Monday, November 14, 2011
Day Fourteen: Have you faced your fears and conquered them?
Well that's kind of a big question... no... no kind of about it-- that is a big question. And my answer is so squishy... I have two really common fears-- heights and public performing. I deal with the heights thing pretty much every day at work, climbing 20 foot ladders,but the public performing thing? Yeah... not so much. One of the hardest things about doing the Planet You workshop was putting my face and voice out there with my ideas... it just makes me nervous. Public speaking... even when I'm teaching a small art class to people I know, or reading a newsletter aloud at work, makes my voice shake... my knees shake, and my stomach takes up semi-permanent residence in the bottom of my throat. ButI can make myself do it. I can talk myself into it. Now... what I still can't do is sing in public. I have a good voice, and thogh I struggle sometimes with being a little flat, I tend to sing well. But I am terrified to let you hear me sing. So much so, that I can't really sing when I think people might hear me. I end up all flat and all over place. In those moments, you'd think I couldn't sing. But so here's the thing... I was on location for a job in Vermont... little town outside of Quichee Gorge, living a hotel for about a week. The bar had nightly Karaoke... and my team of people would all meet up in the bar for dinner and a drink and then, Karaoke would begin... and for most of my team, it was just a good time... hanging out, singing, with gusto, with some passable voices, and some even downright poorly but having a blast... and me... couldn't do it. Nope. Not a sound would come out of my mouth. Now... Let me tell you a bit about the job i had at the time, I led a team of people who literally went door to door advertising for local retailers. We knocked on over a hundred doors a day, talked to every person we could find and gave them our sales pitch... yeah... me, the girl who can't speak in public. And at the start of most days, I was responsible for giving a small motivational speech-- many of which I focused on "getting past your fear" because let me tell you, knocking on doors is a scary job. So one night, my guys said "Hey... you talk to us every day about conquering our fears... and you sit here too scared to sing in an empty bar... you sing, or we take the day off." Well... I found a song, closed my eyes, and shook all the way through it... but I did it. And they were so proud of me and so unsure of why I was afraid, because the thing is, I CAN sing. I'm just terrified. So... our last night in town, we head down to the bar only to find that it is full... like 100 people in there... and here we are wondering WTF when the Karaoke DJ says... to me... I'm glad you came, we're having a contest... you should sing. And I said No... uh uh no way. And So my team put my name in... And the next thing I know he's calling my name. I sat on the floor, under the bar, and sang Killing me Softly so sweetly it brought tears to a few eyes. I missed a note or two, couldn't get my voice to stop shaking until the second verse, but still... I did it. A hundred people. When I finished, the DJ said "good thing the contest was over or there would be a whole lot of locals who were disappointed"... I smiled, blushed, walked away and believed, for a moment, that perhaps, fear really was just a silly waste of time. Faced? Yes. But conquered? no way no how. I'm still afraid. How about you? What scares you?