From my blog on Friday, March 29, 2013:
These are the words that close Brene Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection. The last “guidepost” to what she calls Wholehearted Living is “Laughter, Song, and Dance.”
It's funny; she spends a lot of time saying how most people feel really vulnerable when dancing, concerned with what people think of how they look, or scared they'll be told to “dial it down.” That's not my experience of dancing; it's my experience of singing.
Yesterday, I had another voice lesson, this time with someone in the cast who’s also a professional voice teacher. We’re working on my “belt” range, where I need to be to sing for this role, and also the range that, when done correctly, feels to me like yelling.
And where I begin to pull back. Close my throat, muffle the sound. Close off. Shut down. Shine down. Diminish. Dull. Deflate.
I am so achingly terrified of being loud. Because deep in my history is the terror of being hit.
If you make noise, you are noticed. If you are noticed, you are a target.
This terrible defense mechanism I’ve built that stifles me. Stifles me from the thing I am most passionate about. I don’t think this is coincidental.
(I believe) We are pushed into the places of most discomfort in order to heal from and emerge from them.
The years spent avoiding singing. The years spent writing quietly. The moments when I do try, the self-doubt that pounces on me, that shushes me.
I am walking right into the center of one of my greatest fears. And I am emotional. Scared. And also, trying.
I am trying so hard. I want to do this so badly because I love it. Because I feel it’s beautiful, and transporting, and transforming. Because I believe that song is one channel my soul wants to shine through. Because it makes me happy, gleeful, expansive, collaborative, alive.
I have one foot in a bear-trap. Constructed practically in utero. It is rusted, craggy, and defunct. What this feels like is chewing off my own limb to free myself. Painful. Awful. And completely necessary.
I don’t know what the outcome will be by the time the show opens in 3 weeks. I don’t know if I’ll power through the “shouting” that I think I’m doing, but exactly what my teacher yesterday applauded. I don’t know if I’ll pull back. I might. It might still be too frightening to be truly heard, and to truly give what I know I can.
And no matter the outcome, or what I perceive as the outcome (since apparently, I can’t hear myself very well through all my shushing and evaluating and mishegas), I must also know and acknowledge, that whatever the result, I am indeed trying to dismantle this old trap.
Which is something I wasn’t willing to do before.