There are a lot of things in the world to be afraid of if you let your mind focus too long on them. Nuclear war, widespread food source contamination, asteroid hitting the Earth, etc. Frankly, there are a lot of things in town that could be pretty scary. Walking the street at night in an unfamiliar neighborhood, drunk drivers, that creepy-ass spider in the backyard that keeps managing to evade your boot of death. However, my most debilitating fear is not any of the above-named nightmares. I’m less worried about death, dismemberment, or the collapse of our planet than I am of this one thing that turns my body into a high-alert survival machine and my mind into primal ooze trying to spew forth creations of my own terror.
I am afraid to sing in front of almost everyone.
Good old-fashioned stage fright sends my body into fight or flight mode. I can barely breathe. My body tenses up awaiting attack. I close my eyes hoping to ignore the source of my deep dismay. The same mindset of a small child, “if I can’t see you, then you can’t see me.” If you were to ask me to deliver a speech to 5,000 people I’d be less nervous than singing in front of 5 people. That girl near tears in the back of the room because she’s about to sing alone at a concert with eight and nine year olds? Yup, that’s me.
I’ve never found the cure and I’ve never found the confidence. I never tried out for a solo, ever. I bombed my senior choir tryout and was graciously allowed in. I’m a study in trepidation. I am lucky I have a few supporters who have heard me really sing a song the whole way, all the way. They are saints for smiling through my overwhelming insecurity.
This year I’m trying to overcome my fear. I’ve treated this post as a confessional of sorts. I suppose it always feels good to set yourself free. I wonder if any of you have been afraid in this way before. Tell me, how do you prevail?
Be brave, friends.