I was jumping up and down on my yellow bed with my pink plastic microphone in my hand, envisioning crowds screaming for me, singing along. I was in my own little concert entertaining millions.
My dream at 11 years old was to be a singer, and even now that still holds true, albeit in a different way.
Give me a microphone and I will be happy. I grew up watching American Idol, The X Factor and, of course, Hannah Montana, the show about a normal girl who had a double life as a superstar. And I wished that could be me.
Social media was a great platform for me where I could find and follow my favorite singers and actresses, hearing them sing and watching what their lives were like behind the scenes. They would post videos of themselves singing, and I would do the same. I used Snapchat and Instagram and occasionally twitter to post videos of me singing whatever song happened to be stuck in my head. Those were usually Ariana Grande songs.
Music is my calm space. It has always been my escape. Singing is where I can say what I really want to say. Outside of music, I have a hard time expressing myself because I am not very vocal.
But I just want people to hear my voice. I like to experiment and see what my voice can do. When I was younger, I was interested in songwriting and creative writing. Later on, those songs turned into poems and the creative writing turned into longform fiction. As I have grown older, it is interesting to see what went through my mind, how some things have changed and how others have not.
I will say that I am a decent singer. My voice pales in comparison to people like Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato. But from the responses I get from my friends and family about my vocals made me feel good. My voice is evolving.
Last summer, I joined a club on campus called AIA, a social and religious group for athletes who want to grow in their faith. I was talking with one of my friends and she suggested that I sing and worship with the club.
My immediate reaction was that of shock and then surprise. I was amazed that someone really wanted me to get up and sing in front of people, and flattered that she thought I was even that good. There were a few questions that rolled around on my tongue (but of course, I didn’t say them out loud). Was I even a good enough singer? I don’t play an instrument — would singing be enough?
Fast forward to a few months later, and around me I can hear the tuning of guitars and the plugging in of microphones. People are mingling at the AIA meeting, saying their “Hello’s” and “How are you’s.” And there I am preparing to sing in front of all of them.
Sound check, one, two. We run through the songs a few times outside (so that no one can hear) and make sure the harmonies sound good. It’s exciting for me to be able to sing in front of people, to let them see and hear what I can do and to be a part of something more.
At first, the nerves didn’t hit me. But soon, they came flooding as people slowly start trickling into the room. My friend noticed my hesitation. She saw me, a deer in headlights with the help-me-I’m-drowning look, so she pulled me aside to have a little pep talk. After a few moments, I was in a little better place, feeling a little more confident and ready to go.
There was an ice breaker game before the meeting started and that helped me to loosen up, release a bit of tension. Then the welcome statements were made, and then it was showtime.
This was a challenge for me, but it was one that I was willing to take. I wanted to develop my voice and build up my confidence. I wanted to be able to stand in front of someone and bare my heart and soul. I think this experience helped me do that.
Still, I am not good enough or bold enough to stand on stage and sing in front of millions like I used to dream about when I was 11. I still battle stage fright and nerves and uncertainty. There have been many open mics and talent shows that I could have auditioned for since that night, but I am not ready for that yet. But I can say that at least I am one step closer.
I still dream of touching millions of people with my voice, with my words. Now I aspire to be a writer. Some dreams never die.
Morgan writes the Wednesday column on risk-taking. Contact her at [email protected].