by Maribel Steel
Once upon a time, in a land far away, I sometimes felt like a Cinderella, busy with home duties and leaving my hobbies to last. I scurried out the door once a week to sing in a choir and returned home quietly to resume motherly duties. Then one day, destiny called…
“I know this is very short notice,” said the choir director over the phone, “but do you think you could learn the lyrics of a song by tomorrow night? The lass who was supposed to sing a duet in our concert has succumbed to laryngitis.”
My brain buzzed with the thought – learn an entire song by tomorrow night?
The director persisted, “Do you think it’s possible? I don’t want to put you under pressure.”
I was delighted to have been asked, yet terrified to commit. It would be my first duet performance in public. The thought took me to the edge of my comfort zone, feeling a sudden mixture of exhilaration and fear.
“What’s the song?”
“Perhaps Love by John Denver. Do you know it?
I had heard of it but didn’t know the lyrics. I silenced the voice of fear and replied, “Easy. I’ll do it.”
The choir director recited the verses over the phone while I scribbled frantically.
It was only after the call that my fearful voice returned: you idiot! What if you fail?
All the next day, while cleaning the house, hanging out washing and cooking for the family, I sang the verses over and over again. In the evening, Cinderella arrived for Opening night to prepare back stage and to be fitted out in a cobalt-blue ball-gown and long white gloves. Choristers fussed about, wishing me the strange good luck chant, “break a leg”.
I heard the sound of audience clapping. My palms sweated in the heat of excitement – what if I forget my lines? I tried to compose my thoughts and ignore the terrible dryness creeping into my throat. I’m going to stuff up, I never should have said ‘yes’…
My singing partner stepped closer and beamed at me. “We’re on”. He gestured for permission to hold my white gloved hand and accepting his lead, we strolled to the spotlight on centre stage. we played our part, calm and relaxed, even though the sound of my rapid heart-beat was thumping wildly in my ears.
He held my hand throughout our ballad, giving me a reassuring squeeze every now and then that triggered genuine smiles between us. As I let go of my fear, I relaxed into the experience and began to feel light and happy – I was enjoying the spotlight.
Alas, our ballad was over in a flash, just as I was beginning to get comfortable and felt I could stay to sing a second song. My partner bowed and I returned my gratitude with a demure curtsey and off stage we sauntered.
Flushed with success, praises and hugs were showered towards us by the other choristers.
I was trembling with happiness. I had triumphed over fear and I knew, if asked again to sing centre-stage, I would say ‘yes’.
The moral of this story is…when we face our fears to accept the hand of destiny, we allow the experience to place us centre stage of our gifts without having to ‘break a leg’ to get there.
Maribel Steel is the mother of four, an author, blogger, inspirational speakerand peer advisor for VisionAware (AFB). She lives in Melbourne, Australia and has Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). She has been published in several print journals in Australia and has contributed over forty guest posts for overseas blogs. To learn more about her philosophy in ‘The ART of Being Blind’ visit: