In high school I was the drama girl. I wasn’t planning on that life, but after signing up for Drama 1 freshman year, I was kind of hooked. It was within that crowd that I met some of my best friends (fun fact: 2 of which were my test readers for TNWSY!), and became, well, me. I loved the people, and I loved the ability to turn into someone else completely just by reading a few lines.
I wasn’t a terrific actress but I was okay enough to score a monologue for district/state competition, and get a few decent roles throughout my four years. (favorite: Simba in The Lion King. Because…sure, I can be a lion cub.) But my singing? My singing was atrocious. And I’m not saying that in a “please don’t make me sing” Kristin Wiig character sort of way, but more so in a I was called back for the role of Baby Louise in Gypsy solely because of my terrible singing voice kind of way. Seriously.
Anyway, drama helped me open up a bit more and towards my senior year I became more comfortable within myself. One day in the drama room, with a few people still milling around despite the fact that the school day ended an hour prior (we had a tendency to just stick around), a friend (note: my first gay best friend, of which I’ve had many) started singing “I’ll Cover You” from RENT. He took the Angel part, swung me around, and demanded I be his Collins.
But, yeah, remember my voice? Right.
But in that moment, with him twirling me around, I just couldn’t help it. So I took a leap, and bubbled out the lyrics. (Because, let’s be honest, I love that song.) People were around, but they didn’t notice. He was there, and didn’t care about my voice. And for a second, I just lost myself in lyrics and melody and laughter. Because we were having so much fun, and ability didn’t even factor into it. Why hadn’t I thought of that sooner?
I can’t say I became a dedicated singer after that. In fact, I don’t think I’ve really sung in public since (with the exception of karaoke nights and shouting out lyrics with my friends in cars – who doesn’t do that?), but that one moment was exciting and – as it turned out – memorable.
I think my writing is a bit like that. I kept it private, untouched for so long. But once I finally braved an audience and put it out there, I felt great. Sometimes you just need a little push to do something that’s frightening. Or, I guess, a twirl.