I went into today’s vocal lesson angry. As I drove there, I became more and more frustrated with being shy and quiet and meek at every past lesson. So, by the time I got there, I was motivated to not hold back. And miraculously, it worked. I’d estimate I normally sing at about 30% of my capacity, which is an improvement from where I used to be at like 10%, and it is incredibly frustrating. But today I was closer to 90% of what I can do.
My teacher was a bit surprised. She knew I could, but didn’t expect me to produce such big sounds because I rarely do thanks to anxiety. I felt relieved. I finally got to sing closer to my potential, like I’m able to sing in my car when no one is around. And I had the most fun I’ve ever had singing. It’s amazing how much more fun it is when you are worrying less about people hearing you, and focus on performing for the people who can hear you. Not to mention, I was performing for myself.
This isn’t to say I’m magically cured of anxiety, or that someone with social anxiety can just choose to ignore it. Wouldn’t that be nice? But I am making a pact with myself that singing quietly from now on will be a choice, rather than out of fear. It might not work every time, but it certainly builds my confidence each time I can make it work.
It’s interesting because I had a similar experience with my dance training as a young girl. For years, I held back shyly. And then one day I stopped caring. I started giving it my all as often as possible, and dance became more fun. It’s why I enjoy dancing still today. With singing, it took over a year of lessons, some virtual which were even scarier because my neighbors could hear me, but I have finally reached that point with this too.
In the song we worked on today, Esmerelda sings, “Change will come. One day. Someday. Soon.” Looks like that day is today.