I played my first show a couple of weekends ago. It feels pretty surreal now that it ever happened.
Even the next morning I wasn’t sure that it had. Probably because I went from singing on a stage to a crowd of people in a bar to sitting alone in my cubicle staring at some graphs.
But happen it did. It all started out with me attending my first ever open mic at a place called Free Times Cafe. I don’t want to sing professionally and I don’t care much about performing. BUT I hated the idea of having stage fright.
I’ve had stage fright all my life, since I was a little kid when I would cry if I was being forced to sing in front of people.
When I was a teenager I was taking classical voice lessons and actually dreamed of becoming an opera singer. But I would enter into these singing competitions and when I’d perform, I would get so nervous that I’d forget all the words and something that was NOT my voice would come out of my mouth. It was pretty brutal.
I got back into singing many years later, but this time just for fun. I was taking lessons at my friend’s music school and every year they put on a recital. I still got the uncontrollable shakes the couple of times I sang on stage. And that bothered me.
People who aren’t sure if they’re going to get killed stepping outside of their house on any given day in a war-torn country have something real to fear.
Stage fright? Well, I believe stage fright is an irrational fear stemming from the insecurity you have that people may think you suck after hearing you perform.
I actually think many of the things we’re afraid of doing in life come from caring too much about what other people think. And so we hold back. We don’t pursue the things that would bring us great enjoyment or a more fulfilling life.
And so, when I was asked by the Free Times’ open mic host to come back for their Best of the Open Stage show, I said yes because I knew it was time to really kick stage fright in its big butt.
I practiced really hard for the next couple of months to prepare. I went to a couple more open mics to get practice singing in front of people. I almost planned to go sing out on the street — I figured if I could do that, I was golden!
But I got sick a couple weeks before the show (of course). I tried not to panic and focused on getting better. The night of the show, I was still battling something and was barely keeping myself together. But the audience was so incredibly amazing and all I wanted to do was lay out everything on that stage so I could walk away knowing I did my absolute best.
It turned out to be a great night and I was mostly just ecstatic to have so many of my favourite people in the same room, showing so much love and support.
Would I do it again? Yes, I would. I truly believe that conquering fear in one area of your life will just make you less fearful in other areas of your life.
And as with most things, practice makes perfect — so, the more you practice pushing fear away and just going for it, the easier it becomes to ALWAYS push fear away when it’s trying to steal the spotlight.
What’s been one of your life-long fears that you’ve either conquered or would like to conquer?
~ Cafe <3