Fear is a human limitation we force upon ourselves, not an act of natural instinct. Often times, fear is our only obstacle standing in the way, the sad part being that we are the ones who put it there. I am nowhere near fearless; in fact, I’m afraid of a lot of things. However, there had always been one fear holding me back from countless opportunities: my fear of singing in public.
This fear did not make sense compared to the rest of my personality. Acting is one of my favorite activities, and in that aspect of performance, I don’t have stage fright. I’m very loud, too, and not afraid to say what I think. I’ve been singing my entire life in school and church, but after all of those years and missed chances, there was never a solo. I had done singing auditions before, but I often let my nerves get the best of me, limiting myself in the process.
Once my friends and I started our small business, Enchanted Rose Entertainment, I knew I’d have to sing publicly. I wasn’t sure how I’d measure up to my experienced colleagues, but I was willing to try. After our first party, Chick-fil-a heard about us and booked us for their Princess Night. I was going to have to sing as Belle, in front of a crowded restaurant. Before I could even worry about how scared I would be, I had to pick a song. Immediately, I knew what I had to sing.
Ever since I had heard “Home” from the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast, I hoped that one day, I could sing it. This goal seemed at first like a lost dream. How could I sing a song like that? I’d never have the guts or the range. Years later now, I was more experienced, and although I hadn’t tried it before, I had a few weeks to achieve this dream.
Every rehearsal with my mom was getting better and better. My Enchanted Rose partners, Holly and Olivia, were over for a meeting, so I figured I’d give my song a try. It didn’t go so well. I messed up a few times, and my voice wasn’t strong. I didn’t have any confidence. If I couldn’t sing in front of my best friends, how could I sing in front of a herd of strangers?
A few nights before the event, I was home alone and I knew I needed to practice the song, even though I was terrified to face it again. I got my instrumental recording ready, and paused for a minute. This time it had to be different. I could no longer bear to live in this constant state of fear. It was time to sing this song from my heart. I pressed play, and felt the rhythm of the piano notes. As I opened my mouth to sing, I heard my inner’s Belle’s voice, echoing her deepest emotions into my breath. By the end of the song, I had completely transformed into her.
“Build higher walls around me, change every lock and key. Nothings lasts, nothing holds, all of me.”
This fear could no longer limit the power and passion I held within myself. I absolutely loved Belle- she was able to see beauty where others could not, she always stayed true to herself, and she experienced pure love. I could relate to her, as well. Books are always my escape, and sometimes I feel as though the people around me don’t understand me. Her songs have brought me to tears on countless occasions, almost as if Belle is inside of me, weeping for her old home or realizing that she had learned so much during the hardest period of her life.
I finished the song with a sweet silence, followed by a dramatic applause from the rainstorm outside. I could hear the tiny droplets cheering me on, urging me to do this. All it took was the courage to sing from my heart. It had been there all along.
At first, I wanted to end this story with that tender moment, but I realized that had I done so, I wouldn’t have actually completed the tale. I hadn’t officially faced my fear yet. The performance day came, and I was feeling good. There were little nerves, only excitement. We rehearsed and got ready, and before I knew it, we were there in full character. Many of my family and friends stopped by; support was all around me. (For anyone that came, thank you. Without all of you, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of this. I’m truly grateful for you all.) The children couldn’t have been sweeter, and I felt honored to bring a little extra magic into their imaginative minds. This was exactly what I lived for.
It was nearing my time to sing, and I heard a little girl say to her father, “I want Belle to sing!” If I hadn’t been in character, that request would’ve brought me to tears. I went over to the girl and said, “Hey, princess! I heard you want me to sing! I’d like to sing my song to you!” The music started and I got down to her height to sing her the story of how I gave up my freedom for my father’s. At first, it felt like it was only us, but as my song went on, the room increased. I was sharing my experience with the whole restaurant- no fear or nerves, just bare honesty. I was free,and just like Belle, I was starting a new chapter in my life, a chapter I knew would be worth the read.
Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust,