him.

I’m not sure which was more scary. Me yelling at a skater boy to fuck off and leave me alone in an extremely high pitched yelp or my approaching them using moves and a pitch my dad couldn’t even come up with.

Either way, I plan on continuing my tour through the woods, but only once I’ve purchased some high quality pepper spray.

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  • Matt_J

    If I like the song, I'll join you. Or, even if I don't like the song but sort of know the lyrics, I'll probably join in.

  • Sherri

    Now I'm convinced we're related; I wrote an entire post [oddly enough, exactly ONE YEAR ago today!] on how the treadmill is my stage:

    I can only use a treadmill because people are embarrassed to run with me in public. Could you imagine you and I together? IT WOULD BE FANTASTIC.

  • M

    This is hilarious. So eloquently put as well. I am the opposite…I can sing but hate to be on stage alone :p.

  • badassgeek

    I've got an okay voice, but it's not a solo voice. I did well enough to place in district competitions going through school, but I'm definitely more of an ensemble voice than anything else.

    That said, my singing has often led to the changing of a radio station when driving in the car with my wife.

  • Nel

    Baaahahahaha!!! The image I have in my head of you right now is amazing and I never want it to go away.

    Your response about getting murdered or raped is totally something I would say. Except I would have never let your roomies leave. I would have gone sprinting after them and crying because I am a baby.

    Sing like you know all the words, Carissa!

  • Amber Murphy

    I love karaoke. There is just nothing like drunk people telling me I can sing as well as Britney or Whitney.

  • Amber Murphy

    I love karaoke. There is just nothing like drunk people telling me I can sing as well as Britney or Whitney.

  • Carissa Jade

    I just posted on your blog, but I dunno if it will alert you. HOLY SHIT SHERRI! Maybe since you talked about being psychic today in your post I got some of that juju. We were both even listening to the SMITHS!!! And Joshua Radin is my favorite person on the planet! That is really weird! I also was using my ipod as the microphone. I may have even been holding my ear a little bit.

    But yeah… I think we could definitely do some damage! Maybe permanent!

  • Carissa Jade

    Well maybe if we ever do karaoke, you can be the one actually singing and I'll just pretend to. Then, when you get the applause it will be win/win for both of us!

  • Carissa Jade

    I wish my karaoke experience included people telling me that. I am lucky if I get dog howls. Or laughs… I am happy for laughs. Anything is better than silence!

  • LiLu

    I like your style, lady.

  • Carissa Jade

    I almost did go screaming after them. I didn't mention that there was one point where this guy was in front of me and was walking very slow. I thought he was going slow on purpose so i would catch up to him and he could do bad things to me.

    I stalled for about 20 minutes tying and untying my shoes… yeah… im a scaredy cat.

  • Carissa Jade

    Well if you've been in competitions, you are wayyyyyy ahead of of me! sir!

  • Carissa Jade

    Thats what I'm talkin about! I knew I liked you!

  • meg

    i love embarrassing people by spontaneously singing!! i'm glad there is somebody else in the world that does that! also…i cannot wait to break out my mariah carey christmas cd!!

  • alicia

    ohhh yeah. i'm not sure if you know it or not, but we're destined to be friends. i do the same thing all the time….i'm not skerred. i friggin bust out 'part of your world' and serenade the morning grocery store crowd as if my performance would help them choose what to have for dinner. yeah, i'm that influential with my completely off key, amazing vocals a la dying cat style.

  • ktcotton

    I have passed that “friendship test” hundreds of times, in the car, at bars (I think Tavern employees and patrons wanted us to shutup countless times), while shopping, at restaurants, and the same river trip as spoken about above. The song was also a Journey classic but we sang while still floating the crowded Guadalupe River :)

  • Carissa Jade

    @Lilu: Thank you very much. Ditto.

    @meg: I get no greater joy in life! Um you can break it out now! That's what November marks… the beginning of getting to listen to cheezy Christmas music!

    @alicia: If you would sing “Part of your world” with me, we would def be friends for life. I KNOW I'm helping people out. I tell myself that it makes them happier, but at the very least it is keeping them from dawdling.

    @kt Its true, you have passed that test time and time again. And THAT is why I love you! If you were next to me we could grab hands and take a bow.

  • Belle

    How do we purchase tickets to see your tour?!?

  • f.B

    I get caught at my desk at work multiple times a day singing along to something. It's a disease. But I don't want the cure.

  • kathryn

    Oh, this is hilarious! Yes, I can just picture you….screaming out the lyrics and gyrating to the beat….

    I'm sure you were extremely safe from predators!

  • mylittlebecky

    first of all: i love the picture! second of all: i LOVE to sing! i have never sung walked. but singing makes my heart happy.

  • CandiceW

    Hahahaha, do not blame your parents for turning you into a stage-hog, it's seriously one of the most admirable traits ever. Teach me your ways.

  • CarissaJaded

    Oh I love this disease! If I didn't sing my day away, I'd never make it through!

  • CarissaJaded

    teeheehee gyrating. That word makes me laugh.

    Yeahhh.. I was def. safe.

  • CarissaJaded

    You should really try sing walking. It makes walking so much more fun!

  • CarissaJaded

    You know that saying those who can't do, teach? Wlll I'm the opposite and that's part of my problem. I just do it all…. and not very well.

  • Kirsten

    hahahah oh man I can relate too much. I definitely went to theater camp when I was younger….and till about the year before senior year of high school… I think that explains a lot

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  • Jaime

    This is great. You've made my day with this story!!!!

  • Carissa Jade

    haha oh it's free…

  • Carissa Jade

    oh me too. and then I went on to work there… Oh yes, it gave me so many gifts.

  • Carissa Jade

    Thank ya!

  • Kari

    Hi Carissa. I was told to read this because I wrote something very similar yesterday.

    Apparently we are kindred spirits. I will sing with you anytime you want, sister.

  • CarissaJaded

    I love you already!!!!

  • Nikki

    I'm the same way. Dance classes, plays, etc…I should've been famous but my mom wouldn't put in kid biz. Oh and I can't sing or act.

    “Denny: Just keep singing and dancing the way you are now… no one would dare to come near you!” I just spit out my soup. I love when that happends.

  • Nikki

    I'm the same way. Dance classes, plays, etc…I should've been famous but my mom wouldn't put in kid biz. Oh and I can't sing or act.

    “Denny: Just keep singing and dancing the way you are now… no one would dare to come near you!” I just spit out my soup. I love when that happends.