Jahlieh Gardipee (after singing the National Anthem for 13,700 people at the NBA Milwaukee Bucks game):
I have always been a perfectionist. So much so, that I rarely try something unless I know I'll excel. This intense fear of imperfection has hindered me from taking risks, trying new things, and ultimately sheltered me from many opportunities. After December 9th, however, not anymore.
A friend suggested that I audition to sing the National Anthem for the Milwaukee Bucks. I hemmed and hawed at the thought, terrified that I wouldn't be chosen. I had to do a lot of self talk (and many conversations with Amber Nicole at lessons) about overcoming the fear of NOT being selected. I auditioned, and I was selected. Whew.
Three days before the game, I got really sick. UGH! I pulled out all of the magic tricks to rid myself of this virus, but it proved it needed to run its course; thankfully, because it was this virus that ended up changing my mindset totally.
The day of the performance, I woke up with very limited voice. I panicked, thinking I'd have to cancel and miss this opportunity. After meeting with Amber Nicole that morning, merely 7 hours prior to sound check, I was able to sing, but not perfectly.
Due to my illness, I knew this performance wasn't going to be my best. I accepted that, and decided to go out there and have some fun. As I confidently approached the nose of the buck logo on the court, I took one last deep breath, inhaling the energy of the room and began singing. I slowed my tempo. I felt every note. I told a story with every phrase. I soared on the "land of the free," and landed with an unexpected trill on "the home of the brave."
In the end, my performance wasn't "perfect" by some people's definitions, nor will any performance ever be; however, having my friends and family there, singing our nation's anthem, and relishing in my passion for singing felt pretty darn close.