It’s good to be back. It’s only been a few weeks, but I haven’t exactly been in the headspace to write. Writing is sort of like meditation though, because it gets me to align my thoughts and to connect with myself, as well as all of you. For now, I’m not going to feed into this eternal nostalgia that I’ve seemed to be carrying with me. I’ve decided to focus on all of the good people I’ve met, and what I do that makes me feel so free and at home here. The feeling of home can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but to me it’s a feeling of love. It’s a lonely place to be without love and support surrounding you; believe me, I’ve isolated myself in the past well enough to know that it wasn’t serving any purpose that fulfilled me. But I had to get out of my comfort zone.
I had to go places alone. All the time.
It really wasn’t a big deal. I mean, I was used to being alone. But I was also used to my home town feel of going somewhere intentionally because I knew everyone. When you are starting over, you don’t know anyone. I started here with one friend. But I HAD to get out and let people in. I had to go to places I knew I would love. Places I knew that would bring me joy, regardless if I were to meet no one or everyone.
Everyone who knows me, knows how much I love music, poetry and singing. So, I tried to stick with what I knew that I loved. I spent a lot of time trying to find places that felt like home to me. I knew I wanted somewhere to share my poetry, and maybe play at an open mic one day. Maybe even karaoke if I had the guts to do it in this town. Being in Austin, there are tons of places where you can see live music, and have a great time. I’m still learning about new places here, but I find myself returning to a couple of places when I don’t feel like trying out a new place.
I wish I can say that these places are the secret hidden gems of Austin, but they have proven to be anything but. The Buzz Mill and Ego’s are a couple of my favorite pastimes here. I know that when I go there, that it’s going to be a good night.
The Buzz Mill
I’ve met some really interesting people at Buzz Mill. Writers, musicians, poets, comics, and artists scurry there on Monday’s for their weekly Open Mic and then on Wednesday’s it’s purely Comedy Night. The best part? It’s free to attend. I love going so I can watch and be a part of entertainment while stuffing my face with their famous Plow Burger. A friend of mine had no idea they only offered vegan burgers until he was midway through his meal and saw the sign explaining the fact. Yes, they’re THAT good!
Another thing I love about Buzz Mill is that they have large tables that almost force you to sit next to others, and what a better way to start conversation with new people? They even offer for you to bring your pup to join in on the fun, while providing treats and bowls for them.
This place has been a major staple for me because it was the first place I read my poetry out loud to complete strangers. Everyone there made a vulnerable experience a memory to cherish, just by listening and connecting to what I had to say. I’ve only read once, and I plan on doing it again soon! I love showing people the beauty of this place if they’ve never experienced it, so if you’re ever in the area, make sure you stop by, even if it’s to grab a quick, delicious coffee!
Ego’s Karaoke Bar
Ego’s Karaoke Bar, without a doubt, lives up to its name. This hidden gem in Austin has become one of my favorite spots to come to whenever I find the time to act like I’m Alanis Morissette for the night. I say hidden gem literally, because the place is virtually impossible to find when you first try to find it. It’s almost like they don’t want to be found…hmm? It’s located under a series of offices in an underground parking garage. Once you find it, it’s not something you can easily forget.
I love going, because there are regular karaoke singers who sound like they should compete on The Voice, as well as the ones who are pure entertainment and bring comedy. I’m serious. Once you see a man the age of your grandfather get on stage and do air guitar while screaming metal music, you can’t help but be entertained. If you ever decide to join in on the fun, you can always count on having a great time.
When I first started going, I was really nervous all the time to get on stage, even though I knew I loved to sing. Now, I love looking out to the crowd and seeing everyone enjoying my songs. Sometimes, they don’t really pay attention, especially if it’s just the regulars in there who have heard me sing too many times to count now. I’ve gotten so much better as my confidence and voice opens up. And when I mess up and sound like a cat is being strangled? They will still tell me I did a great job, and let me know that even if it IS terrible, they aren’t judging me…too hard, HA!
Now, when I see a nervous person, I try talking them into taking the plunge and doing it. It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had, honestly, and I wish everyone could experience that. A girl once asked me how I stopped getting so nervous. I told her that I still get nervous, but, I learned not to care so much about what people think of me. As long as I get to do things in my life that make me happy, including belting it out on stage, then that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll sing at the top of my lungs, if people want to sing a long, then great! The more, the merrier. If not…they can move along. Same with life, right? We don’t all march to the beat of the same drum, after all.