Dear Diary,

I used to have a really bad case of stage fright.

My first piano recital, my knees and fingers shook uncontrollably.  When I played the violin on stage, my trembling hands would make unwanted vibrato.  I remember one time when someone convinced me to play the violin in a small group back in college, I had asked for the lights to be turned off, because it was the only way I could play without the shakes…  I recall that my hands still shook even with the lights off.

I loved performing in groups because it meant I could hide in the background but still be able to perform.  I found out that I had a talent for singing harmonies.  So I joined a choir in my grade school days.  I stopped joining choirs when I reached puberty.  Quite an awkward stage for me so I just ended up being this shy and reserved teenager around public but being really funny and crazy with my circle of friends.

College life gave me a chance to revisit my stage fright.  One of my first and favorite performance memories was when I got called on stage to sing with a live band.  I sang a Green Day song in my shaky voice with the band and my friend.  I replayed this scenario over and over in my head and I kept thinking, man, that was awesome, but I could have done better.

How did I overcome stage fright?  I don’t think I ever did.  I just got better at faking confidence.  When people find out that I like to sing, they always make me sing in public when a live band asks for volunteers.  I love doing them and I cover my stage fright by making it funny.  But it’s a real thing.  People probably won’t believe it, but performing in public scares the living shit out of me.

Funny enough, I never get stage fright when I train or present anything at work.  Because I knew what I was talking about.  So it appears that my insecurity in my ability to perform good is what gives me stage fright.  It doesn’t help when you come from an extended family with great musical talents.  My older brother inherited the natural vibrato in singing, which is unfair because all he uses it for is to sing in the shower.  My sister inherited the natural confidence because she’s the youngest and she basically grew up with a silver spoon.  So what did I inherit?  I inherited the passion for performing.  Which I never got to pursue because of my damn stage fright.  Had I been more confident, I would have definitely been on stage at my younger days.  Had I been more talented, I would have definitely made sure I used those talents to put me out there in the world.  But those are all what ifs.  I most likely would still end up in my living room singing in my own karaoke home system even if I had the talent and confidence.

Over the years, I have improved.  I’m not completely over stage fright because I know that I’m not the best at performing but I realized that I’m not average either.  I hope that someday I would actually get the chance to live out my dream.  Just be on stage with the spot light on me.  What I’ll be doing on stage? No idea yet.  I still need to discover what I’ll be comfortable performing.

Today, I’ll be attending a workshop for Improv as one of the steps in improving myself with performing in public.  I hope it turns out well. I’ll blog about it afterwards.

Love,

AVA