The other night I went out to Karaoke with some friends. We were excited, so we went early and got a table close to the stage. I have been doing a lot of work on myself lately, and I felt like I was taking my new, confident self out. I was ready to get up there and sing badly, because it is fun.
We ordered drinks and watched the other tables fill up. People weren’t dressed like they were out for a good time. One woman even came in her housecoat. I figured it was going to be a casual crowd. That would be good for my Karaoke debut.
Then the lights dimmed and the DJ came up to the stage. He sang a song I’ve never heard of, but of course he was good. Otherwise they wouldn’t have given him the job. While he was doing his solo the shiny silver ball on the ceiling started turning and colored strobe lights flashed onto him.
It was a party atmosphere.
One of my friends wanted to sing right away, so she put in for a song by herself. I figured that she sang about as good as I do and she was just ready to have fun. We all worried a little when she chose a Shakira song. That woman can do things with her voice that I don’t even understand.
I underestimated my friend.
She got up there and sang! She even did that wobbly voice thing that Shakira is famous for. People in the bar clapped along during the song and cheered afterwards. I was amazed. I had no idea my friend could sing like that.
That is when the fear started to set in. People going up on stage could sing. Really sing. For me, Karaoke had always been about drunk fun. I took it as seriously as singing in the shower. The thing is, I’m not actually good at singing. Sometimes I jokingly use it as a punishment with children. Do what I say or I’m going to sing you a song. It always works.
As the night progressed I had a few cocktails and got in the mood to sing, even badly. Three of us went up together to sing “Like a virgin” because no one takes Madonna seriously.
With the bright lights in my face and the words flashing by on the computer screen, I was terrified. Faces in the audience stared up at me like, “What is she doing?” I could tell they wanted me to shut up and sit down. They were not having fun.
Which meant I had trouble having fun. If I turned away from the audience and focused on my friends and the song, it was a blast. When the song was over and we went to sit down I started wondering, when did Karaoke become so serious?
I felt a pressure to be good and talented in order to get up on stage. I wanted to tell the people at the other tables that I have other talents, singing just isn’t one of them. Does that mean that I shouldn’t get up and have fun?
Then it dawned on me that I was the one putting pressure on myself. We do it all the time. Maybe it’s because we’re women. I’m not sure. But we seem to think that we have to be perfect at everything we do. If I can’t do it well, then I shouldn’t do it at all.
But there is no such thing as perfect.
And no one can be good at everything.
Sure, there were plenty of people there that night who could sing well. But they might not be able to change a diaper with one hand, tell a funny story off the top of their heads, or write a book. We all have things we’re good at and things we’re not. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do the things that we aren’t good at and just have fun.
I may not be a good singer. But I know how to have fun.
So when the DJ called our names again, I got up there with my friends and sang “Faith”. I stopped worrying about the people out at the tables and thought about how much fun I was having. I danced and sang and didn’t think about how close the microphone was to my mouth. It was even ok if they heard my voice. And, really, that’s the way George Michael would have wanted it.
Sometimes we need to let go of the pressure to be perfect and just have a good time.
We can’t be good at everything.
Do you feel pressure to do everything well? Are you willing to try things you aren’t good at?