“Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for people who are smart and ambitions and interested in the world and its good opinion… What is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” -Anna Quindlen
Last night I barred it all and debuted my newfound belt voice. After only 5 days of technical work and daily struggle in this new style, I performed the monolith “Don’t Rain on My Parade” at the Napa Music Festival cabaret event… in front of a roomful of “legit” opera singers. 5 days ago I could only “belt” up to a middle C. I didn’t understand the mechanism or the strength necessary to be successful in this genre. But, day after day, I found more power, more courage, and more range. So many times I wanted to ask to move the piece to a later date; but, I always stopped myself. I knew that, no matter what, the piece was going to be far from perfect during this 3-week festival. What I needed was to bare it all and get a performance under my belt to truly believe that I can do this. Sometimes the biggest successes come not in having a perfect performance, but from letting yourself make an imperfect breakthrough.
Though last night’s performance had a few fuzzy notes, I belted… For the first time ever. After only working on the piece for a few days, I was brave enough to show people my progress and my flaws rather than running scared from this uncharted territory. The next time I attempt a piece of this genre, I will begin it with the knowledge that I CAN do this. And that belief might make all the difference.
Through all of my perfectionism and self-criticism of last night’s performance, there is a little part of me which is proud. Every time I force myself to get up and do something new and scary, be it belting out a showstopper or flipping into a scorpion handstand, I grow as a human being. There is nothing as frightening or fulfilling as pushing yourself past your comfort zone. Try it. Share your imperfections with the world and you will inspire others to do the same.