I had a bit of a social breakthrough of sorts. It all started on Friday evening. It was going to be the usual routine of driving out to the flight school at Southport for dinner and a few drinks in the mess. And it started out as a pretty slow night. There was a small welcome party for a new course and then the usual round of pool and foosball and air hockey and a couple found-no-where-but-the-military games. The standard crowd of usual suspects: one massive sausage party with like, maybe five girls. If you`re lucky. Most of those girlfriends or wives (for serious -- where my girls at? You were told us little girls that you could do anything...except fly? Come on!)
At some point after I'd have a bunch of drinks, someone decided to break out Rock Band. Now, to give a little background here, the last time he & I were at the mess it was a Rock Band themed night. And I was a lot more inebriated at that party but not as brave. I sat on the sidelines wishing that I could take part. Hoping that someone would ask me too. But at that party the game was set up so that the entire thing was more of a performance. At this random night that turned into a party, it was just a video game in the corner, nothing like a center stage type scenario.
And then, the craziest thing happened. One of the buddies actually asked me to sing. I haven't sung on Rock Band since some time in 2009, and it wasn't exactly the best thing back then, trying to figure out three glasses of wine in how the track is different from the way one hears songs on the radio. Or maybe that machine was calibrated wrong. Probably. Add on top of that my life long fear of singing in public and even with all the inhibiting booze my hands were shaking as I took the mic.
A fear of public speaking, a fear of public singing, a fear of being judged, really. And I was judged. Because that's what humans do, right? "Don't be judgemental," you'll hear folks say. But everyone is constantly making judgements all the time, whether it's in social situations about other people or not. Nevertheless this line of reasoning does nothing to assuage my social anxiety.
But the great thing about Friday night was that, the judgements were all positive. I sang an old ditty that was one of my repertoire back in those preteen days of singing along to the radio. The now defunct Bear 106.9:
I put it on easy, since I'm apt to underestimate myself. 100% first try. They told me to sing a few more, so I had to oblige, trying my best Joan Jett out and the Guess Who's American Woman. The only trick to it is that I have to already know the song, I can't just wing it.
Then I took a break. "You sing," I'd say to someone else, anyone else. But one or two songs and a drink and all a sudden some kid who'd never even given me the time of day before was insisting that I take back the mic, that I'm a better singer than them and that I should just take it over.
I have to admit that I was glad to. I can't deny that seeing boys singing along with me to rock and roll standards was additive. It was a high that I haven't experienced in like, three or four years: the high of commanding a room. The thrill of gobs of attention. That night I play out that secret live of being a rock star: and damn was I ever a compliment or a shot away from swinging the mic in circles and shaking my ass like I was on stage.
But I contained myself and the night ended. Too early! Too early! As now all I want to do is play rock band with pals or go out to karaoke. Or write a rock and roll ditty and get up on some stage to growl it out. Hehehehe. Maybe save some bravery for next weekend.