I share with you a very personal blog which I hope may resonate and help some of you who read it.
Many many years ago read that Barbara Streisand, she of the beautiful voice, is literally sick every time before she goes on stage. I was really shocked by this. Someone with a god-given voice like hers should surely waltz onto the stage and own it like the diva she is, without any pre-show nerves?
It turns out she’s not alone. I think so many of us, even those who may look brave, suffer terribly with nerves, particular when a big moment is upon them.
It used to be said that nerves was a sign that ‘you cared’ and that could be well true but surely, if the nerves make the whole event a traumatic experience then surely, nerves are not such a good thing? After all, fear was good in the times of dinosaurs; after all you didn’t really ever want to be caught by one did you?
My fear story is this.
I sing in a choir. When I joined over a year ago (best thing I ever did) I was really nervous and kept my voice low so as not to embarrass myself. A year in, the confidence that @gemrose instils in everyone has encouraged us all to find our true inner voices and sing out.
Over the last weeks we have been rehearsing for Halloween Night and a gig @canvas and now for Christmas. As the week went by, and rehearsal weeks were lessening, I started to feel really fearful. I kept looking in the diary and thinking about the night. What had seemed like a really fun thing to do was creating a fear in me that did me no favours.
As someone who has spent the vast majority of their life living in a ‘fear’ state this was not an emotion I wanted to encourage again; especially after six years of ‘work’ on myself to understand my fears and to learn to ‘manage them’.
With a few days before the event, it was suggested that instead of singing the entire song “Thriller” together, we would each have individual lines. I was sent the message and asked if I would sing two lines. Of course, I said “yes” immediately but inside my stomach gave a little flip. Eeek…how on earth was I going to do a solo?
As the day approached, with firstly a video in a hall and to the performance itself, I felt physically sick and was literally paralyzed with fear. I didn’t show it on the outside, but inside, I was shaking like a leaf and felt ‘wired’ and dizzy. I guess i was taken back to those days when I sang as a little girl and was asked to perform in front of an audience. I recall on one occasion, provably around the age of 12, just literally freezing on the spot, no words coming to my lips until many bars of the tune had been played.
Could this be the same situation again? Would I just freeze, like a rabbit in the headlights? Mostly importantly, would I let everyone down?
I have good news for you. I did not. However, the psyching up that came before hand was priceless. Firstly, I cheated, and wrote the words on my hand (I didn’t need them) but they gave me security (just in case) and I coached myself. Here’s what I said –
You can do this
You have got this
This is fun not scary
You need to get your shit together Tracey and stop fluffing your lines (LOL)
But the one that got me through the night the most was “I sing with an amazing choir and I am not going to let any one of them down; as we sing as one voice.”
If, like me, you are someone who struggles with confidence or has struggled with confidence in the past and, in particular, having a voice, fear not. You are not alone.
Acknowledging that you have that fear and learning ways to handle the fear and use it to the positive will empower you like never before. I recommend Feel the Fear and Do it anyway by Susan Jeffers and if you read the book and want to live the life, then you can contact https://feelthefeartraining.com/marshamiles.
And if all the coaching fails….you have your hands to write on!
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