Truth be told, I consider myself to be something of an optimistic pessimist. Cloaked in a layer of pragmatism, I am the best at talking myself into and out of so many things. If you ask some of my friends or my mother, they’d probably tell you all about how I can be a bit of a bad influence in a good way. I’m always one to encourage my friends to do things that might be good for them even if it means stepping outside of their comfort zones. I’m not so great at doing that for myself.

Your Own Worst Enemy

I am my harshest critic. I think everyone is their own harshest critic in their own way. Just a little while ago, I went out and auditioned for one of the vocal solos that will be featured in this season of the Washington Metropolitan Gamer Symphony Orchestra. One of the reasons that I didn’t get this blog post up earlier today is because I was devoting a lot of brain space to pondering how I was going to really approach it.

See, I don’t often go out for solos or things like that. I’m not terribly confident in my vocal abilities. In my mind, I’m more of a choir member than any sort of soloist. I can blend in vocally. The idea of standing out is uncomfortable for me. Prior to the audition, I was chatting with all kinds of people who asked me if I felt ready. My response? “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” It was true, of course. I was prepared without stressing myself out about it.

While I do have an outgoing personality, there’s always this part of me that worries about being too outgoing. I don’t want to stand out too much or make too many waves. Perhaps some of it has to do with my own brand of social awkwardness. Perhaps interacting with kids growing up sort of nudged me in this particular direction. Who knows? Get me talking about something I’m passionate about? I’m more than happy to make my opinion known.

This year, as a part of my efforts to be the best Tegan I can be, I’ve decided to try things that I’d otherwise shy away from. I’m going to go to concerts and that sort of thing by myself even though I’m not terribly fond of doing so. I decided to audition for one of the solos. If I’m going to tell people to step outside of their comfort zones, I need to be willing to do so myself.

Nothing Ventured

Up until I left the house this evening, I kept considering telling them that I’d decided not to audition after all. There was still time. I could totally back out and it would still be cool. I just had to keep reminding myself that I’d never get the solo if I didn’t try. So, I gave myself a sort of pep talk and headed out into the rain.

The audition went fine. Sure, I stumbled and I’m not great at singing a cappella. I gave it my best shot, was satisfied with the results, and walked out of the room with my head held high. Sure, I then pulled my coat on and kicked myself a bit on the way to the car because of course there were things I could have done better. At the end of the day, though, I’m not as bothered by that. I’m happy that I did it. I’m happy that I tried.

As Glenn Yarbrough sang in the Rankin/Bass take on The Return of the King, “It’s so easy not to try.”

It’s easy to be complacent and comfortable. It’s easy to remain in the places that you’re used to. It’s extraordinarily difficult to strike out and do something different. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You absolutely should.

Challenge yourself. You might accomplish great things. You might crash and burn. All I know is that you’ll probably regret never making the attempt.