• Jae

Magic Ties and Changing Minds


My experience with the Rock Voices was pretty lukewarm. I had introduced myself to people around me at rehearsals. I tried to engage with some of my fellow singers. It felt like dragging a heavy rope through mud trying to get people to relax and talk with me. This type of reticence from people who are sharing a love for music was a new and disturbing experience for me. I made no new friends there.


But there must have been something different about Saturday night, the night of our winter concert.


I think it was my magic poppy tie.


There is a great story behind how I came to acquire my tie. Back when I was living in Santa Cruz, I had asked Anika to help me go shopping for my trip to Tanque Verde Ranch Resort in Tuscon, Arizona where I was to meet Jassy for the very first time at a big queer wedding. I detest shopping. I love good looking clothes that fit me. You can see my dilemma. Anika (Ani) is my cosmic friend. We share a belief in manifesting our destinies. We believe in signs. We believe in the magic of endless possibilities. I told her the purpose of the trip and all the events I would be attending with Jassy. She could not wait to dude me up for my trip. The shopping experience in down town Santa Cruz turned out to be a bonus fun outing with a friend rather than a colossal waste of time and energy. As Ani ushered me from store to store, we got the rare chance to spend some time together away from the usual crowd of people we hung out with.


We found the magic tie on a back counter in a vintage clothing store. Its black with a white pearly rain drop pattern running down the middle and outside edges. The front facing panel is skinny at the top near the knot. Two giant red poppies with black centers, are off set from each other down the gradually widening part of the tie. It is stunning in both its simplicity and its boldness. I hesitated about getting it as it seemed extravagant to me in all sorts of ways. But Ani who has a wonderful sense of style, urged me on with the purchase. Jassy loves poppies, so she convinced me it was a cosmic sign. The first night I met Jassy, I wore it with a black shirt, black jeans and black boots. I had a feeling it would be a hit with her. It was. One of these days – I'll tell you the story of me and Jassy meeting and all the stories that have come from our grand time together. But this one is about a tie, so lets move on.


The very strict dress code for the Rock Voices concerts is all black with a “splash” of color. Jassy suggested I wear the poppy tie.


About an hour before the show was to start, my fellow performers and I had to make our way through narrow back hallways up to the stage to line up on the risers. Nearly everyone I passed on the way, or who passed me, commented on my tie. “Great tie or I love your tie” from them. A nod, a smile, a thank you - “its vintage!” from me. From there, some real conversations started up. As we continued to gather up on the risers, people started actually introducing themselves to me. This would not normally be a remarkable experience. But tonight, it was. It was confounding as well. One person, upon hearing that the tie was from Santa Cruz, exclaimed excitedly that they used to live in Santa Cruz. We talked about the various parts of town, her experience of living in her car at the UCSC campus, about the housing crisis there. Other people around us listened and chimed in, contributing their own experiences. It made the time standing on the risers fly by without time to think about how nervous we were. Though chagrined at the sudden and unexpected attention, I was so damned proud of my magic tie and its ability to draw people to me.


Though I will defend my belief in cosmic events, large or seemingly insignificant, all over my life, til my dying day, of course I know it wasn't a magic tie that changed the dynamic of my experience with the Rock Voices people. Our very large group of singers (about 200) were sharing in a nerve wracking performance in front of hundreds of people, finding comfort in each other, seeking the organic ways and means of a calming ourselves down. And me wearing a tie, feeling happy to be singing, feeling confident, feeling like a million bucks for the first time since joining this group is what did it.


If you read my blog post last week, you heard me say that this Rock Voices thing was a one and done kind of deal. I'm currently re-thinking that. You see, our rehearsals are held on Tuesday nights when I'm not wearing a jaunty tie and a big smile. They are after a long, hard, physically draining day at work that usually leaves me depleted. My body is usually rip roaring with pain. My energy is always low.


So. So. Low.


Other people are not drawn to this kind of energy. And yet, I went to rehearsals as much as possible because though my best self was buried under dirty, greasy, grimy, dust - I love music. I love that I got to get dressed up for the concert, to show up, to sing authentically at the top of my lungs.


More than anything about my experience was that with a giant smile and my magic poppy tie flapping in the breeze I was successful in meeting one of my 2019 intentions to connect with people in new and profound ways. Plus, my friend CB attended the concert and may have been inspired. I think there is now a 99.5% chance that I will be joining them for the spring season with Rock Voices.


So, no – the magic is not in the tie. The magic is in the fact that when I’m chasing after all the infinite possibilities for how I want my life to look, I get to change my mind. In fact, I MUST change it as often as I need to in order to change my experience. That’s magic.



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