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By Mel Makaw
contributing writer 

A couple of thoughts...

On the Bright Side


July 22, 2023

Mel Makaw.

Freefall with your gift

Wynona Judd was on "Good Morning America" one time a few years ago, talking about the stage fright she always gets before she performs for live audiences. Even though she is a seasoned performer, she said she still gets nervous every time she goes on stage. She also said her nervousness mostly disappears after the first song or two, and then she feels all right.

The important thing here, the thing that makes me remember this interview, is that even though Wynona experiences sweaty-palms, knocking-knees, BIG-GULP stage fright, she has learned to face it and go on stage anyway. Even when she's scared to death, she opens her mouth and starts to sing.

I especially love the line she used to explain her willingness to face her fear and just get on with it; she said, "You've got to just freefall with your gift."

She's right. She has a gift – a wonderful and unique singing voice – and she freefalls with her gift every time she gets on stage, even though her pores might be a-pourin'.

It's not easy to do. In fact, it's much easier for a person to let fear keep them from doing something (i.e., the fear of failing). How many of us, I wonder, have a gift or a passion but we just keep it inside us, hidden away, afraid we will goof up or fall short, afraid someone will laugh at us, afraid someone will judge us.

We all have gifts. Human gifts come in many different forms – your gift may be a singing voice, or athletic ability, or a head for figures. Another person's gift may be being able to work with children or fix cars or make jewelry. Someone else's gift may be a way with words, or an eye for art, or whipping up a great soufflé.

The key is, of course, to figure out what your particular gift is and then let nothing – I mean NOTHING! – stand in your way of nurturing it and enjoying it.

Just jump, as Wynona suggested. Freefall with your gift, and see what happens.

Don't box me in

People like to put other people in little boxes, because it's easier. It's not correct or good or right - or even possible, actually - but we keep trying to do it because it is easier.

It is easier to think that all men will react to something the same way, or that all women think the same. But the truth is, there are women who roll over and go to sleep after sex, and there are women who wouldn't think of asking for directions. There are men who wouldn't know first base from a first down, and there are men who can nurture a hurt or lonely child better than most women can.

It would be much easier if all women thought the same, or if all men behaved the same, but they don't. Real life is harder because we are all individuals with our own ideas about things.

Real life is also much more interesting because we are all different. It may be easier for some people to want everyone to be the same and predictable – in neat and tidy little boxes – but can you imagine how boring it would be if everyone fit neatly into little preconceived stereotypes, so we always knew what to expect from anyone at any time?

Count me out of that one.

© 2023 Mel Makaw. Mel is a local writer/photographer; her book, On the Bright Side, a Collection of Columns is available locally at Tehachapi Arts Center and Healthy Hippie Trading Co. Mel welcomes your comments at


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