A youth who was new to the programme picked up a guitar hesitantly and started strumming at the back of the room. She knew the song the “band” was playing, and she mouthed the lyrics which spoke to her. “Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?” Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin, like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?” explained her so eloquently. She knew every word from “Firework” by Katy Perry and they moved her from playing rhythm guitar in the background to centre stage as the lead singer.
This jamming session at the SMU Connexion Centre last Friday helped 10 youths explore music as a means of alleviating anxiety, stress, and emotional fatigue. Inspired by the rhythm guitarist who sang lead vocals, another teen provided percussions skilfully with the Cajon. However, one did not have to be a musician to benefit from the session. There was much care, respect, and connection in the room.
One youth who felt a little out of place observed the happenings from a corner but shortly, another person sat next to her to assure her that she belonged and was welcomed. The music served as a social glue that held people from different backgrounds together.
This was the second collaboration with students from the Singapore Management University to encourage mutual support among youth around mental health. The session enabled everyone to practice being a supportive presence for each other. It did not matter if one sang out of tune or was off-key. It mattered that one was comfortable in one’s skin and comfortable being with others in the room. The session showed what it meant to embrace imperfection and what it felt like to choose connection over perfection.
For peace, community, and imperfection,
There would be no need for love if perfection were possible. Love arises from our imperfection, from our being different and always in need of the forgiveness, encouragement and that missing half of ourselves that we are searching for, as the Greek myth tells us, in order to complete ourselves. -Eugene Kennedy