I used to be quite the social butterfly. My previous lives as a copy intern in the big city and a shopgirl in my hometown lent themselves well to painting the town red at least a few nights a week.
Since moving here, I seem to have metamorphosed in reverse. At the end of a day comprised of attending various community events, introducing myself and making conversation ad nauseum, I'm often content to keep myself company. Of course, once in a while it's a bit lonely, but from what I hear, you can't have everything.
However, someone recently decided to drag me out of my cocoon. Far out. Not only did this person have the audacity to show up at my house and insist that I not change into my p.j.s and crawl into bed with a book at 9:30 on a Saturday evening, she also insisted that I try out her karaoke system despite there being two whole other people (besides my lovely hostess) present.
Unfortunately, two other people were not enough to keep her distracted as I tried my best to melt into a puddle of perspiration and slide under the door in liquid form.
So I picked out a tune I figured I could handle passably and I sang. And sang. And sang. Five songs later and my very accommodating hosts couldn't have pried the mic out of my hands if they had tried.
See, the thing is, I actually love, love, love to sing. I love music and lyrics. I always have. When I was still in my stroller, I could identify a Michael Jackson song playing two stores away in the mall (seriously, ask my mom). I used to sit in front of the armoire in our livingroom and gaze into the mirror while dramatically crooning "Don't Give Up" by Peter gabriel to myself. My fisher Price tape recorder finally died with my mom's Celine Dion cassette inside.
In high school I took lessons for a couple of years but certainly wasn't the most dedicated of students (social butterfly, remember).
My instructor used to have me compete in the Kiwanis music festival. Every year he'd ask, and every year I'd say yes, because even though the day of, I'd be right back in sweat puddle form, he was so kind and encouraging that I hated to disappoint him.
And somehow, each time I managed to force my legs to carry me onstage and my teeth to unclench and let my voice out. And of course, by the time I got through my performance I felt all warmed up and ready to keep on belting out the tunes just in time to take my seat and sit quietly through the rest of the songs.
I finally stopped the lessons and competitions after, at 16, I found myself so nervous that I became dangerously close to losing my lunch in the parking lot just prior to singing. It seemed pointless to have to muster up that much bravery when I wasn't actually doing anything life-saving or world-changing.
Of course, the recent example of Susan Boyle proves that there are certainly people who should be collecting their courage and sharing what they can do with the world.
While I'm light-years away from being comparable to her, both watching that unforgettable clip of Boyle and finding myself super glued to my friend's karaoke mic, made me wonder how many people there are in these little towns, singing into hairbrushes, dancing like no one's watching (because no one is) or painting their own little piece of the Sistine chapel on the back of a cereal box.