My mother was an elementary school counselor and very tuned in to feelings and emotions. And it was very important to her that I grow up to be a strong, confident woman. So sometimes, when I probably just needed the truth, she would lie…
“Yes – I think you’re a great dancer.”
“No – your calves are definitely not big.”
“Honey – I don’t think your butt crack is abnormally high! Where would you even get that idea?”
At some point or another I would eventually learn the truth. But usually not until much later than I should have. It wasn’t until college that Brooke Menduni clued me in that I absolutely could not dance – even when drunk. (Thank you, Brooke!)
It wasn’t until we had a “Who has the Biggest Calves” competition at a family reunion (we’re Greek) that I realized just how HUGE they really were (I came in third place).
And it wasn’t until I was nearly married that I discovered that I really do have an abnormally high butt crack – hanging out of every skirt, bathing suit, pair of pants that I have ever worn. Seriously – it starts at my shoulders.
But this isn’t about my high butt crack. Or my calves or my lack of dancing ability.
This lie was major. So big, that I really and truly believed it – and told other people – until I was way too old to still be believing it.
I am a terrible singer. It’s even worse than my dancing. I’m so bad, that I don’t even know if other people can sing. I am 100% tone deaf. Even when watching American Idol, I don’t know if someone is good or bad until the judges tell me so. And if I try to guess at their talent level, I always guess wrong.
Anyways, when I was in 5th grade, I didn’t know that I couldn’t sing. In fact, I just assumed that I could. There was an open talent show for all 5th graders. No tryouts or anything. Just sign up and you’re in. So I (of course!) decided to sing a solo - ”I Believe the Children are our Future” by Whitney Houston. I signed up. I practiced. I was ready.
A few days before the talent show I did a full rehearsal for my mom. I used a wooden spoon for a microphone, and I belted out my song. And then I waited for my mom to sing my praises.
And she did. She said I had a beautiful voice. She said I sounded just like Whitney Houston – only better. And then she said,
“Oh no. I totally forgot. You can’t do the talent show.
There’s a very rare gene that runs in our family. I have it, your grandma has it, your great-grandma has it. There’s something in our voices that doesn’t work with microphone technology. In fact, when we sing into a microphone, this rare gene reacts with the microphone and makes our voices sound awful.
We’re hoping that microphone technology will improve enough to work with voices like ours soon – but for now, we can never, ever sing in public.
In the meantime, we’ll have to just sing privately at home and try to stay up-to-date on the latest microphone research.”
And I totally believed her. I told all of my friends about my rare voice gene. I never sang in public again. And it wasn’t until I told Even Steven about my rare gene, that he helped me realize that my mother lied to me!