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Day 17: Singin’

When I was a little girl, I used to stand in front of the mirror and watch myself sing for hours and hours on end.  I would belt out from the top of my lungs and sing away~ without a care in the world.  I would get so involved in my singing that I’d forget where I was~ troubles didn’t exist during that moment.  Feeling my small body vibrate with these songs would put me in such a happy place~ nothing, I mean, nothing could take that sensation away from me.

That only happened in the privacy of my own home~ and my mother was never bothered by my singing.  In fact, I think she loved hearing me while away the hours with those songs.

Singing with a group of children was awkward~ if I started singing along with them, I wouldn’t be able to hear them.  I couldn’t do both, sing and follow along at the same time.  So, I’d sit and listen to them~ envious that they were so free with their voice.  But, I’d sing with them in my head.

I also knew that my voice sounded different.  Not so lovely.  Not so melodic.  Nevertheless, I continued to dream that I would sing in public.  The idea of standing on a dark stage  with the limelight only shining on me as I would sing would make me smile.  I would imagine that people would say, “Oh, Amy, your voice is so unique and beautiful~ please sing more often….”

And then one day, my mother announced to me at age 12, “It’s time for you to start studying for you Bat Mitzvah.”  Suddenly, I was very aware of what that meant, “Does that mean I have to stand up there and sing~ by myself?”  Mum said that it was the way it was done.   I had this sinking feeling that all my peers would be listening to me sing~ up there~ in Hebrew.  Didn’t feel very good. My classmates from Hebrew school all had confident voices and I knew that I would sound nothing like them.  Not only that, some teasing about the way I had talked didn’t quite encourage me to want to sing.

I had always loved the sound of people praying and singing in Hebrew~ especially our cantor at the time.  He wasn’t a very big man~ but, when he was up on stage, the moment he’d open his mouth, it seemed as if had grown another foot or two.  The light would glow all around him.  He would become so lost in his voice~ you could see it as he would close his eyes and his would face become so expressive with every word that came out.  I would stare at him in awe~ jealous that he could be so comfortable singing in front of everyone and his voice would sound beyond beautiful, so heavenly.  I wanted to be him.

One of the most joyous day of my life was standing on the bimah at of my Bat Mitzvah, singing in Hebrew in front of everyone. Something magical happened that day~ caring about what people thought disappeared from my soul~ the day was mine~ it was all about me.  There is really something beautiful about singing in Hebrew~ the way the words form on my tongue, sounding so foreign yet familiar.  The words of Hebrew floated from my heart~ I had no shame, in fact, I was so proud.  It was one of the few times that I felt so proud to call myself a Jew.

Those were the days of wearing behind the ears hearing aids.

Now.  I still want to sing.  But, I’m evermore so conscious about how I sound.  I can hear myself so much better~ I’ve been told that I speak with more clarity and conciseness.  But, damn, when I’m by myself and I sing~ oh boy, I have to stop immediately and clear my throat~ ick, grarahhh, ick, gargle, gargle~ and I’ll try again, yuck.  The words come out sounding all wrong.  Scratchy~ not melodious~ definitely, not smooth and beautiful.

So, what do I do to get that good feeling back?  Unplug myself.  Yep.  Take out those processors and start singing~ loving that vibration that rumbles all over my body.  Silently singing without a worry takes me back to the very place that I so loved as a small girl~ a place where nothing matters and everything is alright.

Do you like the way you sound when you sing?  Does it make you feel warm all over like wine?


About Amy Pogrebin Bremenstuhl

Life is noisy~ in a messy way. I thought I'd try writing about surviving the hearing world every day for 365 Days.

4 responses »

  1. Beautiful! I sang alone as a child and loved to sing with a group at school. I thought my voice was great! My children loved my singing and asked me to sing to them. As an adult I know my voice is ok, usually singing most of the notes, but I’m not in love with singing like when i was a kid. Did you sing in the car with your family? Thats one of my sweetest memories. I remember how much I loved to hear my parents voices singing. Do people still sing to their children or has technology replaced people singing to their loved ones?


    • Yes, my mother and I sang often~ in the car, while camping, in the house~ that was important to her. My mother taught me most of the songs that I know today. You’re right~ it is one of the sweetest memory.

      When my child was young, I sang to her all the time~ and at one point, she loved it. Today, she tells me that I don’t sing very well and that she’d rather that I didn’t sing with her.


  2. I loved singing in the car especially to strong female ballads like something by Whitney or Mariah or Toni Braxton. Just turn up the volume and sing at the top of your lungs…I definitely do try to drown out my own voice. Now having my 3 kids in the car, they don’t appreciate my singing so much and not to those songs. But the are happy to sing “old Macdonald” and “twinkle, twinkle little star”. It’s not quite the same sensation for me…lol.
    Thank you so much for your blog. You give me so much to think about and help me understand how my littlest guy perceives the world.


    • Amy~ I, too, love to sing along with singers (that is if I *know* the song). When my child was younger, she loved any song I would sing to her~ but not anymore. She likes the “party music” much better than my singing.

      I’m glad to know that I’m helping you understand your son~ feel free to ask me anything, anytime!




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