Monday, October 1, 2012

Greatest FEAR = Greatest CHALLENGE

I am FINALLY getting back to my music!

I sang a solo in church yesterday, mainly because only two baritones were going to be in the choir, making it impossible for us to sing a full choir piece--but the reasons are unimportant.

Funny how singing is the one thing in the world that makes me nervous. Even weirder that my main reaction to being nervous is that I lose my breath. Worse case scenario--and it has happened before--is that I open my mouth and nothing comes out. Yup, it has happened. And I was singing a solo when it did. And it was awful. And even after I'd recovered, and finished the song, it was months before I would consider singing anything in front of anyone again. In fact, it was at least five years before I performed another solo.

But I did get over it. Believe it or not, church was actually what did it. My choir director said, "It's about time you sang a solo."

I just shook my head.

"No, you can do it," she insisted. "You'll sing this one."

Yes, I knew I could do it in the choir room, with a bunch of sweet choir members listening. But in front of a 350-member congregation? I could feel my chest tighten. I would lose my voice, I just knew it.

I practiced, but the feeling didn't lessen... I was going to crack, and it was going to be awful.

But then the morning of my solo came, and another soprano turned to me before we walked in. "Just sing to Jesus, honey." She showed me a stained-glass window at the other end of the church. "He's right there, and he doesn't care if you're perfect."

I didn't look at anyone that morning. Not the congregation, not the hubby, not anybody except that little stained-glass depiction of Jesus. And I didn't crack. I didn't lose my voice. I managed to make it out okay.

I realized something else, too. Jesus wasn't the only one who was pulling for me. That whole group of people wanted me to do well. Okay, perhaps there was a competitive soprano out there who wanted me to stink so that she could get the next solo. But wasn't that the case in any audition I'd had for musical theatre, when other people wanted the same role I was singing for? Of course it was!

But most people wanted me to do well. Even better, most people in the congregation wouldn't have a clue if I slipped up. I could have gone up there and sung crappy karaoke and they wouldn't have known it was crappy. Knowing this helps, too.

The support, though, has meant I can sing. Without losing my voice--it's been about 20 years since I did that--and without refusing to sing at all. I am still more nervous singing a solo than doing ANYTHING ELSE, even after years of practice. I might never get over it, not even when I'm 80. But I'll keep working at it, and the fear will lessen with every attempt.

Now you know my big fear. What's yours? Do you avoid it, or challenge it? I'd love to hear your own story of this. If you've already written it on another blog, just let me know where...


  1. I don't get scared talking or singing in public. I'd prefer not to be seen in a bathing suit, but that's just being merciful to others. Not afraid to fly or have strangers read my stuff or drive or anything I can think of like that. But I am afraid of something important.

    Failing. I tend to expect big things from myself, give myself 100% to whatever I'm doing, be self-sufficient and, let's face it, damned awesome if it's something I think important enough to pursued. For that reason, failure, falling short, screwing up where someone else has to fix it or, worse, it can't be fixed, can't be salvaged, can't be undone, scares me to death. I hate being responsible for it. And the fact I've failed (when it was important enough) has sent me into depression for long periods of time. Takes me a lot to forgive myself.

    Ironically, I've failed a great deal. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but, no, it still scares the crap out of me.

    And I have some pretty impressive failures, some of them things that mattered to me desperately.

    Even so, I failed, spectacularly, several times and I'm still here. Trying. So I guess it can be overcome.

  2. I just go with the flow, I can do anything I want in public, though I prefer private solitude. I do not know what I fear. Every common fear of people that I know man has, including failure (*shrug*) I have faced and I am still here. That may be long, that I don't think I would care for. I don't need or want to ever have to be cared for, nursed, or attended to. Call it "I fear not dying free"