Patricia has been coming to North London Cares social clubs for the last six years. At the recent Kentish Town talent show she blew the audience of older and younger neighbours away with her rendition of Sandy Shaws "Long Live Love". Having admitted to feeling very nervous on her way up to the stage Patricia soon relaxed when she got the microphone in her hand. The room was spellbound and burst into a huge round of applause when she finished, a feeling that Patricia was familiar with but hadn't experienced for nearly fifty years!
Patricia had always enjoyed singing as a child and could often be found treating her family to glimpses of her talent whilst washing dishes. When her Grandmother died Patricias great aunt was overcome with grief and asked Patricia not to sing anymore as she felt that singing was for when you were happy.
"I always remembered that. She said that I should be praying not singing. It stuck with me. Life was a bit like that, it gets in the way. You might be having a difficult time or going through sad experiences and you forget what it is you love."
When Patricia had first moved to London she entered a singing competition in Camden and remembered how she felt when she had finished.
"I can remember feeling very relaxed, like all my nerves had gone away."
Raising a young child by herself meant that Patricia didn't have much time for her passions anymore.
"It was difficult being a single parent and raising my son. The years went by very quickly. I had always planned on going back to Ireland but I never did, I let things pass me by and then it seemed like it was too late."
Patricia started attending North London Cares events a few years ago after she was invited along to a coffee morning. Although she was very nervous the first few times she kept on going as she enjoyed meeting new people and experiencing different activities. A few weeks ago she found herself at the talent show, facing the difficult decision of doing something she loved even though she knew it was going to make her incredibly nervous to start with. Showing the same bravery that helped her when she first came along to social clubs, Patricia made her way to the stage and took a deep breath.
"I didn't feel as nervous as I had all those years ago. I think I must have got more courageous with age!"
Patricia smiles when I ask her if she has any advice for someone who is feeling nervous about making a decision or doing something new.
"It's always a matter of getting started. If you get on with something and do it, I think that most of the time you'll feel better afterwards. I think sometimes life is nicer than we allow it to be."
Wise words indeed.
Posted by Andy Naylor on Monday 2nd December 2019
Andy is a Programme Coordinator (Social Clubs) at North London Cares