I’ve had a rough week. I tripped in the street like a clumsy fool on Monday, bashed my knee and scuppered both my dancing and general mobility for a good few days. Missing salsa was tough. I’ve only ever missed it when on holiday, and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself as I hobbled to my singing lesson last night.
Sorry for myselfness it seems, is exponentially linked to my vulnerability and confidence levels. So it was no shock when, at the first sign of anything a bit tricky, I freaked out, tensed up, felt my bottom lip going. Yes I was actually on the verge of tears, in front of an impossibly gorgeous and cool woman I’d met only once. All because I couldn’t quite decipher the note she was playing on the piano. Fear of failure had at this point, grabbed me by the throat. I was failing! The tears were on stand-by, the toys were teetering on the verge of being thrown out of the metaphorical pram…
I was saved by a combination of my teacher’s reassurance and my fear of crying in front of her being momentarily stronger than my fear of failure. I kept it together. Just. With a bit of help, I replicated the note and the moment passed.
It wasn’t the only challenge she had in store for me. I semi-freaked again when she played me a little sequence of notes she wanted me to sing, and again when she wanted me to start singing a song. Again when her fiancé came home (suddenly I wasn’t just singing in front of her and an empty flat). I squashed a lot of freaking out into that 45 minute class, I can tell you. However, I emerged having sung the first verse of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer. On my own. Without crying. You know what? It sounded quite good, too. Sometimes conquering fears is just mildly embarrassing; sometimes it’s somewhat tougher. It’s probably always worth the struggle, though.