Say Cheese

My husband recently mounted one of his photographs, aptly titled Smile, and gave it to me on our four year anniversary. (Ed. note: Yes, we’ve only been married since July, but this day still remains our “real” anniversary, or so we tell ourselves.) He is taking a picture of himself in the mirror. Not a MySpace pose with the flash washing out the intended subject; a quasi-professional picture with the focus on the camera lens and his hands. The detail is layered- you can see the design of his wedding band, the creases of his fingers, the image of him being reflected against the mirror through the lens. But as soon as you look outside the lens the background blurs into obscurity. While most people wouldn’t give it a second glance (Example – Co-worker: “Oh. That’s neat.”), I find myself mesmerized by it. The focus is so sharp I am immediately drawn to it, soaking up every nuance, every shadow, as my mind searches furtively through the surrounding blurs looking for something to reveal itself for the first time. It is not so much the well-taken picture as the images and thoughts it provokes. It draws me out of my own mind, challenging me to look at myself through another’s eyes. Granted, Michael Jackson made this same request of me circa 1988, but let’s be honest: I was eight. And even though I sang along with much gusto and compassion, it was not likely I grasped the deeper meaning of the lyrics.

My self-examination leads to truths I have always known but consistently choose to ignore. There is an awakening to mental notes made in years past that had been deemed unimportant and cast to the side, lacking the attention that, in hindsight, they desperately needed. Lastly there are a few revelations that frighten and intrigue in equal parts. So here I sit. And I ponder the odds of my taking the reins this time and actively making changes that could potentially lead my life in a different direction. Not better, not necessary; just different. (Like Nuprin, but not little and yellow.)

One way I have changed since my most recent self-reflection is in one humbling act of karaoke. I have done karaoke in the past. And it can be described in two words: I sucked. I have never been a fan of public speaking so public singing was not even on the charts, singing in church choirs aside. Nerves controlled my shaky voice and I could barely read the words. My friend’s birthday comes along about a month ago and guess what she wants to do? Karaoke! It’s a little place called Jake’s Roadhouse and people, it is a biker bar. In high heeled boots, big hoop earrings and general good hygiene, we were the minority. I grudgingly enter the contest thinking at the chance that everyone else in the place is mute and/or deaf, I might be able to win $50. Here’s what happened: I walked up to the microphone, looked around the room and realized, ‘I will never see these people again.’ First bars of the song kicked in and I started to sing – really sing. I’m no Christina Aguilera, but I can carry a tune and the next thing I know, there’s cheering and singing along (yes, it was just my friends, but it counts!). Filled with pure elation, I belt out the final chorus and laugh my way through the last bits, genuinely astonished at what I had done. Then I proceeded to trip down the “stage” shaking so bad a bystander may have thought I was seizing. But the sense of accomplishment was undeniable. I had conquered a fear and it was exhilarating.

2 thoughts on “Say Cheese

  1. A big woot (can you believe that’s a “real” word now?) for karaoke!! We did have similar experiences now you know why I’m an official bar singing junkie. Is there rehab for that?

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