When I was a little girl of about 5 years old, my Aunt Dorothy would stand me up on tables to sing the latest pop songs to her friends at parties. Since I knew every word, I was their entertainment. I remember their delight as they told me I would be a singer.
Later on many of these same people thought I would sing in the church choir but my deep voice was never welcomed during recitals as a child or the choir as an adult. One time when a group was supposed to sing a modern pop song during church, the rest barely sung and I carried the tune. Afterwards someone commented that it was unfortunate that I was the only one who really wanted to sing since everyone else’s higher voices would have been better.
Throughout the years I always backed down when it came to singing. I’d say ”I have a deep voice.” or “I can’t sing.” My innocent happiness when singing had been whittled away by others.
Out of the clear blue someone recently told me that more than a couple of women with my voice would ruin a choir. Since I wasn’t even saying I wanted to be in the choir, I didn’t know why this had to be emphasized to me.
Despite all the negativity about my deep voice throughout the years, I sing every day. A teacher’s aide recently noted that I must talk with a bluetooth because she sees me moving my lips in the car and she didn’t think I was singing. I let her believe it was a bluetooth. Since I had my first child 13 years ago, I’ve sung every night at bedtime. There’s always a song in the car, in the shower, in my heart.
But can I sing? Recently I found my maracas in the back of the closet and decided to turn on the video camera and record myself. My head was cut off so I raised the lens and did it again. Here’s my quick rendition of Linkin Park’s “The Little Things Give You Away”:
When my youngest son came home, I made him watch it in order to tell me if I should be embarrassed and take it down from YouTube. He thought it was not embarrassing and also thought I was really sad during the sad parts. My older son also said it was great and he didn’t know I could sing so well. As a third check, my husband blurted out “And you told me you couldn’t sing when we first dated.” He thought it was good even though he didn’t understand what it was doing on YouTube.
As their three opinions are the only ones that truly matter to me, I finally think I might not sound too bad. Today I heard my oldest son telling a complete stranger in a waiting room that I was a singer. Of all the things I do, this is how he decided to describe me but he undoubtedly has heard me more than anyone in the world.
Of course we can all sing. But whether we think it is good or not is truly in the ear of the beholder. Making this video has restored some of my childhood love of singing which had been beaten down over the years and sent into hiding.
Remember what made you happy as a child. If something brings you joy, it is joy. Don’t listen to the chorus.