I believe in trusting myself. It took me a long time to realize it, too. For as long as can remember my one passion in life has been singing, singing and music. It wasn’t until I moved out of my parent’s house at 19 that I was even able to sing a note in front of anyone, not people didn’t know I could sing. My parents overheard me several times growing up and had tried to encourage me every time. This always created the opposite effect, pushing me further inside of myself. I would succumb to my inhibitions and be sure not to sing out loud for weeks. If I ever even thought someone could hear me, I would be overcome with a debilitating anxiety.
I think it was a fear of being that open, that vulnerable. Part of what makes a great vocalist is the ability to convey the deepest emotion with just the tone in your voice. You could say that’s how I started. Before I had developed my voice that much, I had sung to relieve the pain of my childhood sicknesses. I was a sick child indeed. At the age of twelve my childhood eczema became exacerbated to the point where it covered 85% of my body. It itched and bled ceaselessly. I missed weeks of school at a time just because it would get so raw that even dressing and walking around proved to be too painful. I would take baths for hours at a time. Water was the only real relief, but getting out of the bath would just tighten up my skin all over again.
So I would sing, loudly. I would sing louder then that breathing sting. I would imagine it cleansing me, the steam running through me. And it was a damn vulnerable sound, an audible representation of my pain. It wasn’t until I moved out of parent’s house (that happened to be filled with mold, which contributed heavily to the intensity of my condition) that my skin began to clear and I began exploring my musical ability in other areas.
It was a slow process at first, but with the guidance and understanding of my sound engineer roommate, I slowly started to discover that I had a knack for production. He would bring me into the studio he worked at late at night and would show me the gear. I fell in love with it and decided to go to school for it. I was beginning to learn that if I wanted anything good, anything real out of life I would have to trust myself. I always knew I could sing. I just knew that if and when I showed someone, it would be like baring my soul. That’s what was so terrifying then and so special about it to me now, that I can share myself that deeply. Once I learned to trust myself, my world opened up and I became the musician I am today.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.