Different stages of my singing journey
Singing, throughout the years, has been a running hobby for me. At times, I would not even
know that I was doing it, and would simply sing in between the gaps in conversations. Some
thought it was amusing, and others just said “that’s just Milli”.

Growing up, my mum and I had a home in Canterberry Kent. As pretty as it was, it didn’t
scream creativity and colour to my mum and I. I had the same ritual every morning, as every
child should – a steady routine. While I would fix my pink bow and wear my green jumper to
school, all I could think about was singing. It was so much easier to simply sing as a child
and stay present with it. We would drive past the same streets, trees and buildings, and
every time, it felt like an invitation to sing about something new. Everything was quite bland,
but singing provided that drive for me, to create new content, and express new emotions…

School shows
Primary school was a small playground that made me feel like I was the star of my own
show. Singing was a part of character. The hallways were filled with Hannah Montanna and
High school musical songs, sung by me. The school show was approaching and I was asked
to sing a song. The first time I performed it in front of my peers, wide eyes were staring right
back at me, with full attention. These days, the need to check your phone and other adult
distractions seem to get in the way of the person singing. I felt famous. My peers would stop
me in the hallway and say how amazing I was. In my mind, I was signing autographs and
seeing my face on keyrings and cheaply made bracelets, on sale in claires and accessories.
The stage felt like a place of comfort. Eye contact fetl easy and performing was a joyful
experience.


Currently: University
Now, at 21 years of age, my relationship with my voice has changed dramatically. Through
The different changes and other personal circumstances that have evolved, performing
doesn’t seem so easy anymore. I love the idea of being carefree, unaffected by the
audience’s response, but it just seems too daunting these days. I assumed that starting
University would be a space that would build up my confidence with singing in public, but the
concept of people making eye contact with me while I am singing, or looking down at their
phone screens, disengaged, seems a little too much to confront at present.

I think it is important to voice anxieties around performing and fear of judgment. During this
uncertain time with covid19, it seems to have highlighted insecurities for many of us, but also
the strengths that we didn’t even recognise before. University is a new environment,
especially easing out of Covid. Instead of jumping straight into stage performances, I have
been booking out the practice rooms to sing on my own temporarily. While anxiety is high
around new people and new settings, finding a safe space to practice and sing without
external opinion, seems like a good starting point.


Going at your own pace with your creative practice
It is easy to compare yourself to others, the successes that other people promote and much
more. It’s great to see other people reaching their goals, but it can create a sense of
pressure, and for me, I was always worried about not getting everything done by a certain
time/age.

I think that with Covid forcing us into a position to stop and reflect, it really brings
to light that anything can happen, and the importance of self care. While university is a great
place to start this new chapter as a creative, it seems to be benefiting me on a personal
level. Soon I will challenge myself to perform on a stage with my own material, with a
non-virtual audience. As an ease into face to face interaction again, the practice rooms seem
approachable, while I battle with nerves of performing in front of people again.

Between those lectures and performance practices at university, we all congregate outside in
the social area afterwards. It is clear from the conversations that take place, just how similar
we all are. Although we all may front a fearless exterior, anxiety is portrayed in different
ways.
My aim is to channel a more carefree version of myself that seemed so easy to maintain as
a child. With the pressures of adulthood and responsibility, it is easy to get lost in that
process. Singing will always be a healthy outlet for me, and eventually I will perform in front
of my peers. Prioritising my well being is the key part though, and at a pace that works. It is
somewhat warming to know that while it can feel lonely, processing alone, everybody’s
relationship with performance anxiety is present in one way or another.

Written by Milli-Rose Rubin

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