I love stand-up comedy. I watch comedians with awe and admiration as they bare their soul while sacrificing their own humility and weaknesses for the chance at making people laugh, helping others to forget their own issues for a short while. When it is good, it is magic.
I often wonder if I could do what they do, stand in front of many to be judged while trying to entice a laugh, probably at my own expense. I don’t know that I will ever have the guts to even try, but I’d like to think that one day I will. Heck, I never thought I would have a blog or share my thoughts, stories, and fears with the entire internet. And yet, here we are today on my very own blog.
This past weekend I was at our local dive bar with my parents and siblings, playing pool and having a few adult beverages. I had the same thoughts about karaoke this weekend that I do about stand up comedians. Almost all of the singers were horrible, belting out off-key tunes and fumbling for the right lyrics, failing miserably with each new song. Of course, there were a few hidden gems who sounded amazing. And yet, these awful sounding American Idol wannabes were willing to get up there in front of the entire bar to be judged without fear. What bravery! What gusto! What confidence!
I have a raspier man voice by nature and I like to think that in my car, I sound JUST LIKE Melissa Etheridge or the Indigo Girls. Odds are I really sound more like Snuffaluffagus mixed with some Ray Romano and a cold. I like to think I am a brave, confident woman who doesn’t care what anyone thinks, I am strong, I am fearless, I am my own person. Turns out, not so much. I know the real truth by which I now judge my vulnerability. In my almost 36 years, I have never sang karaoke. As I thought about my secret wish to do stand-up and this quiet fear of singing in public, I started to question my inner badass. Who am I really if I am afraid of standing up in front of the people in this dive bar?!
Those people would not remember me tomorrow. Full of beer and pub food, I would just not register on their radars. And yet I always hesitate to get up there and belt out my favorite tunes. This bothers me, and I cannot quite pinpoint why exactly that is. It should not be an issue for the person that I choose to see myself as. Having a healthy sense of self-worth and confidence in most things, I wonder how this can be such a overwhelming fear of judgement for me? Karaoke is supposed to be bad. Why do I care so much about what strangers and my closest family members (who already know that I suck at singing) think? Why do I fear being judged on something so miniscule and insignificant?
The obvious answer is that everyone does. Noone wants to be judged, and especially in a negative light. However, this little blip on my weekend screen has me thinking about authenticity and if my actions align with my thoughts and words. I truly do want to be someone who does not care what others think of her, within reason. Sure, I care what my boss and peers think. I care what my family and close friends think. But I want to be someone who does not care what the bar patrons think; someone who chases their wildest dreams of trying stand-up comedy. I want to challenge my own views of my self-imposed limits and soar past them with surprising results. Starting my little blog this year showed me that I could be creative and write consistently well, even when I questioned whether I had the ability to do so.
I have written previously about continuously trying new things just outside of your comfort zone to keep in flux with constant change and overcome fears. I sure talk alot for someone who is so scared of a dive bar karaoke night, ha! Check out my past articles about these same themes: Feel the Fear , Perspective on Change, Think It Over and Epic Failure. And yet, there I was singing and dancing in the back of the bar with my sister-in-law when I really just wanted to sing some Garth Brooks and rock out with the mic in my hand. Shame.
I don’t get out much with two young kids, but hopefully the next time you run into me at the dive bar, you’ll see me with a mic in my hand and a big smile of relief on my face when I tackle this next uncomfortable fear. I know I must slay this silly imaginary dragon, and yet my knees still shake a bit at the thought. Baby steps that just may lay the seeds on the road to a fun stand-up hobby one day. Try not to judge, and please sing along! It will drown out the dying whale with a sinus infection coming through the loudspeakers.