Note by Note: Courage Walks Alongside| No. 33 | 7.23.21

“Life shrinks or expands proportional to one’s courage.“  ~Anais Nin 

I once heard that our most vivid childhood memories involve loss. The deepest mark is often left by discomfort or pain. 

Revisiting my own childhood brought back two such scenarios. In third grade, I joined a summer softball league. Brand new to the sport, I struck out repeatedly. My disappointment in myself is seared in my memory, especially during one of the final games with my father in attendance. 

Failure is tough for a perfectionist, so I didn’t sign up again. 

The following year I sang my first solo verse in the children’s choir at church. While my friend began her verse, I marveled at her beautiful voice. I was much less pleased with my own voice, deciding it was subpar. 

Such judgments are long-lasting. It was decades before I tried another solo. 

Meanwhile I didn’t understand why it was so hard to listen to female musicians on the radio, attend Lilith Fair or watch “Shut Up and Sing”. A profound longing was brewing under the surface. When I finally joined my first band in mid-life, the world opened up. 

I like to think courage was accompanying me the whole time. Courage stood with me at home plate and next to me in my choir robe. Courage did not give up, whispering that a new passion and purpose lay ahead if I only jumped in and said yes. 

What does your “book of unsaid things” contain? Have you read it aloud yet? 

Grateful for you and new adventures, 



P.S. A special thanks to all the folks who generously supported my Kickstarter campaign for the new album! 

Joy Zimmerman, a soulful singer/songwriter, explores the everyday and the extraordinary with a captivating voice. Her songs resonate with humor, triumph and humanity. Joy’s seventh studio album, The Canvas Before Us, is an acoustic reinvention set for radio release on August 6, 2021.