I was never big into karaoke growing up. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a single karaoke lounge in rural South Carolina anyway, but even if there were I probably wouldn’t have gone. I’m not a really awesome singer, so I just didn’t understand why I would want to sing in front of people if I couldn’t do it perfectly.
It wouldn’t be until one fateful night in New York City that I would wander into a karaoke bar for a friend’s party and discover what I’d been missing. All the songs, all the terrible renditions, all the amazing renditions, the tequila, and the way that everyone sings along to “Don’t Stop Believin’” even if it is the most cliche song to pick. I’m no karaoke pro at this point–actually, I’m pretty average and I’m okay with remaining that way. But the last time I went to karaoke with my roommates (at The Mint, hollaaaa) I was looking around at the audience as some guy was rapping and I was just like, Why isn’t my life like this all the time?
I realize this sounds a little ridiculous, but there are some serious life lessons to be learned at karaoke:
* It’s never as bad as you think it is.
Karaoke: After the last time I went to karaoke, I looked through my snapchats to find a video of myself singing “Sk8er Boi” by Avril Lavigne. Up until that point, I’d never, ever seen myself sing. And you know what? I’m actually not that bad. I bopped around the stage quite adorably and was able to carry a tune.
Life: This is always a great little reminder, because it’s easy to feel like the center of the universe and that one wrong thing is going to make everything crash and burst into flames. By all means, feel emotions and get it out–I probably call my parents crying about something every other week, so no judgement–but then take a deep breath and remember that life will go on, no matter what it is that’s troubling you.
* No one likes a hater.
Karaoke: There will always be someone who gets up at karaoke and is quite possibly the most tone-deaf person to ever grace a stage. But good for them! Seriously, getting in front of a crowd is scary by itself, but then add singing, and it’s one of the most terrifying things ever. There is a very vulnerable person right in front of you, so be awesome, sing along, dance, and cheer for them.
Life: There’s a difference between constructive criticism and malicious comments or actions. Don’t be a turd.
* Always have a go-to.
Karaoke: You should have a song you can choose that’s just right for you. For the nights when I just don’t feel like flipping through the big-ass song book or when I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, I have a few songs that I can just whip out, nbd.
Life: Having a go-to is appropriate for so many things, like a signature drink–classy!–or a meal you can whip up from three simple ingredients–thrifty! Most importantly, though, it’s having a base of folks who are always there and will always treat you right. Think, the gang from How I Met Your Mother and how they basically always hang out with each other at the same bar. They are each others’ go-to.
* Do whatever makes you happy.
Karaoke: When choosing my song, do I care if someone doesn’t like any of the songs that Taylor Swift sings, ever? The answer, my friends, is a big, fat no. I sing whatever song I want to sing because it’s my damn turn to sing whatever I damn well please for karaoke. (Also, “Our Song” is really great.)
Life: This one sort of goes without saying, but obviously don’t do something if it makes you totally miserable. You have a plethora of options, and don’t allow yourself to believe otherwise.
* Confidence goes a long way.
Karaoke: This is not about skill level, people. It’s about having the guts to go up and sing a song in front of a bunch of other people. If you don’t think you have the guts, for a minute pretend that you do, and you’ll fool everyone. By pretending to be brave, you’ve discovered you in fact are, and in a very Yoda-like revelation, you will realize, “Brave I am actually.”
Life: One saying that I’ve sort of adopted for my life right now is “Fake it till you make it.” I’m not really sure what I want to be doing for the rest of my life, but I can totally fool you all into thinking I do! No seriously, though, take charge and just be the person that you want to be. You’ll eventually grow into it, or learn something wonderful from it.