The Song That I Sing


This is a song that nobody knows
I still can’t begin to describe how it goes
But it makes me cry or laugh right out loud
It’s a song that I sing when there’s no one around
It’s a song that I sing when there’s no one around
— Garth Brooks, “When There’s No One Around”

I discovered this song recently in my iTunes, and put it on my list to blog about. It ties in pretty well with this week’s Reconstruction topic, so this is as good a time as any.

The lyrics above really captured the point for me (and, conveniently, fit the topic, but the song is variations on that theme:

This is the man that nobody sees
He wears my old clothes and he looks just like me
Just one of the boys who gets lost in the crowd
He’s the man that I am when there’s no one around

This is a glimpse of the child that’s within
He’s so immature but he’s still my best friend
If he could learn how to fly he’d never touch down
He’s the kid that I am when there’s no one around

And the song struck home because it’s exactly what I hope is not true about me.

I sing. A lot. I sing while going for walks. I sing in the car. Heck, I sing sometimes walking through Target (albeit generally sotto voce — generally), especially if something good is on the radio.

I also, as I mentioned in the last post, sing badly.

That fact has no bearing on anything. I sing at improv shows. I’ve sung at work. Not only do I sing in the car, I sing in the car when people are riding with me. And I don’t wait until you get to know me to feel comfortable enough. I’ll sing in the car the first time someone rides with me. Because if you can’t handle me singing badly in the car around you, you don’t need to ride in the car with me, and you deserve to know that from the outset.

And that’s the point — my goal is to strive to be who I am. Because, ultimately, I am. So there’s no point in pretense. I feel no need to be in-your-face about that, but just to simply be.

My goal is for there to be no man that nobody sees. Character, they say, is what you do when there’s nobody looking. For me, there should be no difference. The man you see and the man I am in private should be one and the same. My character should be the same.

And I don’t want there to be a kid that I am when there’s no one around. Not because there’s no child within, but because he’s without, also. Yeah, there is definitely an aspect of the childlike to me, and I’m going to nurture that for as long as I can. But I’m also not going to be ashamed of it and hide it. That, also, is who I am.

So if you’re unfortunate enough to encounter me singing publicly — the song that you’re hearing? That’s the song that I sing when there’s no one around.

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