I Used To Shake 

The first time I sang as myself - not as part of a choir, not as an actress playing a character - I shook. Visibly. Violently.

I was looking down. Shaking. And singing. I could not lift my head. I could not stop myself from shaking. And I could not stop singing.

Tapping in to that energy is exhilarating.

It’s a lightning rod. It’s the truth.

And it's hard for me to do. Singing is the hardest thing I do. I am always failing at it. 

It used to be harder; back when I would hate everything I did. Back when the time before a show felt like an hour of navigating real fears of spontaneous combustion. And when the time after a show was filled with the deepest heart-breaking-est disappointment in myself. I wasn't a clear channel. I wasn't Sarah Vaughn. I wasn't Carmen McRae. I wasn't even me. UGH.

...Funny the things you can tell yourself. Who else can you be?

I say "back when" but I didn't stop shaking in one way or another until I turned 40. I mean, I guess it's still there sometimes, but something changed for the better.

"Hold On" 

It's 1998. I'm 23.