Trying

Heart racing, knees shaking, hands sweating…well my hands are always a little moist, or so my sister tells me. I digress, there I am heart all a flutter, waiting anxiously.

“Are you ready? Yeah, okay you’re part of group one”

What? Okay, best to get this over with.

“Alright everyone, we’ll just be singing this verse of the song together, then we’ll go around to everyone of you to hear you sing a verse, then we’ll repeat with us singing the melody line and you the harmony? Ready”

No.

Well ready as I will ever be. I mean I shouldn’t be nervous, I’ve sang in many choirs, this one is no different. No I am not the strongest singer and I typically cave under pressure, that audition for the performing arts school was a good example, but this should be different I am worshiping, so I shouldn’t stress.

See, I’m sounding okay right now when we’re all singing together. I am singer the lower part and probably could sing higher but this is more comfortable. Alright, now onto individual. Wow, she’s good. Okay, she cracked a little but she came back. I ┬ácan do this. Oh she’s a little flat, but she’s doing alright. I can do this.

“Your turn, and by the way extra ten points for the mustache.”

“Thanks” I never really know how to respond to this.

Deep breath. And ….crap, why? I know the melody, I can hear it. Why can’t I make my voice sing it? I sound like a scared mouse. Great. I am messing this up.

“Sorry”

Ok, perhaps I can…where is the harmony? What is going on? This is humiliating. I am a terrible singer. Hurry get out of here while you can.

“Thanks. Wow I am so amazed at all of you, so brave”

Oh God, that’s what you say to people who ┬ácan’t sing and try anyway. This is awful. Why did I do this?

I’m shaking.

I quickly walk out of the venue church was in today into the bright lights of Times Square. Wasn’t it just two nights ago when God had me stand here and promise me I would one day see my face on these billboards? How could I possibly do this? There is no way. I need someone to teach me how to be fearless. I need more lessons in singing craft, but more than anything I need to learn how to believe in myself, or rather believe in the me God created.

I find it so incredibly frustrating. I know I can sing, well at least I think I know, I mean I can carry a tune. In fact I think it sounds fine when I’m in the shower, or in the basement at work, or when I used to have a car. I could match pitch, I could sing harmony, I’ve even had a few people who have heard me sing tell me I can sing. Perhaps that is the problem. I need adulation, I want people to tell me how well I sing for me to feel good enough to sing.

The other night at work, I was just playfully singing, having fun singing a Beatles song I think. One of my coworkers casually asked if I ever thought about singing professionally.

Wow! That was a confidence boost.

Where was that today when I auditioned for the Worship Choir? The place where I should be fearless, singing songs of praise to God?

I’m pretty sure all of this is connected with that deep seeded need for approval I have had all my life. I want to be everything, I want to be talented, but more than anything I want people to believe I am talented. I think I am talented. I know I have certain strengths and gifts, but once I have to put it on display it washes away. It’s more than stage fright, because I’ve learned to channel that and in fact I am more comfortable singing or speaking in front of hundreds of faces than three.

There’s an intimacy, a real knowledge of who I am that cannot be faked. With a crowd you can be an illusionist, making people believe what you want them to see. In a small group, you are more bare and vulnerable. You can see their faces and know if you have been accepted or rejected.

There it is, I botched a choir tryout, and probably a performing arts school audition. How is it that someone so terrified and frightened of not being approved to reach the city, to reach the others trying to perform.

Perhaps it is that I know the struggle so I can speak to people with first hand knowledge. But it has to be more than that. I am here for the city, not just those terrified that they won’t be adored by audiences.

Perhaps it is simply I am weak and the only way I will be able to fulfill my calling is on the strength of God. Him made strong in my weakness. That people would know Him, not me.

When is the next opportunity to try?

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“Goldfish, Chipotle, and Marathon Binging Netflix”

…a contender for the name of a chapter from my memoir which tales the journey from nobody to notoriety. Other contenders for this chapter include “Living the Dream Struggle” “Yes, I’m an Actor who works at Starbucks” or “Every Omelet requires a few cracked eggs, and I should know I eat one nearly every day because that’s the best way I’ve found to prepare eggs”.

As I walked onto the Subway this afternoon from the Bedford Ave L train stop, I realized my hands were shaking. I suppose pancakes and three cups of coffee were not enough to fill my stomach for more than four hours.

Lately I’ve been having this complaining problem. I think how awful it is that I have just enough each week to pay my bills and just enough to eat. I ponder how much greater life would be if I could afford luxuries, that if only I were paid a little more I could really save to begin paying for acting classes. Once I got those acting classes I would be able to get a few jobs that would really help out. I would stay humble in this ideal reality and stay in my apartment (which is honestly totally amazing just a longer commute than I would prefer) and completely pay off my student loans in a year or two while I continued to get good paying jobs. During this time I would be able to quit working at Starbucks and all of my friends and family would be so impressed by how well life was going for me, that I had really made it. That I wasn’t crazy for moving to New York.

But God…

But God always so graciously reminds me that it’s not about me. That I have everything I need. That I never go hungry. I have a roof over my head. That I am alive, in one of the most expensive places to live on Earth and He made it happen.

In this chapter from my fictional memoir I would write about how I ate a bag of Goldfish for lunch, or make some funny anecdotal remark about some limit to having Chipotle in one week, explaining how its the cheapest most delicious meal that fills me up at least twice a week. I would talk about the struggles of not having money and how Netflix provided me with “Friends” to hang out with for my first few months of living in the city. I would be perfectly self-deprecating and everyone would love it recognizing something in my struggle in themselves.

But you know what? I have it so good. God has provided above my every need. Sitting here, typing on my computer, looking at my “problems” in print makes me realize even more how pathetic they are.

Lately, I have been reading Acts for my devotional time and I read about Paul’s journey to Rome. He makes stop after stop goes through trial after trial and throughout this journey he keeps repeating how his life was given to God, it is not his own. I promised my life to God many years ago and it seems I am still giving it over to Him. I am in New York only because He called me and made it happen, who am I to ask for more. He has promised and He will follow through, but in His time, not mine. My life is His to do what he wills, and if that means working as a Barista all my life, living in Brooklyn, I am more than blessed.

And you know what? Today I got to eat goldfish for lunch, Chipotle for lunch and I can binge watch Netflix from the comfort of my apartment.