So this past week I tried something new. I was absolutely terrified. Shaking in my boots. Trying to find ways to get out of the commitment.
I did a singing class.
After all these years, after all the training I’ve done for races, after all the times I’ve spoken on stage, those things don’t terrify me the way this singing class did. I’ve taken dance classes and learned to salsa, waltz, etc. I’ve taught myself how to apply costume makeup and how to paint on canvas. While I plan to continue doing all of these things, I also thought to myself, “I need a new challenge”. So singing.
I don’t have any training in singing. I have no concept of range, octave, the larynx, all those things that seem to be important for singing. I love singing, but that’s usually alone while I’m cleaning or in the shower. It’s usually pretty loud and I doubt my neighbours appreciate it. Regardless, I was still willing to learn.
The class is just one-on-one. The instructor plays music and has me sing words like “meow-meow-meow-meow-meow-meow-meow”. I feel dumb and I can’t hit all the notes (even I can tell in that circumstance). We do it over and over and over again and the 30 minutes passes by without me actually singing words. I am learning it like I am learning an instrument, and that instrument is my voice. Usually by the end of the class, I can hit some of the notes. It’s encouraging to me, to know that having that lesson is helping even if I’m meowing.
Overall, it does remind me of running. I didn’t start running long distances. I didn’t even think that I would ever run long distances. When I started, I just ran outside at lunch hour during my breaks from work. I didn’t break a sweat, because it was neither far nor fast. It was more about getting outside and moving around rather than just sitting at a desk. Then slowly, over time, it changed. Suddenly I wanted to be running a little bit further. I wanted to try going faster. Then I wanted to try a 5km race, so I registered. These days, I’m more likely to have to consider the costs of the registration over whether I can train and do the actual race (even just to start the race).
So what is actually terrifying to you? Is it trying to run a further distance? Is it auditioning to be a backup dancer in a hip hop music video? Is it moving to a new city for a start over? Is it standing in front of a person and trying to sing? I think I’d rather try to audition for the hip hop video. Except that I thought it out beforehand and I knew that having someone actually hear me sing, assessing my voice and the way I sound, trying to instruct me on what needed to change, that was terrifying. The instructor even commented that I looked pretty scared at the beginning.
I’m registered in two virtual races. One is 60km over the course of January and one is 552km over the course of 2022. I’m registered in a number of local races, as well as a few ultra-marathons. I’m taking another graduate class. Now I’m taking singing classes. I am determined to work hard at all of those things and improve. I want to work to improve my time for the races (and to actually complete all of them). I want to work to maintain a solid grade in my graduate program. Now and new, I am determined to learn how to sing.
Maybe one day I will be able to sing well. Maybe not. Either way, at least I tried. I will definitely be going to the class next week. I’m even looking forward to it.