Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Personality Test?

Someone asked me if I could sing. For her, certain people unconsciously wear these like a layer of skin, even though she realizes she could be off base in her assumptions. To her, there is something in my voice that makes her think I can sing. I laughed and barely answered her because it was at least the 2nd time but I think maybe the third time she had asked me that. So my guard is up because I figure she's waiting to catch me singing to myself, which will either confirm her suspicions or leave her slightly disappointed.

"Depends," I told her.

"On what?"

"The song."

She gave me her quizzical, I'm-on-to-you look and went her merry way. Now me? Being the analytical person that I am, I thought to myself about my answer "depends." Really, it does depend on the song. I think like most people, I'm better singing some songs than others and I can sing certain artists' songs better than some others though I am not a strong singer in the least. Vanessa Williams, a little Whitney ; I can them carry off somewhat. Mariah is too high for me. For certain if I wanted to join the church choir, I'm relatively confident I wouldn't make anyone's ears bleed.

"Depends" also refers to the person. If you ask my mother, I can sing. She was on that kick for the longest time when I was a kid. "You can sing. You ought to join the choir. If you don't use your gifts, you'll lose them." That was a risk I was willing to take because there was no way I was singing in front of a bunch of people, even if I wasn't singing alone. I have a solid love/hate relationship with attention and no matter how much the spotlight beckons, I don't rush in. I sneak up on it. It never sees me coming.

Other people on whom you can "depend" to tell you if I can sing or not include one friend from college who told me not to quit my day job - which was school at the time - and yet another college friend who heard me sing a certain song and gave me a slight look of shock as she commented, "Wow. You sing that pretty well." It was a Vanessa Williams song. I told you it depended.

Now, my analysis kicked in even harder as I thought about what singing meant. I never truly planned it this way but whether or not I let you hear me sing APPEARS to somewhat relate to how much I trust you. I say all of this cautiously lest some people reading this take this to heart and think I don't trust them. No, no. It's a mix of trust and opportunity. I can clearly remember the beginning of the time I started to trust Mr. T because I sang in front of him (and yes, he thought I should join the choir too). But the opportunity was there. We were quiet in the car and when I'm in the car - if the radio is on - I will most likely sing. I am guaranteed to sing if I am driving. Who doesn't? The shower doesn't do it for me. The car does. That's where I can sing the same song repeatedly. I don't have a CD player in my car - yet - so when I drive Mr. T's SUV, I can quickly rewind a song or a part of a CD until I get it right. But I know how to time a tape to do the same thing. I do get my song on!

No matter how many tunes I carry, I suspect there is something to the fact that I'm more drawn to the harmony of a song than the lead. If I had to do anything at this time in life, I think I'd do best as a backup singer than as the star. I harmonize with the songs on the radio. I harmonize with the church choir. I harmonize with my friends. One singing friend of mine, on our way to NC one year, played conductor in the drivers seat as she had us all find our pitches and sing whatever we were singing at the time. Another time in church, an aquaintance and I sat in successive rows, me in front of her, and sang with the choir as the deacons prepared communion. But I could hear her and she could hear me and before we knew it we were no longer trying to sing in harmony with the choir but we became our own private duet and I still remember that because it was just perfect. We don't sing the same key so I could tell she was trying to fall in time with me and she could tell I was doing the same. Together we were probably the most audible in that little area and we were having fun with it. When the song finished I looked back at her and we laughed; silently agreeing, "That was good." And it was.

Astrologists will tell you that your personality is not just about your birth sign but your rising sign too. Now don't ask me to explain this but so much because I don't understand how it all works; and don't try to make me defend being a Christian and having the nerve to mention astrology. It is my natural way to try to understand people and I am drawn to every possible way there is to figure them out. This is just one of those ways.

Anyhow, your birth sign is said to be who you are but your rising sign is the face you present to the world. They aren't necessarily the same sign and may even seem in conflict with each other. Me? I am a leader at heart but in the world, I gravitate toward harmonizing with others; not trying to stand out but trying to have us all flow together and work together toward a common goal. I know it is one of my spiritual gifts to lift others up whether it is via an encouraging word or simply supporting them administratively. I feel the conflict within myself sometimes because I do love to work with others and I do love to stand alone.

It's the face I present to the world that wins right now. You most likely won't catch me singing a darned thing unless you come to my house full of people I trust and spy on me. They don't say a thing to me. They sing with me and they dance with me and they expect me to be nothing less than my full, compulsive self where sometimes I am the lead and sometimes I am the backup. I do have the longing to let that self on the outside one day and that's part of what I love about getting older. The inner and outer self are becoming one, harmonizing with each other. But I think for now we'll keep that harmony contained within the confines of my car.

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