While looking at my stats page on WordPress, I came across an interesting search term. Someone had found my blog by typing in “What does sing like no one’s listening mean?”. It occurred to me that during the almost two years I have been writing my blog, I have never covered this topic. It seems obvious to me, but quite possibly, no one else gets why I named this blog Sing Like No One’s Listening.
Even my closest friends are so used to seeing my necklace that they rarely pay any attention to it. Every once in a while, some observant passerby will suddenly realize there’s a word on it. You may try and read it without me catching you, but it generally ends awkwardly, so most people don’t even try. To the general public, it looks like hieroglyphics, when turned sideways. On one side, it says “Sing” and on the other, it says “like no one can hear you”.
I really need to get a new charm, as I’ve almost worn this one out. I keep checking, when I go to Kohl’s, but they don’t have it anymore. One of these years, I’ll trip over another charm, before this one completely dissolves. The chain is actually on the third go-round, as my Bubby managed to break two of them, when I was in Australia. I bought a much stronger chain, before returning home.
I have always loved to sing. I grew up listening to musicals, learning all the words, and singing along at top volume. Singing around my house is as natural as breathing, but I’m a bit shy about singing when anyone else is nearby. When I was a housekeeper in PA, I would sing my head off, while cleaning cabins, bathrooms, and motel rooms, all during the off season. During the summer, there were too many people around to do that.
Most of the time, I had my headphones on, with Broadway tunes keeping me going, with the occasional folk tune thrown in. But I can do just fine from memory, with no mp3 player to listen to. As I said, I have tons of them memorized. But with the music cranked up, I can’t always tell if someone is walking up behind me, which is why Donna and Martain occasionally managed to scare the daylights out of me.
As soon as I realize someone is nearby, though, I usually stop. I’m very self-conscious about singing in front of others, and only rarely do I sing solo in front of any group. I will only do so if I truly believe that the Lord wants me to, and sometimes that takes some convincing (and lots of prayer). The last time was probably at a ladies’ conference, 4-5 years ago. Now, if you’ve been around me at a conference, when I’m leading the singing on my guitar, at the campfire, that’s different. Singing with a group is not like singing a solo.
I even have a pattern of the types of songs I sing, when I’m alone, depending on the mood I’m in. If you’ve read my Australia posts, you know I sang slower, more lullaby-style songs to get the baby to sleep. While in Pennsylvania, if I was cleaning the camp cabins, and was particularly frustrated about anything, I would pick the loudest, most strident songs I could come up with. Something that you have to bellow, if you can.
Anyway… when you’re singing in front of a group, and you’re flat out terrified, you have to get beyond the fear. And you can pretend that no one is there. You can remember that if no one was there, you wouldn’t be concerned so much about how you’ll sound or what they’ll think. Your worries can go by the wayside.
This idea crosses over into my writing. There’s a fear of putting something, a story, a song, onto paper. You’ll start and you’ll fail, so why start? When I began this blog, it originally felt like writing in a vacuum, but I knew that eventually, people would drop by and read what I had to say. What would they think? What if they were upset by it? You can become so concerned with what others will think that you don’t write what YOU want to write anymore.
I’ve always wanted to write well, and to write primarily for myself, not being concerned about the opinions of others. It’s not easy to do. If I really wanted to get numbers on this site, I’d just post kitten pictures every day. That would bring up the numbers on my stats page. But I started this blog to tell my daily stories, whether here or in Australia. First and foremost, I want to write about what I like. And I have to like what I’ve written. There are days when I immediately hate what I’ve written. Sometimes, I have to read it over a few times before I like it, and sometimes I have to edit it completely. Like I’m doing right now.
My fears over both singing and writing can easily come to the forefront. And I have to remind myself that if I can’t stand what I’ve said, sung, or written, then why am I doing it? And fear of what others think can be dreadfully controlling. When I write, I remind myself that I’m writing this because I want to, and for no other reason. And if others like it, that’s great, too.
I’m not sure I’ve even explained this properly. But to me, to “sing like no one’s listening” is to put your heart out there, without being concerned about what others will think. If I’ve done that, then I will like what I’ve written and I will enjoy the process of writing… and you will probably like it, also. Because it’s the real me that you’re getting, not someone I’m pretending to be.
And it’s a reminder to always keep singing (and writing), even when I’m afraid to.