Despite the fact that a substantial amount of people say I can sing, I often don’t believe them. It may be my in-built urge to dismiss any compliments that people give to me, and to try and prove them wrong, or because in my mind I tell myself that I can’t accept that I’m good at SOMETHING. Whatever it is, it causes me to laugh whenever anyone says I’m a good singer, and to only sing around people when I really, really want to or when I really trust them.
Today, I did something that shocked me a little, something I would never expect myself to do. I sang to strangers over the Internet.
Alright, they’re not REALLY strangers. I got added to this group chat on WhatsApp a week ago, with the majority of the people there being blind and teenagers, but from all over the world. So England, Germany, America, South Africa to name a few places. Apart from two people, I didn’t know anybody well; I’d been lurking in the chat for a while and alongside another group, with many of the same members, I’d read messages from the various participants. I didn’t often say much until today, just the occasional “Hi!” or messages to that effect.
I was bored today, and though I should be packing for Thailand, I decided to read what the people were saying on the group. Originally, I didn’t plan to join in, but the conversation turned to music and singing. That, I had a passion for, and so I took more of an interest because I knew that if I talked, I wouldn’t feel like an outsider.
One of the girls from Germany sang on a voice message. As I said that she had a great voice, some kind of urge took hold in me. If she could sing, why wouldn’t I? I still refused to think about it though, the nervous excitement buzzing through my body preventing me from forming any coherent music. Further discussions ensued, with another girl – one I knew vaguely – singing as well.
We spoke about instruments and music, and all through this discussion, people were encouraged by others to sing: “If anyone can sing, why not show us?” I said I would, as a sort of joke, but it was only until people shared how they liked to sing that something snapped. Oh fuck it, I thought. What’s stopping me?
Nothing stopped me but my fear. I took deep breaths, practicing a little before I sent the message. However, I soon realised that even if I DID mess up, it was alright: the exact words I thought were, “You don’t know these people, and you’ll never have to meet them. You’re just another person, who CAN sing, and you should be proud.” The thumping beat of my heart quietened a little.
I sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – you can find a cover that I did of that song a while ago here – shameless self-promotion I know. Because I absolutely love the song, I found it relatively easy to sing: I may have messed up a couple of times, when I couldn’t reach the low notes, but that was down to my nerves.
When I listened back to it, after I finished, I felt strange. For once in my life, I realised that I COULD sing. There was hardly any disgust when I thought that, because I didn’t feel arrogant. I felt, and still do feel, slightly in awe that I managed to get the courage to do THAT.
The response was really positive. It’s rare that I truly thank someone, especially a group of people I don’t know, on a voice message. This time, the “Thank you, that really means a lot to me,” easily passed my lips, and I felt no fear that they’d find me too weird.
These were people who I didn’t know. The people who would listen to my voice message I had not really spoken to before, so to display something that I’m usually shy about to them was stepping hugely out of my comfort zone. Yes, I may have things up on youtube and will sing when people request me to, but I often feel so much more nervous and upset that they’d think I was shit.
Even if it IS scary, do something that you wouldn’t normally do from time to time. You will feel so much better afterwards, more so if it’s something you love.
Don’t let fear hold you back. I wouldn’t do this every day – sing to random people – and once was enough for now. But I know that I CAN do that, if the situation arises, and that I shouldn’t let my worries dictate what I do. If you take nothing else from this post, remember that you’re the one in control of what you do and don’t do.
Singing is something I love. It’s something that’s mine, and I haven’t been doing it so much recently: something I hope to rectify. Instead of shattering my confidence, this situation has boosted it.
I have a smile on my face, and I hope that it won’t fade any time soon.
From Elm 🙂