I do well in emergencies. Like when I first found out that my house burned down and my mom collapsed in my arms–I held her up. Everything felt far away. Kind of like I was watching my life through a kaleidoscope. So much was happening around me I couldn’t take it all in–and I didn’t try. I just did what I had to do–I tried to keep everyone calm and to focus on the positive.
I say this because I suck at performing. Which kind of sucks. I always thought that because I am able to remain so calm in tense situations I would be good at performing. Just keeping my cool and doing what needs to be done. Unfortunately that’s not what happens when I get up to perform. What happens is I spend all day, sometimes even weeks, dreading my performance. I spend the day of the performance trying to ignore the inevitable and as I eventually walk up to sing the world seems to fall out of focus and I feel something like a juggler on a tightrope. While I stand up there and sing, I think about what I’m saying–the character I’m supposed to be–but mostly I’m overcome by this overwhelming panic. I feel miserable. And I don’t know why. Maybe I just don’t like standing up there alone. But it feels more like while I stand up there and smile I’m telling people a lie. Like I’m ready at this stage in my life to stand up there and have it all together–when I’m not, and I don’t. I don’t know what it is about performing and singing that makes us (or at least me) so bitterly vulnerable but it’s kind of an amazing thing. When I really sing my best I stop thinking about being anything or everything–and I just–am. At that stage I can no longer control what anyone sees–I am consumed by emotion and just a fantastic sense of self. Honestly I feel like a little kid again. It’s kind of fascinating that often times the thing we avoid and fear most are the things that can actually save us. When I’m happy to sing I am at my most vulnerable. When I’m miserable to sing I am at my most guarded.
Perhaps that’s where I’ve been wrong all along. Singing shouldn’t be a miserable anxious ordeal for me–and as long as it is I will never be able to be vulnerable with an audience.