This changed my relationship with singing forever

Hi friends,

When I was 4 years old, I sang at church more loudly than most adults.

When I was 6 years old, I strutted around, pretending to be an opera singer with big vibrato.

When I was 11 years old, I joined my first choir, absolutely giddy with excitement at the chance.

Then, I was given a label: soft, girly, gay. Other names too, that I won’t dignify in print.

Only because I joined a choir.

When you’re young, experiences like that cut deep.

I quit that choir, almost immediately.

My love of singing turned into shame, and I hid it away for almost ten years straight.

I want to share what it took for me to overcome my negative beliefs, and go from a place of “singing makes me want to crawl into a hole and hide for 100 years” to a place of thriving and joyful singing.

The answer was coming to a belief far more powerful and truethan my narrative of shame.

I’ll share the belief in a minute.

But first:

Singing feels more vulnerable than being naked in public.

Singing feels like you are opening up the core parts of your identity.

Singing feels like you are taking your armor off. And to let it all out, you have to let others in.

Wait….is all of that true?

All of that is inward focused thinking.

That thinking is all about me. (Singers, amirite??)

What if you flip it? What if it isn’t about you and your identity?

What if the best singing is gift giving?

When I give a gift to a friend, I don’t feel self conscious or feel like my identity is threatened. Because I am thinking about the other.

I just: give.

Gifts are about generosity. They’re freely given.

Which brings us to that new belief:

“The best kind of singing is gift giving.”

This statement changed my relationship with singing. It was and is more true and powerful than any of my negative (and false) beliefs.

I've cultivated that belief over the years, and my inner narrative slowly turned from shame to something quite simple: give your voice as a gift!

Have a wonderful week!


P.S. I credit Marie Roberts (Mercer University) as the first person to teach me to look at singing as gift giving, and it's stuck with me forever.

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“To sing is to thank God you are alive.”

Virginia Zeani

November 7, 2023