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Do The Best You Can

Song Notes

Some years ago, I was invited to lead some singing at a gathering for folks working through the challenges of adjusting to the processes 0f gender transformation.  The specific challenge was the change in range and sonority in ones singing voice that happens naturally when undergoing hormonal assistance during gender transition.   The amenities at this outdoor retreat center included several portable potties for the participants use, each of which had on the back of its door little placards with inspiring quotations for the edification and inspiration of the participants.

Making use of one such amenity just before starting my first session with the attendees, I noticed the inscription on the door was a quote from the poet Maya Angelou; “Do the best you can until you know better, and when you know better, do better.”  It seemed like the perfect opening for the coming workshop, and I started finger drumming on the plastic exhaust pipe in the porta-potty, which, if you have similar proclivities to me to drum on just about anything with some hollow sound and a bit of echo, you may have already noticed that portal-potty pipes sounds pretty good, even if they’re a bit unconventional as percussion instruments.  As I drummed along, I began singing the words of Ms. Angelou’s request to up our games as we learn from our trials and life lessons.

A few moments after departing my impromptu echo chamber, I was teaching the song to the assembled gathering, adding harmonies as we went along, and it turned out to be a great little ice breaker at many a future gathering.  It has also become a part of what I sometimes present as “The Port-Potty Suite” at singing gatherings, as it has been joined by several other songs with identical sites and similar sources of inspiration.