OH MY GOD, I thought yesterday on the phone. What am I going to say?
Randy waited at the other end of the line.
“Ummm … I don’t remember getting their contact info, no,” I said finally in supposed deep thought. He burst out in frustrated laughter. “Nooooo!” he exclaimed. “They were amazing musicians! We all thought you had it, so we figured we’d get it later.”
Ugh, guilt. I did have it. In fact, I still do. I have their email — I got it when I promised them my voice clips that I don’t have. At the moment of my promise, I felt amazing, like I was breaking some kind of rule that always held me back from following my dream of taking my singing outside of my own shower, and I felt that in this way I was helping me out. But the next day when reality hit, I felt embarrassed and wondered what I was thinking.
But on the phone with Randy, the lie weighed heavier on me than embarrassment, and I came clean. “Actually, now that you mention it, I think I have their email somewhere in my phone,” I said, rolling my eyes.
Today, I entertained the idea of really letting strangers know the inner me — that precious thing, the voice that surfaces only when I’m alone. Except when I’m wrapped in anxiety at the thought, it doesn’t surface at all.
So, I stopped entertaining the idea real fast and went grocery shopping instead. But when I returned, the idea surfaced again. “OK, fine, my lil rock star, let’s see what you sound like,” I told myself and pulled out my secret voice recorder from my desk drawer. (Lucky for me, my roomie is in Australia.)
I chose a Beatles song. I played it on YouTube and looked up the lyrics and tried to follow along. As I sang, I tried to picture the words but pictured people watching me instead, and my voice quickly took a bow and hid behind the vocal cords. What else is new, I thought, I’ve seen this happen in dance classes too. I played back the tape only to discover that I sounded just as I felt: muted.
After a few tries, I gave up. Fughettaboutit. I closed down YouTube, kicked back and just sang the lyrics one last time before closing that window too. I was about to put away the recorder, when I figured I should at least play back what I had just sang without music. And at verse one, my jaw dropped. It was amazing. It carried feeling, it had consistency. It had personality. You could tell it apart, and you could tell that the person singing felt the song and had her own style.
So, I’ve realized one thing: When I try to do it on my own without thinking of others’ expectations and reactions, or without trying to be exactly like whoever did it first, that’s when I succeed. And that applies to all things.
A good lesson for the day, and feeling all inspired, I briefly considered getting the sound I recorded from the voice recorder to the computer and really sending it to those guys.
But then I realized I’d have to figure out how to do that exactly … and one challenge for the day is enough.