When I was a teenager, music was my life – I studied it, and played in bands and orchestras every weekend.
And at age 18, I abandoned it all.
Fast-forward 25 years later, I found myself at music camp filled with fear and excitement.
I soon found that everyone was very friendly and I was loving exploring music in a new way. Every morning I woke up happy and excited.
Then half way through the week I woke with a sense of unease and sadness thinking of the evening ahead. I had had a restless night, dreaming of snakes slithering through my home shedding their skins.
That evening was Café Night – an open mic night when students had the chance to get on stage and perform. I knew I had nothing to offer. And yet deep down I wanted to perform something. It felt really important. I saw the significance of the dream – an opportunity for transformation - yet felt powerless to act on it.
I told myself that next year I would have something I could perform.
I was standing waiting for class, when another student asked me “What are you going to be doing this evening?” I felt the beginning of tears somewhere deep, and told him I had nothing to offer. “Sing something,” he replied. “There must be a song you like.” He turned and wrote my name on the performers’ board, and pointed to one of the teachers - “He’ll help you get ready.” I felt ridiculous and embarrassed, but knowing I could change my mind at any time, I asked the teacher who agreed to help.
We met later in the afternoon. I was very nervous about singing in front of him – when I was 8 the music teacher refused to let me in the choir and I had never shaken off a fear of ridicule around being heard singing. I sang really quietly hoping his guitar would hide my voice. He gently told me that the object was for everyone to be able to hear me!
How was I going to sing in front of a hall full of people, many of them professional singers?
I called a friend for advice. “Don’t worry about what it sounds like. Just be 100% in it, really feel it, put passion into it, connect to it”. His message hit home. I understood why I wanted to do this so much – to touch the audience and inspire them.
I knew I needed to find a hidden part of myself - my Inner Diva. The part of me that has no fear of being seen or heard – the part that can fill a room, command attention and inspire. So I decided to dress up to find her.
Wearing a long red dress, a red wig, and red high heels, I stood on the stage and took a deep breath. Standing there under the lights holding a microphone for the first time, a calm took over me. The nerves were there, but something else was there too. A knowing that I could fill that room. I took another breath and poured passion into the first line of Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah."
Was it perfect? No. But I really rocked it! I was fully in my body, filling the room, and touching the audience, inspiring them to sing along in the chorus.
I found my Inner Diva.
I did something I thought would never be possible and fulfilled a dream. I believed in myself and went for it, knowing it wouldn’t be perfect but that I had the ability to connect and inspire.