One of my good friends turned 30 this last week.
Yesterday, she got some friends together and celebrated this momentous occasion. We all dressed up (as per request) and gathered together to eat pizza downtown. She is a singer, filled to the brim with music, and she wanted to do karaoke. That is how we all found ourselves at what turned out to be a gay bar, in semi-formal clothing, belting out ballad after ballad.
I've tried to do karaoke before. When I was turning 18 in Nashville, we searched high and low for a karaoke place that would 1. let me be present and 2. have a song I knew. We were not successful. When I was in Korea, we rented out a little room and did "karaoke" but I don't count that because it had a door that closed. Strangers could not wander in and listen.
Lately, I've been challenged to do things that make me nervous, uncomfortable and basically a fish out of water because of people I love. This was one of those times. My friend and I got up and sang our version of "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun. We laughed and smiled at each other through the whole thing, missing cues and enjoying every minutes. Suddenly, I realized that none of this was about me, and maybe that was the point.
One things about this group of people, everyone wanted to sing. When we did a song that everyone knew, even people who weren't holding mics started adding their voices to the mix. There was a point, as we sang Rufus Wainwright's "Hallelujah" that I felt awe sweep over me, right there in that gay bar.
The evening finished with everyone singing "Some Nights" by fun. By this time, singing a song I knew at the top of my lungs wasn't so scary, but part of that was because I was completely surrounded by friends. I knew that they didn't care if my voice went high, or broke, or could barely be heard. That wasn't the point.
I don't want to stop doing things that stretch me, little by little.