Tag: singing

It calls me….

It calls me….

Have you ever been able to do something but had the inability to show others you could in fact do that something?  So much so that you actually start doubting you can really do it? “No”? “Yes”? “What the hell are you talking about”?

I’ve mentioned before how I have two voices in my head that constantly battle each other. One says, “We got this!” the other says, “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?! STOP IT!” Guess who always wins. But when I’m alone, the loud voice shuts up and I sing freely.

I grew up on Disney songs, my first CD was The Little Mermaid soundtrack, then Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Pocahontas..you get the picture. And I practiced singing them non-stop. No one ever said I was good though. i thought I sounded alright… but no one ever said it. Then bullies, adolescence fast forward and my singing became this thing I only did in my car, an empty house or a hotel room shower.

I’ve taken vocal lessons slightly over a year now. And I’ve tried to learn several different songs with varying degrees of sort of success. I could never walk in there and “strut my stuff”. I started to believe I lacked stuff TO strut.

Do you know HOW MANY TIMES I told myself, “I’m going to ask to sing, “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. Literally I’d think about this all week, be driving to class and freak the fuck out and not say a word about it. The thing is I could sing “A Whole New World” damn good even as a kid when the movie came out. Once my ex best friend accused me of lip-syncing when I completely wasn’t (I was 10…). Out of all the Disney songs I love that one and Mulan’s, “Reflection” (movie version) are probably the ones I do best.

But I never had the balls to step into class and attempt these songs. Because HELLO these are Disney songs. That’s not just singing Taylor Swift that SINGING. If I couldn’t even do a Taylor song what business did I have walking in there attempting a Disney song? BTW, this is my internal monologue you are now viewing. Brutal huh?

I hadn’t seen Moana because when it came out I had JUST started my new job and Adam was in Europe and I was too stressed out to do anything. I am obsessed with the water I knew I would instantly love it, I don’t know why I avoided it so long.

A week before I saw the movie (Which was about 2 weeks ago), so 3 weeks ago, something made me listen to the title track, “How far I’ll go”. I had heard clips of it but never actually listened. I was OBSESSED instantly. It hit me like, “Part of your world” had hit me so so many years ago. I listened to it over and over and sang it over and over. Literally that day I first heard it I sang it the entire way home. And I thought I was doing a pretty good job. But of course my brain would not allow for such thoughts to stay in my head long. “You sound good because no one can hear you, you suck”.

I saw the movie the new week, instantly obsessed again. The story just hit me like those old school Disney movies had. (TLM, BATB…). Shortly after I ended up alone in my house. A big struggle for me has been stage fright and letting people hear me. Even videoing myself is super hard for me. I get nervous even with THAT. But I kept trying to get comfortable with it. I took one that sounded ok..and sent it to my BF Adam, the only person I really trust with this…somewhat. lol

Then I did something insane, insane to me, I posted that video on instagram. It wasn’t my best, but it was almost like I had to face that fear. Of letting people hear me and NOT being perfect. Just letting myself heard, period. That was my only goal with it. The world did not end, I did not fall apart. And even though 2 weeks later my knee-jerk reaction is to “Delete that!” I wont let myself based on principal. If I can’t show this side of myself I will never be happy.

So as I said, countless, endless, pretty much every time I went to class I thought about trying one of those Disney classics…and backed down. But yesterday I decided I was going to try it. Well not a classic but, “How far I’ll go”. My regular teacher isn’t there but her sub is super nice too. I even printed out the words. The funny thing is the first thing my teacher told me when I walked in, “Maybe we should work on two songs, do another one too.” Oh universe, you are HILARIOUS. So I suggested, “How far I’ll go” and busted out the lyrics I already had printed out.

Then I did it, I was nervous as hell and wasn’t my best, but I wasn’t my worst either. I navigated that song way better then any other song I had attempted in the last year. So we kept working on different elements and I tried it again and again. The final time she was genuinely surprised and said I had done so well. That I had all of the notes I just had to work on my projection. But that I did awesome and that I ,”Kept surprising her”.

Do you know how long I have waited for someone to tell me I really could do this? That it wasn’t so made up thing I could only do in my head. No, I really can sing that song and I can probably sing all the other ones well too. But just that moment of validation, unaided validation. I cried on the way home. I have waited over 20 years for that moment. For someone to say, “You CAN do this.” Honestly, words can’t even describe it.

“One day I’ll know
How far I’ll go”

Vocal Lessons: A year later

I realized today that I have been taking my vocal lessons slightly over a year now. It’s been an interesting year and has forced me to really look at what stops me in life.

I love to sing, I truly do. It makes me so happy. I just love music in general, music heals me or comforts me. And I’ve always wanted to sing. I’ve already written about my internal battle with that though.

I’m actually still finding my voice, in all ways. I’m still breaking free. It’s been tiny baby steps though, teeny tiny ones. Before I took lessons I thought just walking into them was going to be enough for me to “unleash” and suddenly I was going to be so confident. But the opposite happened, it was HARDER for me to sing in my lessons, because I was in front of someone else.

I’ve wanted to quit MANY times. Especially after my last teacher left me. But my new one has taught me so much, and I feel like my 3 short months with her have yielded a lot of results. But the teachers that came before her each had their hand in teaching me several things too.

I’ve learned what a complex instrument the voice is. I’ve also learned that singing is a very mental thing. In the end my mind is hindering me most, even still. I can belt a song in my car but put me in class and it squeaks out. It’s not because I can’t sing, but just because my brain is freaking out and not letting me. Bridging that gap between fear and ability is HARD for me. But I am laying down those boards one at a time, inching along.

I thought I’d be across the water by now. I thought I’d have at least shared my singing with someone. But no, I sing a tiny bit in front of Adam but that is even very rare. I still don’t practice in my house because I’m shy for my dad to hear.

I don’t practice, another huge problem. I really need to. For abilities sake but mostly for confidences sake. The more you feel like, “Yeah. I GOT THIS” the better you will perform. AT ANYTHING in life. Singing is no different.

Today I did something I hadn’t done in awhile. I picked up my guitar. I started just trying to learn Selena Gomez’s song, “Bad Liar” because it seemed like it’d be super easy to play, (it is!) but then a part of me is like, “You need to be working on a “Million Reasons” Malinda….” so I pulled out the chords I had printed and started to try to play it and sing. (My dad wasn’t here, btw) Then I just felt like practicing singing only.

So I sang it and recorded myself, then did something out of the ordinary. I listened to myself. Then I did it again. I got so emotional the second time through it I almost started crying in the middle of the song. Because I was just singing my heart out, the way I used to when I was 8 when I’d sing along to “The Little Mermaid” or any other disney or Madonna song.

I sang a lot of songs, I sang non-stop. But I never got the one thing I was looking for, approval. Someone to say “You sing pretty good” or “Maybe she should take lessons” no one ever pushed that part of me. I think it was because I was SO shy and SO introverted they probably didn’t connect the dots that I loved singing and performing more then anything.  I don’t know what it is. But my brain always just told me it was cause I wasn’t good at it…and then as I got older and got bullied it was as if I got confirmation of that fact.

And now I have Olivia Thai, winner of Thai Idol and also former contestant on American Idol telling me that’s NOT the case, that I have a gift I need to share…and I don’t believe her. I want to, I want to SO BAD. But my negativity drowns it out and says, “Bitch, you can’t sing.” The battle I am fighting is mental, it’s not ability based.

I think that’s why that moment made me so emotional. Because I hit the chorus in a “Million Reasons” with full force. Usually between the verse and the chorus I will stop, because she goes into the high notes and sings with so much power. I get scared and falter. But Oliva told me to the practice getting through the song, no stops, even if I mess up to keep going. And I smashed the chorus I could just feel it, it was like my real voice came out. And then I started almost crying. Crying and singing don’t mix well. lol

I have moved forward in this year and forward is all I can ask for. I’m excited to know with more confidence and more practice where I will be in another year.  Will I be posting a video for everyone to hear? I hope so.

My problem with self discipline

This week I was determined to A. go the the gym 3x (M,W,F) and B. actually SING at my voice lesson. Ever since I got sick my classes have sucked, I don’t know if it’s my throat or my brain…but my last few lessons were really bad imo.

Sunday night I didn’t sleep good. I work at an NPR station and we are having a pledge drive this week, which is when I’m at my busiest! So I went to work tired, worked my ass off and STILL went to the gym.

Sounds great until you hear that I went to this YUMMY hot dog place in Pasadena called Dog Haus for lunch with my co-worker/buddy Crystal. I ate so BAD but it was so good. So with my workout I’d be lucky if I broke even. :/ #fail

Tuesday was another bad eating day with my BF but I did go to class and sang much better then the previous weeks. So that was a half-win.

Wednesday I had FULL intention of going to the gym. My work is in-between my bf’s and the gym. I park near the gym and take the Metro 10min to work because parking in Pasadena is HORRIBLE. So, when we go places my bf usually picks me up from work. ANYWAY, so he picks me up from work, drops me off at my car, we drive to the gym I get out of my car and pop open my trunk….no gym clothes.

The bag is still sitting on the floor of my room. I completely forgot the grab them in the morning. #fail We had dinner and I went home and did some pilates but it was not the cardio I wanted to do.

I’m really bad when it comes to eating healthy, working out AND practicing my guitar/voice. I get so lazy after work or when I get home. And eating, oh lordy (haha #comeyday..), I eat terrible. I love everything bad for me. WINGS and MARGARITAS especially. Take me to BWW and give me both and I’m in heaven.

But I really want to get back into shape, for a couple reasons. 1. I have a 5k & 10k in September at Disneyland. 2. I BOOKED A DISNEY WORLD VACATION FOR MY BIRTHDAY! Sorry for the bold, all caps, but I’m beyond excited to go. It’s my FIRST time EVER! And I’m going the day before my birthday!!! I’m going to Disney world for the first time on my birthday guys?! How amazing is that?

Oh and I forgot shopping! I’m a Disney-holic/t-shirt holic so now trying to save money for Disney World and not spend money for the trip to Disney world (like shirts and ears..) is another thing I must discipline myself on.

Telling myself “No” and not saying, “Fuck it” are really hard. But I’m trying guys, this also falls in with my last post about becoming the person I want to be. Getting in shape, working on my music and spending money on things that really matter to me (instead of random crap) are all things I need to be doing to be that person…but they’re hard! *whiney voice*

I’d love to end this post with a wisdom filled nugget but meh. I’m just here trying to do my best. Trying to walk a little more towards my goals so when I take those few steps back it doesn’t feel so bad.

Are you good at self discipline? Have you become better at it as time goes on? Tips? Tricks? They’re Always welcome.

Thoughts on everything currently swirling around in my brain

I apologize in advance because this post has no clear cut direction. I have lots of things running through my mind after my voice lesson Thursday, watching Wonder Woman yesterday and watching the livestream of the One Love Manchester benefit concert today.

I am a person who is truly split in two. I feel like two very different people live inside my brain. I watch Gal Gadot portray Wonder Woman and I know that person lives inside of me…the fierce warrior and then there is this other person, a terrified little girl that is afraid to be heard, to be seen. And they are constantly at odds with each other. Most times when I really want to be be brave, the little girl shows up. Terrified, shaking in a corner wanting nothing more then to keep hiding. Go where it’s safe. Maybe there is 3 actually. Because I feel torn in-between them.

I want to cuddle the little girl and scream at her all the same, “WHY CAN’T YOU BE BRAVE?! WHY CAN’T YOU LET SHIT GO?” But obviously that doesn’t help, because the words still wont come out as they should and I don’t shine as I should.

I am an introvert, and I got the message pretty young that I wasn’t supposed to be that way. I got a lot of messages and I built my foundation on a lot of things that weren’t true. So now here I am, a full fledged independent minded adult still believing what I learned decades ago…and still buying into it.

I am the shy introvert but I am a performer too. I want to express so much yet I want to hide. I have tried so hard to make these two sides work together somehow. There is no compromise because the pull of each is so strong. How do I reconcile the past of who I was with the person I want to become in life?

I’ve built too much and come too far with these conflicting houses. There’s a whole city on top of faulty, rocky ground. There is no denying that there is beauty to be found amongst that city. My life has had amazing moments but they seem to be always overshadowed by the bullshit.

There will be no reconciliation of past and present. I’ve tried so hard and its impossible. So I must rebuild.

We need to all start together at the same place and build together, with a love for both of my halves and be reborn like the Phoenix. But leaving behind the bullshit and only taking the best and the good to build with and taking the bad in stride. A new foundation a new city a new me. A person that accepts myself despite everything. I can’t change the past I can simply forgive myself for it and create a better future.

It all sounds good. But we all know change is NOT that easy. Very few people can wake up and become a different person.  But to be honest, I’ve never worked that hard at radical self acceptance. Or my music and my other passions. There’s so much risk in pouring your heart into something isn’t there? Because there is always the possibility of falling flat on your face despite all your best efforts.

My dealings with romantic relationships, however, have always gotten my full attention. Every ounce of me went into situations that were not beneficial or even good for me. For so, so long.

That’s a major difference with my current relationship. He does not deplete me, or take and never give, or require me to worry and wonder and fear. Our bad days are so minimal and small. It’s healthy and happy. I attribute this not only because I’m with a wonderful person but because I have done SO MUCH work to get to where I am today.  But why then do I still let past things bug me? Things that don’t even matter anymore?

I want to walk into my future and I want to become the best versions of every facet of myself. The scared little girl and the warrior both have a place at the table but they need to work together instead of constantly fighting each other.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this. But I am. Because I’m tired of being afraid to be whoever I’m supposed to be.

“Every heartbreak makes it hard to keep the faith”

Elizabeth Gilbert describes them as “art scars”. Emotional scars that you got at some point while you were trying to express your creativity. It goes deeper then that for me.

I have loved singing since before I could remember. I did it non-stop as a child. I was born with a clef palate, when they were repairing something happened and low and behold I ended up with a speech impediment.  It shaped who I am as a person and how I express and see myself.

So yeah, despite this, I have always loved singing. But then I became a teenager and I stopped. I had a lot of bullies growing up and in 7th grade I realized that if I was QUIET and INVINCIBLE I was SAFE.

People can’t make fun of your voice if they can’t hear you talk.
black-guy-thinking

So into the shell I went and I’ve been suffocating ever since. I held fast to every negative criticism I had ever received about my voice (and self in general). I told myself over and over again that I was not supposed to sing, i wasn’t even supposed to want to. Funny how your heart and brain just refuse to agree sometimes.

I don’t like driving (ask my bf. that is an understatement) but the ONE THING I always loved about driving was that I got to be ALONE in my car and SING MY ASS OFF.  It was my safe haven, literally the only place I would allow myself to sing.

Then my mom and sister passed away…

Do you sense a theme here?

Yes, their deaths were a HUGE catalyst to the person I am and becoming currently. Nothing wakes your ass up like watching 2 people you love leave this earth. Nothing makes you realize, “Hey….I don’t have all the time in the world..” like that.

It still took me two years to go to a vocal class. I literally agonized over it every week for 2 years, trying to convince myself that it was an utterly insane and stupid thing to do. WHY THE HELL WOULD I DO THAT?! I sing in my car, not in front of other human beings. I used to as a bitty kid but not anymore.

Nag, nag, nag the thought went. I went on Yelp and found a school that was on my way home from work. I read the description by the head of the school, it just spoke to me. That made me want to go there, but, she (Olivia) intimidated me because she had been an American Idol finalist...so I didn’t choose her as my instructor.

My first class was terrifying, I barely made any noise. I got slightly comfy with teacher #1 and then. she left. So a new instructor was given to me, a guy, he was really cool and I was more comfy with him…then he left. Then came the 3rd one, I really liked her a lot and felt myself somewhat progressing…I’ll give you one guess what happened…SHE LEFT.

So about now my brain is telling, “Um, Malinda, yeah…maybe you need to stop this madness. 3 instructors have left and now you’re going for #4.” I had literally just paid for another month of classes when instructor #3 left me, so I had to at least finish out the classes.

They put with me Olivia. I was SO scared and intimidated to have her teach me. The universe makes shit happen for a reason though guys. Because I have progressed more in 4 lessons with Olivia then I did with the months and months and months of all the other instructors. She’s amazing and her energy just meshes with mine. What if I had stopped going when instructor #3 quit?!

nevergiveup
(On a good day I can remember this..)

It’s still been pulling teeth for Olivia to get me to sing. I was never able to really go “all the way” and sing like I sing in the car with any of the others. And when I’d say, “I can do it better by myself” I always felt like they were thinking, “Surrreee..”

But TODAY I WAS ABLE TO SING. I got it out, I did it like I do it in the car. Her and I were both so excited. I fight a mental battle against the past when it comes to this and it makes me unable to express myself. Or it tries, now I am actively attempting to combat that.

SAFETY does not make me HAPPY. SAFETY makes me MISERABLE. 

I should get that tattooed on me.

I’m just so proud of myself at the moment. 🙂

BTW the song I’m working on currently is “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga, hence the title.