The Singer

I want to sing at the top of my lungs

But there’s no one around to hear

Release these sweet melodies from my chest

Hold nothing back, no fear

When I sing out loud

I feel the air move around me

The silence cut like a knife

Climb another mountain

Leave the old world blindly

Like a drug

These notes

Flowing through my head

Like an icy water stream







Singing in the Shower

I’ve never told anyone this before, but I love singing in the shower with the water running and the waves reverberating off the walls. It puts me in a state of comfort and reassurance of who I am. Any song that is stuck in my head and playing on a never ending loop is usually something I choose to sing in the privacy and solitude, without any feelings of embarrassment or worries that I’ll be laughed at or looked at funny. I don’t sing very loud but just to myself. It’s not exactly the best way of evaluating if I have the voice to sell a million records or any at all but at least I can believe I have a hidden talent that is begging to be unleashed.

This morning I was singing lyrics to “Runaways” by The Killers, a favorite band of mine that could be called a guilty pleasure since they aren’t talked about much in the media and bringing up their name would be a little awkward. They are a really popular band but the average music fan wouldn’t even know who the lead singer was (Brandon Flowers – rock star with a squeaky clean image). My parents surely wouldn’t know who they are.

The day before I was singing lyrics to R.E.M’s “Losing My Religion” and surprisingly, I got into the right tune of what the song should sound like: a power ballad about a man obsessed with a love interest, who has fallen into a depression and is about to burst with anger (losing his religion) at her unreturned love.

I am not alone as a bathroom singer; there are many in the world whose voices sound much better with hot water running and tiles all around. It’s gives many of them false hope that they have what it takes to break into the music industry. Of course, most singers sound better in a studio than in live concert, because of the padded walls and high quality recording equipment. A bathroom is a very good substitute for when you can’t afford to use an expensive soundbooth.

Outside of the shower, church is probably the place where the true validation of my hidden singing talent comes alive. It’s the place where I can really come to think I have a voice of gold. I hear myself trying to reach a register that I have never attempted before, trying to achieve a validation that I do indeed have this sort of talent that would give me an edge in life. Again, my voice is being drowned out by everyone else’s and the pleasant sounding voices from the sweet old ladies in the cacophony tend to induce wonderful feelings within me and forget that I can’t even hear my own self. It’s such a fun and uplifting experience singing church hymns together, hearing everyone’s voice rise and fall in sync, seeming to be one healthy organism. No one can tell who’s better or worse, which is hardly important when everyone is happy together.

I’ve heard a couple of times that I might have a decent singing voice. My mom said so when she heard me singing karaoke to some popular tunes a couple of times. But of course, that’s underneath a catchy and helpful instrumental that drives my voice along and drowns out the impurities. And there’s the bias of a family member who would say anything I did is good. Singing solo though is a different story. Without any backing instrumental, it becomes clear that I just can’t register the pitch that is favorable to listening ears. I’ve tried numerous times to put inflection into my voice to make it sound less monotone and boring but playback recordings of my voice always seemed unpleasant and kind of hilarious.

The gift of the songbird doesn’t run in my family, I’m sad to say. None of us have the all-star voice that would give us the starring singing role in a stage play or film. Most of us are either too shy to showcase our singing abilities or just realize our voices come out flat and uninteresting. My sister Liz can sing fairly well but isn’t exactly a star in that matter, has a habit of “trying too hard”. I’ve only heard my mom sing quietly in the car to songs and I wouldn’t say she has any singing talent. I’ve heard my dad try to sing some songs at a family reunion a couple years ago and I was a little embarrassed to be near him because he sounded quite pathetic and way out of tune, as if he was speaking the words instead of crooning them. But he was so full of himself that he didn’t seem to notice the discontent among the people in the room or their blank looks. “Must Be Santa” will never sound the same to me again. My littlest sister won’t even attempt to sing.

To save myself the embarrasment, for now I’ll stick to singing in the shower. At least I can hang on to my false singing hope for just a little longer that way. It makes the whole shower experience a lot memorable as well.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompts: “No Apologies.” and “Practice Makes Perfect?.”

What’s the one guilty pleasure you have that’s so good, you no longer feel guilty about it?

The Talent Show Horror

Think about what you wanted to accomplish last week. Did you? What are the things that hold you back from doing everything you’d like to do?

There was always a talent show held at school. Every year of elementary, middle, and high school. The first one started in kindergarten or first grade I believe. Many kids would be in it and show off what they are supposedly good at (much of the singing and dancing lame but still applauded by the audience of eager parents and friends), while many others were either too afraid or didn’t think they had any talent worth showing. I was always one of the kids who would have been too afraid to go on stage and have hundreds of pairs of eyes staring at me while I tried to do whatever I chose as my ideal talent (singing always was the last thing on my mind). What talent did I really believe I possessed at seven years old? Nothing ever seemed to be apparent. I guess I could have performed as a mime because I was already so good at being quiet.

I never was in this kind of variety show that sort of acts like a test to see if you have any future in the entertainment business. And if you weren’t in it or at least tried, it seemed as if you were toast for any future consideration in plays or musicals because “no one knows what you’re good at” and will never be pushed to participate. Never the one to ever want to be the center of attention, it was usually me watching from a shadowy seat in the 40th or so row while someone would be belting out to a popular song of the day (in the late 90s it was “All Star”), doing absurd backflips, juggling, or some other talent that could only be God given in my opinion. I didn’t envy any talents I saw particularly good but just wished I could get over my fear of stage and actually show what I had within myself, whatever it was. But I was too shy and reserved. That was the hill I had to get over.

Then high school came and thoughts of having any talents worth showing to the public were about evaporated. I never believed I could actually sing (karaoke doesn’t count, please) and my dancing was okay but nothing special, just moving my legs around in an incoherent manner. Backflips, somersaults – if I ever tried those things I would probably break my neck.

One day in about eleventh grade though, I actually had the bold thought that I was going to be in the variety show and show off a talent that might actually make me the most popular person in the school. I had the craziest idea that I would choose a song, an appropriate, well liked one for the matter, and sing it with my greatest efforts, trying to finally prove I had a gift worth talking about. I even started preparing by singing in front of the mirror and while on long walks by myself, trying to project my perfect song voice.

But around the week before the “auditions” were to begin (could anybody just get in?), I panicked and came to my senses that it would be very embarrassing to try to sing or dance in front of everyone for the first time. It would have probably been okay when I was little when no one cared if you made a fool of yourself, but in this present time I felt even more pressure to be cool and not do anything stupid that would give others a bad impression of me.

guitarsSo, with the butterflies in my stomach, I’ll stick to singing in the shower where no one can hear me, and dancing with large crowds in the dark where everyone seems the same. I do have talents, yes, but they are not always apparent or visible to people. I believe I am a much better writer than I was years ago and am getting more seasoned with poetry. My photography skills have also gotten much sharper. But those aren’t things I could actually showcase on any talent show at school or on TV. I tried learning to play the guitar and piano but need so much more practice. Two guitars sit at home that have been played a lot, but I’m still no rock god.

 I guess what I’m trying to say here is we all have a special gift within us that doesn’t always have to be applauded for. Whatever it is you’ve got, make sure you embrace it and love it and don’t let others discourage your path to happiness and success with it. With a lot of hard work and practice, anything is possible.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Obstacle Course.”

V is for Voice

A voice we all have, a choice we all have
A chance to be heard, demand for respect
It’s all in our roots, how we learned to survive
Calling out to one another, in case danger arrived
And songs ring through us
Belting at the top of our lungs
Or softly to ourselves
Or just to loved ones
And for the ones that first hear their voice
It must be an exhilarating feeling
The vibration of those words
Like deep spiritual healing
Giving them the chance
The power to live free
Finally, another dimension
to connect with you and me

April A to Z Challenge

Share Your World 2015 – Week 3

We are nearly done with January, thank goodness, which has been a pretty lukewarm month to say the least. The snow is already starting to melt outside in what has been a pretty tame winter so far. An interesting project I started this year was one where I start from an initial position and walk forward a few steps everyday taking a picture. I’m calling it “Straight Ahead 2015”. So far, I am in the beginning of a thin forest of bare trees, having to walk through low hanging branches and avoid snagging my clothes on thorns and pricklers. Where this leads me, and how long I do it, is unknown.

The State of the Union address was on tonight and I watched most of it on YouTube, which featured helpful info-graphics on the side and a Q&A session at the end taking questions from Twitter users, none of which I heard since Jack was watching Breaking Bad on Netflix from the TV.

The four questions this week (I missed last week’s, unfortunately):

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Tough question and one I never really thought about before. Of course, President Obama comes to mind because, well, he’s the president, and I would have many questions to ask him. He’s quite a nice guy and would be a great source of entertainment with his humor and down to earth style. I think I would ask him what his favorite YouTube star is and what kind of videos he watches from time to time.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I like to sing along to songs on the radio while I’m riding in the passenger seat. The last time was actually about two days ago – I sang along, inconspicuously, to Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, which explains the above picture, a painting bearing the name. I’ve never actually sung, one on one, to anyone personally though I have sung karaoke to multiple people which I and them found hilarious. I am in no way a perfect singer and may sound good to myself but whenever I play back a recording of me singing, I realize how far I’m off!

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

The thought that immediately came to my head was of the show The 4400, which I have been watching on Netflix and am nearly finished with. 4,440 people, from various times, were abducted by people from the future, say 2100 or something, and were brought back to 2004 (the year the show premiered). Some of them had abilities, while others were normal. As I’ve always wanted to travel the world, go anywhere I want, my choice would be the ability to fly. The first place I would visit with my bird like ability would be China. I would like to fly over the numerous crowded streets at day and night.

What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

No one should ever joke about bombs and other projectiles exploding, given the fact that numerous people have been killed.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

My dad got out of the hospital from surgery last week and is now on his feet using a walker. He still needs help getting to and from places such as his apartment and can’t drive a car right now. As for what I’m looking forward to next week, well, that would dad getting back in the swing of things, driving and going to plasma with us so he can earn money.