when you realize you are actually pretty bad at something

1I have always loved to sing. Ever since elementary school and before, I was involved in church choirs and was always awarded solos for such. Everyone told me I had an amazing voice. Now, as I look back on those wonderful, lightheaded times, I have to ask myself if I was once a better singer or if they were simply humoring a little girl with big dreams.

I know my mother will criticize me for saying this, but I really do have a terrible voice. I used to dream about performing at the San Antonio Rodeo like Selena Gomez or having my own tv show about my awesome singing abilities like Hannah Montana. But, not five minutes ago, I think that dream cog finally stopped spinning.

I sat at my couch in front of my laptop, playing a song that I love by one of my favorite artists. I have a YouTube channel and a couple of free hours to myself tomorrow, so I thought “what the heck? why not try to do a cover?” I play piano and guitar and a little violin, so I didn’t think it would be too too difficult to learn the chords and record something in the early hours of the cool morning. I thought it would be a good idea to record some of my singing to see how the song sounded with my vocals. The results were less than stellar.

Let me provide just a little more back story, if you don’t mind. I always wanted to be on broadway. I wanted to sing and dance and act in shows in front of millions of people, and be known around the world as the girl with the heart of gold, the voice of an angel, and the talent of no other. I did choir in middle school (was actually one of the last kiddos to be put in varsity choir in seventh grade and show choir as well (as you can tell I am very proud of it)) and I have a had voice lessons on and off throughout middle school and high school. During middle school choir, I realized the my throat started to hurt more and more when I sung. I didn’t think too much of it at the beginning–every vocal coach I have had has told me that I have a very raspy voice, so I thought it was just getting raspier. Eventually I went to an ENT and they said that I had polyps (or the early onset of vocal nodules). I was promptly put on an acid reflux relief diet and was made to be primarily on vocal rest. I did that for a while, did some vocal therapy freshman year and all was well. I realize now that it was all well because I was no longer in choir and was not being made to sing for long periods of time. Last summer though, it all came back. I was blessed with the opportunity to go to a summer camp a (my now future) university for music theatre. Everyone there had absolutely stellar voices, and seeing as I had been wait-listed before being accepted, I felt that I was the worst one at the camp (and for good reason; these kids were freaking Julliard level). We had to sing hours on end and those polyps came back within the three weeks of the camp. It was frustrating to say the least and that was when I decided that music theatre is not for me. I don’t have a naturally good voice–end of story.

I understand that if I just kept up with it and did exercises and things to get better and to be healthier with it all (which I intend on doing), I could probably be really good, but I think it is just hard to cope with. I feel bad for my younger self that had all these dreams. I feel as though I am letting down the little girl still traipsing around inside me by not being as good as everyone thought. I could tell her that I will get better and all well be merry and well, but I don’t know that.

I feel as though my voice is just the next mark on the list of things I have lost.

“We sing because we can’t speak anymore.” —Kristen Chenoweth



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