Sunday, 16 October 2011

Do something that terrifies you

I have a comfort zone the size of a pretty substantial town.  I must have, I'm very rarely out of it. Just about the only time I get a sense of fear nowadays is when I'm opening bank statements.

And I think most people could say the same. These days we very rarely have to face down the sabre-toothed tiger or fight off woolly mammoths on the rampage.  We're rather more comfortable. We have central-heating and sofas. Nothing there too scarey, everything just-so.

To get the adrenaline pumping, some people seek out danger. They throw themselves out of perfectly serviceable aircraft.  They might confront sharks in the wild.  Or they could order a doner kebab from that dodgy place on the High Street, prepared by a bloke with a suspiciously shiny complexion.

That's not really my approach. Well, the kebab is an option, but generally I leave the life-threatening activities to others. I have dabbled with physical activity, of course, but met with limited success. So if I need to step out of my comfort zone I'll have to do other things that terrify me.

That's why I was to be found earlier this week singing in an upstairs room with a bunch of strangers. I know. Me, singing.  I don't quite beleive it myself.  While I can hold a tune to a degree, my range is somewhat limited. It's not what you might call a pretty noise. But, my friend Rebecca (she of the breast pump) is a professional vocal coach and when she said she wanted to form a community choir, I was interested. She promised that we wouldn't have to sing anything you would  normally hear in a church.

I used to sing in a choir at school, ohmygod-number-of-years ago. We were blessed with an unconventional music teacher who realised that trying to get 17-year-old boys interested in Bach and Handel was going to be an uphill struggle, so the choir would do Queen numbers instead. We were enthusiastic. We sounded pretty good.

When I asked Rebecca, "I think my voice may be a little low.  Is there a place for me?" she said yes, I could just be the rumbling bottom.

I think that was deliberate on her part. My interest was piqued.

So on Monday I was gathered up with about 20 other people. There were only four males, one of whom hadn't actually intended to sing, only having come to drop his daughter off. My rumbling bottom was clearly going to be needed.

But I was still nervous about the whole endeavour.  What if I opened my mouth and a horrible noise came out? Would people point and stare, bewildered by my bullfrog call?

Actually, no. It was quite fun. Many of us had never sang out loud in public. But, with gentle coaxing from Rebecca, we managed to not completely ruin the song. It sounded quite good, to be honest.

It turned out that quite a few people wanted to fight their own personal sabre-toothed tigers that night.
So, comfort zone well and truly expanded. Onto the next challenge. There's something else I'm thinking of doing in November that quite frankly scares the bejeesus out of me. But that's the topic for a new post. Watch this space.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Today, I once again did something that terrifies me. I spoke to a child. Not MY child. I do that everyday and, frankly, I'm a little tired of that. No, this was connected to my newest place of employment. You see, the employment landscape in the States has gotten to the place that it became necessary for me to begin performing talk therapy for children.
I thought, "They'll give me some teenagers to talk to. They're a pain in the nether regions, but at least you can reason with them." My first 3 clients? Six, six, and eight years old respectively. Two of them are ok, but the six year old I met with yesterday and the whole thing resulted in 20 minutes of eye rolling, whining and, eventually, crying. The child even did some. *cue rimshot*
So I rescheduled for today, met with my supervisor, who made me feel as if I was an idiot for not knowing what I was supposed to be doing in that situation. Not his fault so much, I was keeping some information in reserve. Like, how little I've actually done this. To be fair to me, though, I've done counseling with adults and talking to them and talking to children? Not really the same thing. It's not often that in the middle of a session, I'll have an adult get up, pick up a toy fishing rod and start swinging it wildly about the room. Not that it hasn't happened, it just isn't often.
I spent the rest of the day feeling as if this job isn't for me, and if I can't do this, I have no idea what I'm good at and they might as well take me out behind the barn and shoot me. (They do that with worthless social workers in the States. It's a cultural thing.) But I did the scary thing and went and met with this kid and his mother. It went well. There were no beheaded birds, no crying (by anyone) and I didn't ruin the child for life. My faith has been restored. For now. I have another kid tomorrow


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