Tag Archives: Music

Happy Anniversary: We Embarrass Ourselves In Song

Did you guys know that today is our blog anniversary?

Well, not today, specifically, but around this time. Ok fine, it was last week and we missed it. We forgot. We’re sorry. We’re busy people!

Anyway, to celebrate one year of sharing all of our embarrassments in this public forum (which, by the way, has meant a great deal to us), here are more embarrassments for you, the public, to consume.

Jana: As a high schooler, I took voice lessons. I took them SERIOUSLY, too, because I believed that I was a talented singer, as evidenced by the accolades I’d received for my starring role in “Peter Pan” in eighth grade, if not by the fact that I’d never been given a solo or been admitted into any select singing groups since entering high school (not because I didn’t audition, guys). This, I believed, was a great injustice; my cross to bear. My parents and voice teacher agreed with me.

My voice teacher was (and is) a wonderful woman who gave voice and piano lessons in her living room. Once a week, I stood there and sang various scales and “On My Own” from Les Mis and felt like – NO ONE KNOWS, but I am Very Talented. Sometimes the kid who had a lesson after me would overhear the end of whatever I was singing, and tell me I had “a nice voice!” as I exited the house. I lived for those moments.

Once a year, in the spring, my teacher held a recital. I participated in all of them, but the one that I want to talk about occurred in the spring of my final year as a voice student, and as a high school student, and as a legal child. That’s right: I was eighteen. A full five to ten years older than every other recital participant, whose ages ranged from about six to about sixth grade. I WAS THE OLDEST ONE.

My teacher’s son, who was in maaaybe 5th grade, had put together a band for this recital, and they had all learned to play Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated,” which was a big hit that year. Would I be the vocalist? My teacher asked me. YES, I SAID. I said yes. I have no idea why I said yes to this. I just said yes, and went to one rehearsal, and then showed up at the UU church on a Saturday afternoon to sing lead vocals to Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” against a backing band of fifth graders.

And, I invited friends.

That’s right, two of my best friends were there. They heard me belt out “why you gotta go and make things so complicated? I see the way you actin like you’re somebody else gets me frustrated…” while wearing a floor length black skirt and a purple cardigan from Weathervane. Listen: they saw me. People saw me. I WAS EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD.

That’s all. Happy Anniversary! Here’s to another full year’s worth of horrible memories.

We hate ourselves.

Catherine: I love this. I obviously just fucking love this. And you idiots are lucky I let Jana post that picture of us. It’s a real doozy.

Dear readers, I am going to share with you a brief tale from my own singing misadventures. As you may recall I went to Catholic Lithuanian Heritage Camp (if you’re just joining us… that happened.) Every year there was a Talent Night that people would be all shy about being into, but then be really into it, but not like, SHOW that they were into it. There were a lot of repressed feelings is what I’m saying.

One year I had sang “Somewhere Out There” for the “audition” (nobody got turned down, ever, so it was just a rouse) and afterwards I was bullied by the camp bully to SING IT FOR HER. She had heard someone say I sang well and she THREATENED ME TO SING in a VERY SCARY WAY outside by the fire pit during free time before swimming. Terrified, I obliged. This was the same bully who later stole my disposable camera. When I told a counselor about it, she was confronted, at which point she claimed that the last name written on the camera in Sharpie – my distinctive Lithuanian last name – was her cousin’s last name and they had given her the camera. These were lies, people, and when I developed my film there were about five pictures she took of herself, selfies. I digress.

Flash forward a year, I had come to camp prepared. I had spent hours on AOL searching for the song lyrics to all my favorite songs – Alanis, Natalie Imbruglia, Jewel – the ladies of the 90s. This was all in preparation for that year’s talent night, because I was an artist, and that meant having my act together. Feeling wise beyond my years at 15, I settled on singing a Belle and Sebastian song, because I was different, see. I wasn’t going to sing “On My Own” (as someone always did, out of tune, and with a little bit too much fervor.) I was going to sing a song that spoke to me, that expressed my deep, deep feelings, and my immense ┬ámaturity. I was going to sing, “Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying.” So sing I did, a capella, to a crowd of people who DIDN’T KNOW THE FUCK WAS GOING ON. As I started the refrain – I shit you not – an immense thunderstorm started and the lights went out for a moment. Should I keep singing? Everyone was suddenly chattering to themselves, startled, and looking out the windows. I powered through because I was an ARTIST and this song was REALLY IMPORTANT. I fell asleep in my cabin that night with my discman on, listening to Miss Saigon, thinking about how nobody understood me (this wasn’t in fact a particularly unique truth, but it was certainly the case.)

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