Posts Tagged ‘nerves’

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break the ice.

September 21, 2009

So today was my first day of my Careers Guidance course at uni!  It went well, there was a lot of information to take in and my head is still spinning a tiny bit, but it was good, everyone seems nice and I made a couple of friends already!  It seems a bit daunting and also a very fast-moving course, but I am ready for the challenge (I think!) and I know that it’s only natural to be nervous and I am capable of it.  I can do this.  Let’s go!

So as it was our first day in the classroom, and we only knew a couple of people (whom we’d gone to interview with) very barely, so it was natural that we had to do some icebreaker games.  I had feared this, but I had expected this too.  We had to each write down something “unusual” about ourselves, and although thinking about it now, I could have written that when I was 18, I met Janet Jackson at an album release party for Damita Jo (I won a radio competition with Star FM) and talked to her very briefly.  I could have also written some other stuff that I can’t recall right now, but in the end, I came out with the fact that I sing, write and produce my own music, and I promote it here online (on this blog, on myspace and on youtube, as well as through my twitter account).

There were several people who had done musical things, like me, and it was very interesting.  However, everyone seemed to take an interest in me to the point that I almost felt a little embarrassed about mentioning it, because although I am very proud of my material (and listening to some of the songs from Quiet Storm again last night, I really did some bangers on this album!!!! I can’t wait for y’all to hear it 😀 ), it was strange for people to be so interested in it.  Especially for people who a) didn’t know me from Adam, and b) people who have done their own music things (with varying degrees of success but some certainly more successful than me) in a variety of genres and settings.  I was touched that they took such an interest and gave me respect, but I did feel the glare of attention on me and I wished I had chosen something else to reveal about myself.

Especially because out of the 22 of us, only me and one other guy (Mike) smokes.  Though it seems not to have crossed anyone’s mind yet, I am anticipating someone’s eventual question “why do you smoke if you sing?” I know that I shouldn’t, but luckily up until now I have gotten away with it with barely a scratch on my vocals, so to speak.  I can still sing, I can still belt, I can still whisper, I can still whistle (sort of… I can do a pretty good whistle for a guy).  I am learning to belt less and to sing powerfully with my head voice more, which sounds less straining and also allows me to control myself more and emote slightly more.  So my technique is changing, but improving; not declining.  My father said the other night that although I am apparently “still too loud”, I “sing more and howl less”.  It was supposed to be a compliment and I took it as such – although I don’t deny that I am loud when I sing at home against the stereo (poor neighbours), I was touched that my dad can hear the improvement in my technique.  Power is important, but also I value transmitting the emotion when I sing and trying to carry the impact of the tune and the lyrics and the emotions all at once.  That’s what I feel is the true task and true skill of a singer – to really feel the story / mood that a song tells, and to transmit that to your audience so that the song becomes special / significant to them and they feel a little bit of what you feel.  Singing may be a technical thing, but it’s also a primal and emotional thing.

I guess it did break the ice, and I guess I do feel more comfortable within the group.  I certainly don’t dread tomorrow!  But I hope that the music thing becomes a footnote in my year on the course, unless I decide to make it otherwise.  I want to have the control and power over what I sing and when I do it.  That’s what I’ve always enjoyed up to now, and that’s something I hope to maintain throughout my life. 🙂

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holy matrimony.

August 16, 2009

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend the wedding of my friend Aiman to her boyfriend Phil.  They’d been dating for nearly 3 years, engaged for 8 months prior to yesterday’s wedding, and it seemed unreal to me that a girl I met 5 years ago who was so childlike and naive had grown into a young woman who is embarking on married life.  I know that a couple of my friends felt it was too young (Aiman is 24) to get married, and others really dislike her partner Phil for various reasons.  Myself, I feel that different things work for different people.  Phil is Aiman’s first boyfriend, and sometimes high-school sweethearts make it work, so I guess university sweethearts isn’t so far-fetched either.  And although I’ve heard various things about Phil’s temperament during the stormier parts of their relationship and their on-off periods, he’s always been perfectly nice to me and vaguely witty in conversation.  So I am happy for them both, and I sincerely hope that it all works out for them.

Sitting in the church with my friends (whom it was so good to see!), waiting for Aiman to enter and watching everyone else buzzing about, I actually felt nervous!  I mean, why? I didn’t think that Aiman was going to back out, and she wasn’t even late (uncharacteristic for her).  As I’ve explained, I was really happy for them to get married, and I guess there was only a tiny tiny part of me that thought that it may not have been the right decision, at least at this time – I suppose that’s normal, to be scared that something’s not going to work out, and to hope against hope that it does.  99% of me was genuinely happy sans reservations for them.  I guess that the nerves were from the fact that this was the first friend of mine who was taking the plunge into a new life with somebody, that she had grown up and changed so much, that it took a lot of bravery and courage to commit to such a life-changing decision.

Why is it life-changing? I started thinking about this logically – whether you’re in a church, a registry office, on a beach or in a football field – the venue may have different levels of solemnity (also depending on who marries you and whether they think they are a stand-up comic – the pastor was atrocious!  “the 6 most important words in any marriage: ‘I admit I made a mistake.'” What a thing to say at a WEDDING.  Come on now.) but the act is essentially the same: you’re declaring and committing your love for another.  If you both agree to get married, and you both are in love (which, ideally speaking, you should be!), then there’s nothing to be afraid of.  I think its the combination of the venue, having family and friends around you, and the gravitas that always comes with such an event; that gravitas is what, I suppose, made me feel nervous for a few minutes as the wedding was starting.

Would I like to get married?  I dreamed about getting engaged in sixth form (obviously that never happened, which was probably a good thing, in retrospect), thinking that it would have been cool and romantic.  The two people in my sixth form who did get both engaged and pregnant before finishing were a topic of debate, and not usually in a positive way – too young, too soon, too much etc. The dreams we have for ourselves, as soon as they turn into a reality for someone else, seem to suddenly acquire pitfalls, pros and cons, and more serious consideration than we originally had for them when they were just fantasies in our heads.  Something we imagine to be so positive suddenly becomes negative – are we hateful people who can’t be happy for another?  I don’t think so – like I said, I was genuinely so happy for my friends yesterday on their wedding day.  But for me to get married would be something entirely incomprehensible to the single, 23-yo me right now.  If it were to happen, I am sure I could make it work, but I don’t really feel in the right space or time for marriage right now.  I always imagined being single, but even if I ended up happily with somebody, I don’t think I would want to push for marriage immediately.  I want to enjoy single life, and I want to enjoy dating, and I want it to feel right in its own time.  And I am sure that yesterday, for Aiman and Phil, it felt right and that is the most important thing of all – in love, your hearts being in the right place goes a long way towards making everything work.