August 30, 2015. I remember this day vividly. The fear of not busking had reached it's zenith and had started to eclipse the fear of doing it. It also helped that I was pretty angry that day so it gave me the charge I needed to leave home in Valley Stream, Long Island, fear be damned and walk over to merrick road, where I would take the bus to Jamaica and from there, take the LIRR to Penn Station. It was also the first time really testing the weight of "the rig" that I'd put together with bungees and a hand cart. It's the same set up I use to this day. It was even heavier back then with my old crate amp.
I remember awkwardly rolling it down trying to get a sense of the best way of holding it and rolling it up sidewalk ramps. I remember one angel (a man) yelling to me from across the street, "hold it like this, Hunny!" The universe has been sending me angels since day 1.
I scoped out my spot weeks before. I knew I'd play in the underpass hall infront of the tiled mosaic wall of a clown or something. It was festive and pleasant and I felt sure that it was the right spot for me after hearing a drumming one man band playing there previously.
I roll up to the spot and the fear consumed my body. My hands were shaking like a leaf on a tree. I thought, "No backing down now." I rolled the rig right up against the wall and into a giganto pile of dust bunnies and instantly backed up to find a cleaner spot but it was all pretty filthy. "Oh well, it's the subway after all. What was I expecting?"
I set up, apprehensively, so afraid a cop would say, "Hey you, what're you doing! Stop being a menace. Go home."
In fact, a police officer did approach me, he seemed apprehensive as well, and said, "there's no panhandling allowed here." I said, "I'm not, sir. I'm only practicing." Then he said, "in that case, you're fine." lol
But apart from that, no one said a word, so I started to play and I remember people walking by me in awe, the good kind, with delighted looks on their faces, some of them congratulating me on being a woman and doing this. I honestly hadn't thought of that though. I don't ever remember that I'm a woman. Just like I don't think about being brown-skinned (unless I'm picking out makeup, right?) I just do what I want to do. But the female thing was working in my favour.
I felt so much adrenaline, fear and excitement, I didn't even realised that I played 7 hours without even taking more than a sip of water. 7 hours! And I made just over $100. I thought I was onto something. I couldn't believe that people would actually give me money to play. Silly as it sounds. I really set out to busk because I'd had a calling to do it. My soul needed to do it. I don't know why. But money was never it. But now, I'd made $100 and I thought, I can't wait to do this again!