[photo by Angela Noblett]
There is something about me that most people don’t know. In fact, when I tell them, they think I’m joking. I figured it was time to come clean.
You know what really freaks me out? The stage. Yup that’s right! I get stage fright. Not every time. I’m much better now! But on important gig days? I’m quiet, nervous, anxious, short-tempered, and totally distracted. Wanna hear my story? Read on…
Back in the day
Before I sang in Sweet Leda and Leda’s Charm, I sang in choirs. I wasn’t too nervous cuz I had a crowd of people and voices up there with me! My voice blended with everyone else’s. But then in college, I scored a couple solos. I was so nervous that I would shake, and it would affect my singing. I could barely breathe which is a problem, cuz breathing is quite necessary for singing. And, ya know…living.
So then I started singing in bands. Wow that was different! And super scary. I was extremely shy when I was a kid. Even when I was an old kid. So fronting a band was slightly terrifying. Exciting and wonderful! But terrifying. At first, I would hide behind a music stand. I was scared of forgetting the words, but also the stand provided a visual shield, which was comforting. I would get sooo nervous just to sing in a pub! The first time I sang at the 8×10, I could have thrown up. Instead, I decided to drink a few shots. That certainly helped! But yikes…had a little too much and may have dropped more than several f-bombs on the mic. Whoopsies.
So what do I do about this stage fright?
Alcohol! (It makes you love me.) Using alcohol is delicious and fun but not exactly productive. It leads to poor choices, excessive use of the f-bomb on the microphone, and it’s not so great for the wallet. And it leads to a difficult morning! And it makes me eat double cheeseburgers. And I’ll be honest. ONE shot of tequila is NOT gonna cure my stage fright. I need several. The struggle is real, so they say.
Julie, what are you scared of?!
You’ve been singing for years. Yes, yes, this is true. But why are people afraid of spiders? Are they really afraid of dying from a spider bite? Nope. They’re just afraid! Not all fears are rational. I know it doesn’t make any sense. But I’m working on it! (PS I am also afraid of spiders.)
So what are some things I’ve tried to do to help with my stage fright, besides alcohol? Acupuncture. Yoga. Mantras. Meditation. The day before we opened for Jefferson Starship, I was worried sick. Like, sick to my stomach. I booked an acupuncture appointment and WOW, she really calmed me down. I left there feeling like I was floating. It was awesome! Both she and my yoga coach have talked to me about my fear. They both encourage me to talk myself up to myself. I need to say “Hey Julie. Ya know how you do this every weekend? Ya know how you guys have built a lovely following over these years? Ya know how you love singing so much? Remember that. Let it in. People are hiring your band for a reason. Let this be enjoyable for yourself so just get out there. You’re a badass!”
It’s a practice.
Now that kind of pep talk doesn’t just work instantly. I gotta work at it. I gotta practice it. Like, have a pre-gig ritual. Maybe some quiet meditation time in the van. Maybe some jumping jacks in the parking lot while yelling “I FREAKING ROCK!” Maybe repeat some powerful specific mantras while holding a yoga pose each morning. I can’t just try shaking it off one day and expect to cure myself. I gotta put in the time!
I have let this stuff slide lately. I need to commit to myself again to start working on this. I will not let fear hold me back. I know this fear is NOT rational; I’ve been singing in this band for 10 years now! I know I can do it. How do I know that? This: If my brain is strong and crazy enough to hold myself back and give my stomach a case of the flip-flops, then it is also strong enough to pull me out of this, and to change my mindset. Doesn’t that make sense? If I have the power to freak myself out, then I can cheer myself up, and calm myself down.
I hope this provides some comfort or support for you. Is there something that scares you? Are you feeling stressed and aren’t sure of what to do about it? Know that you are not alone. Even those people who appear to be cool, calm, and collected? They might not be. So don’t let them fool you. If you are struggling with something, consider taking it on. Challenge yourself. Start today.
Some thoughts on how we will accomplish this:
1. What issue are you struggling with? What are you afraid of, or what is stressing you out?
2. Pick a mantra. Think of a goal, and associate your mantra with your goal. Some suggestions: I am a healthy eater. I exercise every day. I am now a meditator. I choose happiness. I am grateful. I used to smoke cigarettes but don’t need them anymore. I practice yoga every day. I have enough, and I am enough.
3. Put it into practice. How will you do this? Sign up for a 30-day challenge. Book yourself an appointment with a specialist like a private yoga instructor, personal trainer, acupuncturist, health coach etc. Get recommendations from trusted friends. Make an informed decision! Figure out your plan and figure out how you are going to stick with it. Maybe set a daily reminder on your phone. Maybe commit to waking up 10 minutes earlier each day.
What will you be working on? Feel free to leave me a comment. I wish you health and happiness!
Looking for my health coach website? Click HERE.