Today I got a little emotional at my voice lesson. I have some chest congestion going on and my voice wasn't up to par, but that wasn't the problem.
The problem was that I felt hopeless. Hopeless that I would ever be able to sing in a voice that didn't make people cringe.
That's my big fear. That my voice is going to make people cringe or roll their eyes or shake their heads and smirk. That I'm that bad. That even after years of voice lessons, I'll still be awful.
So after a half-hour of exercises and working on a song, I asked my voice teacher, "So, do you think I have any hope?" I meant to make it sound like something of a joke, but I guess I was too invested in the answer to be flippant about it. Before he could say anything, the tears came, and I was cursing myself when he finally spoke.
He said I have a beautiful voice, but that I've spent my entire life singing with tight, closed vocal cords. My entire life. That's forty-something years of something I'm having to un-learn. And on the few occasions lately where I've managed to relax and really sing out, he said, my voice is lovely. Only thing is, it's very hard for me to relax my vocal cords! Not only do I carry my stress in my neck/jaw, but I have all kinds of self-consciousness going on every time I open my mouth to sing. So, even if I wasn't stressed before, I get stressed.
Maybe I need wine before each lesson. Or a three-mile run.
Or I just need to learn to relax and let my love for singing erase the self-consciousness. It's something I'm having to learn, like a baby has to learn to walk or talk.
I'm so glad I'm doing this--taking voice lessons. I want this so badly. I've wanted it for a long time. And I think that's part of why I get emotional, too. There's the hopelessness that I'll never get there, but there is also the joy that comes with taking these first few steps, steps I've been afraid to take since I was a teenager.
I think I'll get there. There are probably be a few more teary-eyed sessions in store for me (and my hapless voice teacher), but I think I'll get there.