Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Overcoming Shyness

We all have something that we are self conscious about.  One of my biggest is my singing.  For as long as I can remember, I have loved to sing.  But I get so nervous if I sing in front of anyone.  People have always told me that they like to hear me sing.  They always say that I sound good.  But still, that nervousness remains.  

Growing up with eight older siblings instilled in me a wide range of musical tastes.  I grew up listening to music from different decades, and developed an appreciation and love for it all.  There are so many good songs out there.  I enjoy most genres, but my favorites are rock and country.  I also like gospel. 

As I grew, I discovered an aptitude for writing.  I write stories, poetry and songs.  My Mom says I started making up little songs and poems long before I learned to write.  

One day when I was about 8 years old, one of my brothers told me, "I bet you can't write a song."  So of course I just had to prove him wrong.  I had made up silly little songs before, but had never actually written them down on paper.  But when Richy dared me, I was determined.  And the simple act of writing it down on paper was the beginning of a life long hobby.  Yes, it was a simple and childish song...I was 8 years old, after all.  But it WAS a complete song.  I had the lyrics and the tune for it in my head.  I could sing it.  Unfortunately, I never mastered an instrument.  I wish I had learned piano or guitar.  But I could hear the music in my head.  That's all I needed to write.

Once I had written that first song, the ideas just kept coming.  When I write, I don't concentrate on any particular subject or idea.  I don't sit contemplating, trying to come up with words.  When I write, the words just kind of pop into my head.  If it's a poem, it's just words in my head.  But if it's a song, the words pop into my head line by line, with the tune included.  Sometimes it takes several days, even weeks to complete a song.  Other times, it just crashes into my head line after line until I have a complete song in my head.  

When I was little, I dreamed of growing up and becoming a singer.  That's what I would have told you if you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  As I got older, I held on to that desire, but I would get so nervous about singing in front of people.  Despite all the compliments people gave me when they heard me sing, I was still lacking in confidence.  So I shifted my "official" dream career choice to include my writing.

Then one year for Christmas my Dad got me a karaoke machine.  Every time I was home alone, I would record myself singing my favorite songs.  When I played those tapes for friends who had never heard me sing, they didn't believe it was me.  One friend even talked me into singing a few lines so she could compare.  But still, it was hard for me to sing in front of people.

In an attempt to overcome my shyness about singing, I forced myself to sing in church for a while.  I discovered that once I began singing, especially with a microphone in my hand, it became easier to do.  Despite the extreme nervousness that I felt, I could force myself to do it.   There's just something about a microphone that boosts my courage.

Even now, I still get nervous about my singing.  I have friends who have known me for years and yet they have absolutely no idea that I even like to sing.  But I know I can do it if I put my mind to it.  What I've learned is that to overcome shyness, the best way to do it is to just force yourself to ignore that nervous feeling and not let it stop you.  I know that it's easy to say, but hard to do...but push yourself into taking action.  Let yourself feel the shyness, but don't let it stop you from doing what you want to do.  


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