My whole life I’ve had a love for singing. I used to sing in the choir, be part of musicals at school. But there was something hidden in my singing.
Often I wouldn’t actually sing.
I learnt from a very young age that I couldn’t sing. I was told time and again that I couldn’t sing. The more I was told, the more I believed it. I didn’t question it.
Despite that I dared to sing, because I loved it so much. But if ever a teacher commented that someone was out of tune, or a bit flat, I immediately assumed it was me, the shame came flooding in, and I went silent again.
In the end, to avoid the shame and hurt, I played the role of not being able to sing. I purposely sang out of tune, because it was safer. It was safer to sing that way, than to try, fail and be ridiculed. I allowed it to become a joke, me and my singing.
It might seem strange how we human beings do this. But it’s a safety mechanism, above all else we want to feel safe. And so to keep myself safe, free from hurt, I either sang out of tune on purpose or didn’t sing at all.
Eventually I stopped singing altogether. I was no longer part of a choir, and I buried the part of me that loved to sing. It would still come out every now and then. I’d sing in the safety of my home, I would dare to let myself go when a song I loved came on.
There is so much shame in me if I sing in front of people, it literally moves through me. I can feel it in every part of my body. It’s like there are two parts of me, the one that wants to sing, and the part that that feels so shameful that she wants to hide. It’s a deep inner conflict.
But there’s an inherent truth. I love singing. With my whole heart I love to sing.
Earlier this year something shifted. I realised that I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life not singing. I want to sing with the fullness my heart.
With all the fear moving in my body I found a singing teacher and signed up for my first singing lesson. I was petrified, this isn’t an understatement, the anxiety in my body was palpable. I had no idea how I was going to do it.
But somehow the pull to do this was stronger than the fear. The weight was slightly tipped in favour of what I’ve wanted to do for my whole life.
And so I went to my singing lesson and I sang. Singing is so much more than I thought it was. I’m learning to play an instrument, my voice. Someone said to me recently, you wouldn’t give someone a violin and expect them to play immediately, this resonated with me deeply. It’s the same with your voice.
I’m learning how to use my voice. It takes courage, a lot of courage to really let go, to sing from the deepest part of myself. And so I find myself on this new journey, a journey towards finding freedom in my voice.
As I was walking home from my first lesson I heard myself say, why didn’t I do this sooner? It fills my heart and brings me so much joy. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t dare sooner, I’m daring now.
BANT Registered Nutritionist and Maturation Coach
Nicky Duffell is a BANT Registered Nutritionist and Maturation Coach, bringing together nutrition expertise, functional medicine and powerful coaching techniques to support the whole you: Mind, Body and Soul.
Nicky qualified from The Institute for Optimum Nutrition in 2009 and is registered with The British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT), and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). She is also a member of The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), and has a specialist interest in grief work.