Dear Diary…

Day 11:  I wish that when I started my blog I had…

… not treated it like a diary.  This particular version of my blog was started to honor my mother and to get my writing on track.  But way back in yesteryear when blogging, or whatever we called it back then, started, I had a Xanga account (is that even right?).  And I put a lot out there.  So much so, that it’s been years since I’ve gone back to it because I’m kind of embarrassed.  I should probably see if the site even still exists. 

*Inviting elevator music plays while you wait for me to go check…*

Hmm, apparently it does and I was able to correctly guess my password.  But it’s all archived which I hope means no one else can read them and I’ll have to save my own perusing for another day.

I started taking voice lessons in ninth grade, mostly because I found out my arch-nemesis/best friend was taking them, too.  At our first recital, I was to perform a stirring rendition of ‘On My Own’ from Les Mis (I was Les Mis before Les Mis was cool, y’all).  Anyway, I was terrified.  I got up on the church stage before oh, at least twenty-five people.  The music started.  I gripped the microphone like a drowning man grabs a life vest.  I opened my mouth and, well, this story is a lot better when I tell it because I basically started the song about two octaves lower than I was supposed to and not anywhere near the correct pitch.  The audience looked startled.  I was startled.  I quickly recovered and was able to perform the rest of the song beautifully… or at least I sang the right notes.

This event is one of those ones which grew and morphed in my mind over the years.  It became huge- an epic failure of my young life.  Of course, my parents videotaped it but I never watched the video- it was too humiliating and I knew how terrible I had sounded.  But, a few years ago, while cleaning out some of my mom’s stuff, I found the tape.  I started thinking, “You know, it probably wasn’t that bad.  It was embarrassing, but I’ve probably made it so much worse by telling nervous kids about it before performances or laughing about it with friends.  I think I shall watch this video.”

Rest assured, it was as awful, if not WORSE than I thought.  The look on my face when that sound came out was priceless.  Luckily, having already graduated from college as a vocal major, I was able to laugh it off and move it.  It’s really even funnier because it was true how terrible the beginning of that song was… and I survived.  I’ve thrived, even.  But it was really hard for me to put myself out there as a singer- every time.  From that first performance in 9th grade to my senior recital in college.  I rarely sing for my students, and if I do, it’s only to demonstrate, never to perform.  It’s part of me and it’s personal and if you say it’s bad, I’ll cry.  

My first blog entries were not very Raven.

Writing is like that for me.  I’m terrified to show people my work- my hands shake and my heart pounds.  I’m in a creative writer’s group here in Bahrain and we meet monthly to write… creatively.  I never share unless I am asked.  Except the whole time, I’m sitting there hoping someone will ask.  I crave the kudos.  I want the accolades.  And in trying to get those, I sometimes tell a little too much or talk a little too long.  It’s also part of me and I want people to like what I’ve written. 

I read through my Xanga entries a few years ago.  I was embarrassed and then I forgot about them.  But it is part of me.  Maybe I’ll download them for me and then delete my account.  I know, thank you very much Internets, that it doesn’t mean they’re gone.  But hopefully out of site (see what I did there), out of mind… and yes, I’ve learned my lesson. 

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14 thoughts on “Dear Diary…

  1. I completely understand this. I double-majored in English and Women's Studies. I *know* I have a brilliant mind, lol, but I'm absolutely terrified to put myself out there. We are our own worst enemies, Kelli.

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  2. That is so true, Cosette! So very true! But when you put your heart and soul into something, you don't want anyone to come along and say, “Oh. That sucks.” haha! I'm getting better at asking for critiques and using them, though!

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  3. Very glad you put yourself out there in this blog because I love your writing and keeping up with you! Blogging does feel very exposed – well, I guess it is – I'm like you in hating criticism. I live in absolute fear of finding a negative comment on something I've written.
    Your Xanga account has reminded me that I have a Live Journal probably still living, and oh my, there is some stuff on there I should probably get off the Internet!
    Also, that Zach G quote is so great. I'm going to start saying, “that was not very Raven.”

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  4. This was a great read, particularly as you can assure the reader that you have thrived. I took a couple of writing courses last year, and part of the requirement was to read our work out loud every few weeks and then listen the responses of the group. It was terrifying, and also one of the best things I have ever done. I know the constructive comments have improved my writing, plus it was worth the great feeling afterward when something went over well. But still so hard to do …

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  5. Xanga! I had a xanga. It was my very first blog. I actually tried to check it out the other day – but I was unlucky at guessing my password. I definitely, get what you mean about being terrified of criticism when your have literally poured your heart into something – I feel that way too. I think that is just the mark of an artist… or at least that is what I am going with. 😉

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  6. Love it! The story about your concert reminds me of all the terrible creative writing I saved from high school- I go through that box and my cheeks just burn with embarrassment for myself! But I think we are our toughest critics. I think you are a great blogger and am so glad I have the privilege of reading your musings!

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  7. The RS and I use the Raven quote all the time! It's not funny to my students though… which makes me too sad. Blogging (and singing) are so personal, but so is anything you're passionate about, huh?

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  8. I've enjoyed the feedback I've gotten at our writer's group as well, though it's always terrifying before it starts! I'm also curious if the way that I read it affects what people think- like did I write it so the reader would understand it if I wasn't saying it in the voice I thought it? Wow- does that make any sense?

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  9. I just told my students about the first play I wrote- an epic 'don't-do-drugs' that included six of my friends on the phone trying to convince one of them not to take cocaine. What?! It was horrible!

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