Amy Schumer poses in a bikini. People call her BRAVE.
Alicia Keys wears no make-up, is photographed. People call her BRAVE.
Chrissy Teigen talks about getting pregnant. People call her BRAVE.
A few weeks ago I hopped a plane to Los Angeles and I auditioned for The Voice. People called me BRAVE.
While I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t think that any of the aforementioned acts can be considered brave. Even mine. To be brave means to face pain or danger. PAIN or DANGER! Being seen in public doesn’t qualify. Make-up or not. Posting a picture of your already beautiful self, #nofilter #filterfree, definitely is not #brave. Doing something that may be outside of your comfort zone is not brave. Doing something you are good at shouldn’t be thought of as brave either. It should be an obligation.
I had been putting off this audition for a few years now. I won’t list all of the excuses I had, but I promise there were plenty. I was just scared I guess. But not this time. I had nothing but time, and thanks to my friends I had enough money to make it to the audition. People actually wanted me to succeed! The rest would be easy: Just sing! Singing comes as easy to me as breathing. I love singing! And I’m good at it. Putting yourself out there and doing something you love shouldn’t take courage. It should be the easiest thing in the world.
But it isn’t. Why? Because being judged sucks. And so does rejection. But only if you let it. I should know. I’ve had a life full of rejection. A world of no. I’ve been told I’m too short. Too fat. Too old. Too opinionated. Too loud. Too MUCH. Not enough. Not willing. Not able to fit in. Unwilling to fit in. Unyielding.
But I stopped giving a shit about what other people think a long time ago. All of those things I’ve been told by BOSSES, teachers, FRIENDS, loved ones and strangers DON’T MATTER. Not even a little. When you let go of worrying about what others think of you, life opens up. There is absolutely no danger. No harm will come to you unless you count a bruised ego. And you shouldn’t. Your ego wants you to fail so you have a story to tell. Win or lose. Those are the two choices the ego wants. It will have a good story to latch onto either way. Hero or Victim. It doesn’t matter to the ego. But just doing your best and moving on? The ego hates that. It doesn’t allow for you to tell your tale. You just are.
My experience at The Voice was a lot of fun. A lot of standing around and waiting, very little singing, but a lot of fun. While waiting in line I made friends with a few women, and each at different points in our endless wait asked me how I could remain so “calm”. I hadn’t given it much thought, but I was calm. I wasn’t nervous. At all. I didn’t feel like I needed courage to be there. I had enthusiasm. No matter what the outcome, I would be fine. All I needed to do was be successful in each moment. Do my best.
Well, here’s where best laid plans and intentions and all of that shit come in to play. I didn’t do my best. I kept calm, cool and collected all day only to have it unravel in a matter of minutes. Here’s the long and the short of it. The nutshell version.
After four hours of being wrangled, it was finally my turn to go up the escalators. The final step. Next up: Actually audition!
Well, of course I had to pee. I always have to pee.
Once I got upstairs I asked the guy, and he said to go for it. I got out of the bathroom and my group was gone. Disappeared. I looked at the guy, who was now a different guy. He put me in a new group and walked me down a long corridor. I could see small groups quietly sitting and waiting outside different conference rooms. “This is it,” I thought.
We were seated and told to be quiet. No singing. I went to turn off my ipod (what I use as a phone)and realized it was sitting atop the TP dispenser in that last bathroom. FUCK. I already knew there was literally no going back since they cleverly don’t take people who have already auditioned past people waiting. I sprang up and told the guy my situation. He said I had time. So I took my little legs, and ran in my high heeled booties down the hall, looking in each bathroom. Not there. But the toilet I used was back down that FIRST hallway….
I didn’t have time to keep looking or I’d lose my spot. I ran back to my group and found the guy clipping off our wrist-things. SHIT. I was literally sweating. My heart racing when I sat down. “No luck?” asks the dude next to me. “Nope.” I tell him. And in we go.
Of course I went first. Literally seconds after we are ushered in, my heart still racing, me thinking I’ve lost the only expensive thing I own, I hear my name called. I stumble…mumble, and sing the song I didn’t want to sing. I did a fucking GREAT job though. I killed it. My high notes soared. I belted where I wanted I felt alright. People clapped enthusiastically, not just politely. I sat back down knowing that I could have done better. Much better. But I didn’t beat myself up over it.
So that’s it. It didn’t take bravery for me to audition. I was never threatened or in danger. All it took was a few friends, and an inner determination to not mind whatever happens. And it worked. For the most part.
Oh, and I found my ipod.
Those of you wanting to know what “The Voice” audition experience is like, I’ll break it down for you real quick.
- It takes about four hours, start to finish. Mostly waiting in line. Bring snacks and water.
- You will be in small groups of about ten. You will sing ONE acapella song. Yes, you will sing in front of your group… Duh. I had one producer in the room. Nobody from my group was asked to advance.
- After that, you are finished. Bye!