April 10, 2007

Stage Fear

One thing that I have always wanted to conquer, and have failed miserably at, is stage fear. People who can get up at a moment’s notice, address a gathering and hold them in awe have always impressed me. More so because that is something I have never been able to do.

Not that I have never tried. I have tried to conquer the demons on various occasions. Once, I even decided to throw caution to the winds and sing on stage. Those who have heard me sing will know that hearing me sing is like hearing chalk grate on a blackboard. And yet, one day, a long time ago, I just decided to go ahead and do it.

There was a song that I thought would suit my kind of voice. I go to the shop, buy the cassette and sneak the stereo into my room. Now, I knew that any effort on my part to practice singing would draw sneers from family and friends. So, I decided to wait till its night and everyone is asleep.

Then I connected the wires, turned the volume of the player down to the lowest that human ear can possibly hear and to further muffle the sound, got under the covers. Now only someone who has tried to do this can understand the difficulties involved in such a manoeuvre. The wires kept coming off the plug, I kept pushing the wrong buttons in the dark and with the low volume it was easy to miss the words. Things weren’t being helped by the fact that it was an old stereo player and had to be kept at an optimum angle for best performance.

I must have kept at this pitiful effort for at least an hour or so, until God thought it was enough and decided to intervene. The cassette got horribly tangled in the player and I failed to extricate it, and decide to go ahead and sleep, disappointed. My singing career had ended even before it ever started.

And this was not the end. I never tried to sing again but tried my hands at many other things that are done on stage- debates, audition for plays (never made it to the cast), speeches, presentations etc… until , one day, I finally realized that some people are absolutely not built to do some things.


theWatchList said...

A good friend of mine is member of an organization that's purpose is to help people become better and more confident at public speaking. I don't recall the name of it...

Maybe they have something like that in your locale, or even better, maybe you could get some people rounded up and start one?

Based on your description, I wouldn't suggest making them listen to your singing though.

MXI said...

Neo, I have spent nearly 20 years as a radio announcer. An odd profession for me since I was a shy quiet kid, but the secret is to play a part,I'm not the person people hear on the radio or at public events.

The Lonely Path said...

What kind of entertainer you wanna be plays a part too doesn't it? I mean its not like {insert boy band name here} can really sing, or {insert magician with too much hair gel} really can do magic.

Have faith, practice, and remember the universe works only cause anything is possible ;)

Sandy Carlson said...

My husband participated in ToastMasters International, and it really was a great experience for him. One of the big lessons the organization teaches is that people don't want you to fail. In my own life, I have found that to be true mostly of strangers! It's a good point, though--people show up because they want to hear you. That's helped me with those dreaded public moments. (Maybe that's why blogging is so much fun!)

Blue Panther said...

Thewatchlist: LOL, no one but me listens to my singing anymore. And I think starting something like that sounds like a great idea. I think a lot of people have a problem with public speaking etc., but I might be wrong.

Mxi: That does not sound easy to do but your job sounds like great fun.

Lonelypath: LOL, I agree whole heartedly.

Sandy: Sometimes, I feel some people would love to see you fail but I agree when you say that most people, especially strangers, would not want you to fail.

new illuminati said...

eye learned latin by playing my own voice to myself reciting declensions and conjugations while asleep - it worked.

Invisible Blogger said...

I have social anxiety disorder. Try that stage fright feeling all the time.. everytime you walk into a convenience store or grocery store. Everytime you're in a library.. EVERY TIME. It bites. I sing very well but put me on a stage and I swear that the audience can see my hands and knees quivering.

Funny thing is... I can get up on stage and talk about anything I'm passionate about.. parenting, natural living, etc.

squirrel said...

I had my moment on stage in 6 grade at summer camp. i had the lead I was Prudence, Dudley Dorights girl friend. When it came time for us to kiss I froze up and refused to do it. There were just some things a 12 year old girl would not do for her audience.

Blue Panther said...

New Illuminati: I should try that.:)

Invisible Blogger: That is indeed a little opposite to what usually happens to people, but I think getting up on stage and speaking about things that you are passionate about is a great ability.

Squirrel: Good decision!

Ragnar said...

I can do that, the awe mainly because they do not expect to hear wise words (and unknown ones) from a 17 year old. Even though I feel uncomfortable being watched and such I can still pull it off.

Valkrie ANGEL said...

I kinda fumble and mumble on my words. Tried alot of other methods, although, i'm doing this quite often in front of my church congregation, i'm still having butterflies in my stomach.

Thanks for the all familiar post..

Blue Panther said...

Ragnar: :-)

Valkrie Angel: Thank you for taking the time to comment. I think like mostother things, it gets better as yo do it more . As they say, practice makes perfect.

Sue said...

Hehehe that is something I've never realised. I have a terrible singing voice for instance, but will break out into show tunes whenever I please ... :)

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