Elizabeth Gilbert describes them as “art scars”. Emotional scars that you got at some point while you were trying to express your creativity. It goes deeper then that for me.
I have loved singing since before I could remember. I did it non-stop as a child. I was born with a clef palate, when they were repairing something happened and low and behold I ended up with a speech impediment. It shaped who I am as a person and how I express and see myself.
So yeah, despite this, I have always loved singing. But then I became a teenager and I stopped. I had a lot of bullies growing up and in 7th grade I realized that if I was QUIET and INVINCIBLE I was SAFE.
People can’t make fun of your voice if they can’t hear you talk.
So into the shell I went and I’ve been suffocating ever since. I held fast to every negative criticism I had ever received about my voice (and self in general). I told myself over and over again that I was not supposed to sing, i wasn’t even supposed to want to. Funny how your heart and brain just refuse to agree sometimes.
I don’t like driving (ask my bf. that is an understatement) but the ONE THING I always loved about driving was that I got to be ALONE in my car and SING MY ASS OFF. It was my safe haven, literally the only place I would allow myself to sing.
Then my mom and sister passed away…
Do you sense a theme here?
Yes, their deaths were a HUGE catalyst to the person I am and becoming currently. Nothing wakes your ass up like watching 2 people you love leave this earth. Nothing makes you realize, “Hey….I don’t have all the time in the world..” like that.
It still took me two years to go to a vocal class. I literally agonized over it every week for 2 years, trying to convince myself that it was an utterly insane and stupid thing to do. WHY THE HELL WOULD I DO THAT?! I sing in my car, not in front of other human beings. I used to as a bitty kid but not anymore.
Nag, nag, nag the thought went. I went on Yelp and found a school that was on my way home from work. I read the description by the head of the school, it just spoke to me. That made me want to go there, but, she (Olivia) intimidated me because she had been an American Idol finalist...so I didn’t choose her as my instructor.
My first class was terrifying, I barely made any noise. I got slightly comfy with teacher #1 and then. she left. So a new instructor was given to me, a guy, he was really cool and I was more comfy with him…then he left. Then came the 3rd one, I really liked her a lot and felt myself somewhat progressing…I’ll give you one guess what happened…SHE LEFT.
So about now my brain is telling, “Um, Malinda, yeah…maybe you need to stop this madness. 3 instructors have left and now you’re going for #4.” I had literally just paid for another month of classes when instructor #3 left me, so I had to at least finish out the classes.
They put with me Olivia. I was SO scared and intimidated to have her teach me. The universe makes shit happen for a reason though guys. Because I have progressed more in 4 lessons with Olivia then I did with the months and months and months of all the other instructors. She’s amazing and her energy just meshes with mine. What if I had stopped going when instructor #3 quit?!
(On a good day I can remember this..)
It’s still been pulling teeth for Olivia to get me to sing. I was never able to really go “all the way” and sing like I sing in the car with any of the others. And when I’d say, “I can do it better by myself” I always felt like they were thinking, “Surrreee..”
But TODAY I WAS ABLE TO SING. I got it out, I did it like I do it in the car. Her and I were both so excited. I fight a mental battle against the past when it comes to this and it makes me unable to express myself. Or it tries, now I am actively attempting to combat that.
SAFETY does not make me HAPPY. SAFETY makes me MISERABLE.
I should get that tattooed on me.
I’m just so proud of myself at the moment. 🙂
BTW the song I’m working on currently is “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga, hence the title.