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.
One thought on “I’ll Cover You”
1) That’s one of my favorite songs from Rent! 🙂
2) I understand the scary vulnerability of sharing your writing. The first time I let my best friend read my book, I was so terrified! It was all, “She’ll hate it! But she won’t tell me she hates it because she wants to be nice! Aaaaaugh!” But then it’s so exhilarating to share it and share that world with someone else!