“Is this what she was like back in the day?”, my friend Tina asks my husband as they are getting ready to record my performance. After a moment of stunned silence, my husband of 37 years responds, “I’ve never seen her like this…it’s all new.”
They were speaking of my performance last weekend as Taylor Swift, singing “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together”. A brief recap: my friend Randy was throwing a party. A “dance extravaganza” including “lip sync and stage performances”. I, along with Joyce performing as Aretha Franklin, were the lip sync portion of the program.
I was dragged into this event reluctantly. Very reluctantly. But Randy made it impossible to say no. So as the time to perform got closer, I realized two things: first, if I was going to sing (all right, lip sync) in front of a crowd, I better get it right. No use making a fool of myself twice over, once for just doing it in the first place and again for doing it badly. So, I practiced. And practiced. I sang along with Taylor on YouTube, I sang along on the karaoke version, I sang in front of the mirror.
The second thing I realized after all this practice, was that I was actually starting to look forward to this! It was exciting, if somewhat frightening, to think of doing this in front of an audience. I knew that all of my practicing had resulted in a pretty good performance, and I was eager to share it. Now, that was surprising indeed.
I’ve sent the video recording to my family and a few friends. The reactions have been mixed. From “You killed it!”, from my friend Cally, “You nailed it!”, from my daughter, all the way to a texted “OMG” from my son and a “Do you realize that someday your grandchildren will be watching this?” from my sister. I’ll take it all. Because it really was a pretty dorky performance. But I really did nail it.
As you might imagine, the accolades have been really nice. Which I guess is why people perform. Actually, most people probably perform because they have some extraordinary talent to share. But I belong to the camp that performs because it was fun and funny and pure joy for myself, as well as the audience.
Yes, the reason I performed was because someone told me I had to. In fact, someone other than myself assumed I could do it. And, like a fool who jumps out of a plane because the person behind them says, “You can do it, now jump!”, I did. I jumped.
This morning I saw my husband, John, watching the video again. He says, “I love watching this! It’s so not you, but on the other hand, I recognize you in it all.” He’s right. It’s been in there all along.
I just had to be willing to share it.