These pictures were taken a few years ago but they capture my brother’s personality, so I am posting them today on his 48th birthday. A kid at heart, my brother is always in for having a good time. He loves his nieces and nephews, and has always encouraged me.
There was a particular incident for which I will always be grateful to him. I had always wanted to sing, yet I struggled with extreme performance anxiety. My brother knew this more than anybody. One day, he called me on the phone and said, “I’m on my way over with some music for you to learn. You have two hours, then we are going into the studio to record it.” Although I was excited, I was also terrified. I had never sung in a studio, much less a song I didn’t even know. Shock was my overriding emotion, yet I was secretly grateful my brother was pushing me in this way. I knew he wasn’t going to take no for an answer, so I learned the song.
Panic set in when we arrived at the studio. When it was time for me to lay down a vocal track, I froze. As I looked at the engineer through the glass, my vocal chords constricted, my breathing became shallow, and my body began to tremor. My brother was determined not to let the fear stop me from doing what he knew I really wanted to do. He stepped into the vocal booth, grabbed my face and turned it away from the glass so I could look directly at him. He told me to look at him and nothing else. He said to watch him, and do what he did.
To somebody who doesn’t experience performance anxiety to this degree, it might have seemed like overkill, but it was just what I needed. I blocked everything else out and was able to get through the first song. By the time we completed the CD, I was actually having fun in the studio. I owe my ability to cope with my performance anxiety to my brother. I still struggle with it, yet I am willing to do it. If he had not insisted I go into the studio that day, I may have never stepped out into doing open mic nights, singing in coffee houses and churches, and simply doing something I love.
Happy Birthday to my brother! What a gift he’s been to me!