“Were you nervous?”
“Yeah Dad, why do you say that?”
“Well, I could tell. You sounded great, I could just tell you were nervous.”
I don’t really know who doesn’t get nervous singing their first featured solo in a full belt in high school in front of 100s of people with a full choir behind them.
My “Seasons of Love” debut pride was short-lived after this cutting feedback. I am the dancer of the family. My dad is the singer along with my two very talented brothers. I immediately feel stupid for even trying. These very normal human yet, at times, debilitating nerves will haunt me for years.
At every audition.
Every voice lesson.
During every subsequent show.
I will second guess every note.
Analyze every phrase.
Dissect my voice’s worth.
I had hoped this moment would be a connection between my father and I. The man whose voice sung me to sleep every night as a child, one of the only memories of him I have of us during that time. The barbershop lead singer who had dreamed of being an artist himself. The man who did everything he could to be respected by his father and be seen for his efforts, the man who I would later find out suffered from panic attacks just like me, the man who I would later find out struggled with stage fright and nerves. The man who drank his insecurities, numbed his sensitivities, denied his own traumas and offered suggestions and feedback during inopportune times when he was trying to help…when I just needed a supportive, loving witness to who I was becoming.
In this moment, standing on stage in a floor length gown with shaky hands and even shakier confidence I had hoped to be respected and be seen for my efforts…to maybe even show my father what was possible. That my success was his success. That he could be brave.
This post is part of "The Eileen Show" Series
A vignette collection of memories, mis-attunements and messy moments that have limited, spiraled and propelled me within and throughout my life.