YK’s 365 Release: Day 8

I discovered I cannot sing because of ABBA.

Once in my childhood, my older sister Euny, the default baby sitter (see Day 6), had Kate (my younger sister) and me sing and dance to ABBA songs. One such song was “Take a Chance”. Euny loved ABBA, so we had to love ABBA. (I’m glad she didn’t like Vanilla Ice).

She assigned us vocals and choreographed dance moves to go with the song. When it was my part to sing and dance, I belted out my words. In my head it was pitch perfect. When it came out, it actually materialized as all the same note. So it sounded like I was yelling a string of words, not singing them.

No one would have noticed if my sister, the brilliant genius, hadn’t assigned us harmonized parts. She was complex and serious in her staging of this 3-sister act. This meant we all had to sing our notes correctly for the effect to be achieved. And that wasn’t working with my single note singing. I believe she improvised and said, “You can’t sing, so just dance.” So that is what I did. I’m sure we have a home video of it somewhere.

So there it was. I sing one note all the time. I can’t sing.

Not too long ago, I was kid-sitting for a friend. Her daughter, a precocious and highly intelligent, multi-talented girl, was used to being sung to before bed. She called me up to her bunk and asked me to sing a song for her as she fell asleep. She said she and her mother usually sang Alicia Keys songs. Imagine me at this moment.

Her favorite song of the moment was “Superwoman” and she started singing it consummately to encourage me to join in. I said, “Oh, I don’t sing and I don’t know all of the words.” Being a sensitive and placating child, she made an offer, “Make up a song.” Oh boy. So I reluctantly started singing a song I made up that went something like, “It’s time to go to sleep right now because it’s late and you’re going to get in trouble if you stay up.” Again, imagine me, single note person, singing this to a little girl who is used to her pitch-perfect mother singing to her every night.

She looked at me with a slightly confused face and said, “Okay, never mind just read with me.” And I laughed.

I laugh at myself frequently because of this, and I accept that I am not a master of all things. Precisely because I cannot sing, I have even more reverence for the beautiful voices of so many musicians around me, which brings me to today’s release.

I have a mini digital recorder. The kind one uses to record lectures, or to-do lists. It’s not fancy, but it’s compact and handy.  I am giving it to one of my singer friends. Though she will most likely not use it to sing into, it will indubitably be used to record her voice somehow, whether a shopping list or a journal entry. Her singing voice is of course astounding, but her normal everyday speaking voice also sounds like a melody, so even her reciting groceries can sounds like a poetic song.

So on Day 8 of my 365 Release practice, I am letting go of something to enable it to find more beauty in the hands of another.

NOTE: Thank you everyone, for your comments and messages. I truly love that you are here with me. Some have asked if they can get an email version sent daily. At the moment, the only way to get a daily reminder/update is through RSS Feed. Otherwise, you can visit http://www.ykhong.com/yksjourney daily to get the day’s updated post. I will always try to post by 9:30-10am EST of each day. Love.


[I created the 365 Release Project to practice non-attachment, letting go and change by giving away 1 thing a day for 1 year. The background, vision and guidelines to the 365 RELEASE project are here. The running list of everything I have released is here.]

6 responses to “YK’s 365 Release: Day 8”

  1. richard says:

    HAHAHAHA!! omg, that little girl’s response had me do a serious belly laugh!!

    my auntie would sing to me and my sister at night when she visited, even though my mom and dad insisted she couldn’t sing. i don’t think we could tell. she was the only one who sang lullabies to us and we loved it 🙂

  2. angel says:

    I think this is SO BEAUTIFUL! This gives me a lot to learn and think about. Maybe even practice…

  3. stephanie says:

    OMG!! this is amazing! what really gets me is the honesty in all of it…and the beautiful acceptance on all sides. i have a friend who is completely tone deaf, but loves to sing. he just loves music…period! and he was discouraged as a child from singing. everyone told him he had a horrible voice. but i never minded it because it was so pure. i knew he was off pitch but it was the love i heard…so sweet. i can just see you pouring your entire self into those ABBA songs!! being big and loud. incredible. you’ve definitely found your expression. no one would argue that you are present and with a voice. thank you so much for letting me be a part of this!

  4. YK Hong says:

    stephanie: i’m so happy you are in my life. thank you.

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