Through the RealTalk Dictionary, Palaver members try to understand words that we often use, but that can sometimes seem to lack real meaning. Today’s installment is “connect”.
verb (used with object)
In Palaver, we talk a lot about connecting with people through music and art. So I’ve made a list of some of the experiences in my life when I’ve felt most connected with people, and tried to distill what about those experiences led to that deep feeling.
For me, the best thing about going to Michigan State was the ten-person house that all of my best friends and I lived in together for two years. We called it “The Manor” cause we were all so classy. And one of the best things about The Manor was the ten-person dinner that we would cook and share on Sunday nights. We could say anything without fear of being judged, and were totally honest and silly. That house was full of love.
At Michigan State, where I tickled the bass for four years, the MSU Bass crew would hit up Crunchy’s (a super awesome bar) after orchestra, get the burger special and beers, chat, and sometimes sing Karaoke. Because of the intense experiences that we were going through studying music, that group had an incredible trust. No matter what, we were in it together.
At the end of my senior year at Michigan State, I had a breakdown in front of my bass teacher and started crying. At the time, I was getting rejected from the grad schools and coming to terms with overwhelming feelings of rejection, insecurity, and fear. I had been holding all of my emotions in and trying to appear okay, but in that moment, I decided to trust my teacher and let him in.
On Palaver’s first trip to Maine, we took a midnight stroll and came to a small dock overlooking a lake. Someone started singing a folk tune they knew, and the rest of the group spontaneously joined in, harmonizing and improvising. We felt so overwhelmed by the beauty of the place that we were in, the experience we were sharing, and each person there, and we knew that words couldn’t quite capture the feeling, so we sang together.
Every Sunday night, my family does a big group video chat. This year it is especially important because each of us four kids is in a different city. It’s nice to talk about the day-to-day, but it’s really special when we’re laughing together.
So yeah, music is awesome and it’s fun to make and listen to. But if connecting with people is your goal, consider how the experience you shape creates a safe space to trust, let others in, drop judgment, work towards a common purpose, express real emotions, be honest and silly, laugh, and love.