I want to be a bad singer.

I aspire to being a bad singer. Well, okay, not really. But I am amazed and inspired by people who, knowing they have imperfect voices, still have the courage to stand before a group, or even a crowd, of people and sing. Just because it makes them feel good, or because it helps the singer say something that they couldn’t say any other way.

I’ve seen it, and a few fortunate times, heard it, done before. People who have more raw emotion than raw talent, and don’t care because they know it’s the feeling that matters. I’ve heard voices crack and notes fall flat and loved them all the more for their humanity, their frailty. But I lack that courage myself. There are some people who can present their self-deprecating weaknesses in such a way that they’re turned to strengths. And they can make it seem effortless. I suppose it’s just a simple matter of having a courage that I, so far, lack.

I guess what makes me realize all of this is that there was a time when it wasn’t true. For almost all of us, it’s childhood, free from self-consciousness, and scarring memories of mockery or failure or stage fright. I was listening to a song I did back in high school, and I liked it. But it was a demo and I never finished it, and I realized today that I probably never could, now. I want to be able to put some part of myself out there, with the courage and conviction that no one else’s response to it matters.

They say all kids have perfect pitch. Maybe they just sound like they do, because they’re not afraid to sing.