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Teenage Dream – Part 4

A man’s pride can be his downfall, and he needs to learn when to turn to others for support and guidance.

– Bear Grylls

So I was in. I was the drummer of a band. Something I’d dreamt of for years, and never really expected would happen. (If you’re picking up the story here, you may want to take a few minutes to read part 1, part 2 and part 3.) I was elated, proud and also, incredibly nervous. I had a lot of preparation ahead of me, so many questions I needed to find answers to and a lot of rehearsing to get through.

I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to want to find all the answers myself. I feel embarrassed asking ‘dumb’ questions, and since I wanted to look like I was ready to hit the ground running, my first reaction to being recruited to the band, was to discreetly amass information on Internet. “How to connect microphones to drums”, and so on and so forth. This time, though, I quickly realized that if I wanted to be ready on time, I needed to let go. I would have to ask for advice.

The first rehearsal came along. It took me ages to set up, especially as I kept washing my hands (setting up rental drums isn’t the easiest thing when you care about hygiene!). The singer and the guitarist played the introduction to the first song. I was ready to jump in… until my brain decided to go on strike – “Computer says no”. My right leg started swaying uncontrollably from left to right. I lifted the heel of my foot and whacked it down onto the pedal with all my strength, “BOOM”, while the drum roll came out as a non-descript soup of noise. I tried to pretend it was just a little mistake, but I was mortified. How was I going to get over stage fright if I couldn’t even play in front of four people?

 Looking for tips online was like checking WebMD. I thought I had an incurable disease. Then one day, I built up the courage to ask a drummer friend how he coped with nerves. He shared some invaluable tips, told me it was natural and reassured me that it would get better. And it did. I barely ever had bad stage fright again and when I did, I knew there was nothing wrong with me.

Many of us go through life teaching ourselves to deal with every situation. It seems like the ideal modern woman is self-sufficient. She’s strong, bright, resilient, confident. She can fend for herself, she doesn’t need help. I’d worked hard to become that person, but now I simply couldn’t afford to act in such a way. I had to stop resisting. I needed to open up, share my vulnerabilities with the other band members and ask for help. As I wrote my thoughts in my journal, the lyrics of a song I used to listen to came streaming out, casting a new light on the issue. Did my reluctance to ask for help stem from the fear of burdening people or was there an unhealthy dose of pride mixed in?

People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world
We’re children, needing other children
And yet letting a grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside
Acting more like children than children

– “People” from “Funny Girl”
(Composers: Jule Stein and Bob Merrill)

And then there was the incident of the toe in the doorframe. Two days before our first concert. I broke a toe on my right foot – the one I use the most when playing. I had to figure out a way to play differently. Interestingly, though, the biggest challenge wasn’t technical at all. The toughest thing was to accept help. On the day of the concert, I had to sit and watch band members and friends carry all the heavy cases which contained my rental drums, from A to Z. The pain in my toe was nothing in comparison to the ache in stomach. I’ve rarely said “sorry”, “thank you”, “would you mind?” so many times within such a short space of time. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to accept help.

Rehearsals went by, my toe healed and the big date arrived. Saturday 26th July 2017 3 pm main stage Jimmy’s Festival. By now, I was ready. In fact, I simply couldn’t wait anymore. We got up on stage, I reached out for my wet wipes as I prepared to adjust the rental drums when, suddenly, a lovely man rushed up. “Please, let me! Where would you like you me to position your cymbal?” I wish I had a picture of my face at that moment. My jaw dropped to the floor. I just had to sit back and play – my hands would stay nice and clean. I happily accepted his help. Maybe I’d grown up a little.  I was ready to rock and roll.

Surround yourself with people who support you. Find champions. - Sarah Gavron Click To Tweet

Throughout this series I’ve only told you about a fraction of the wonderful things which I learnt from the whole experience. On top of the things I mentioned, I made great friends, learnt a lot about myself and became a much better drummer. I also realized that I was attracting new people into my life. Living with passion was allowing me to be myself more fully, more joyfully. Opportunities like this rarely come along, but when you start to open your eyes a bit wider and say ‘yes’ more often, luck does seem to come along. That’s when you wake up thinking “I wonder what might come my way today!” So, seek out the people and activities you love, you never know what might happen…

Now, I’d love to hear from you so please share your thoughts by using the comments section below, or email me at charlotte(at)

  • Do you have any champions – friends/mentors – who support you and want you to succeed in life?
  • Where could you find allies – people with the same interests and passions as you?
  • Do you find it hard to ask for help?

I hope you’ve enjoyed the series and that it has encouraged you to seek out activities and projects which make you come alive.

Thank you for reading!


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