They say that everyone has a book inside them. Not me. There’s no spy novel, sci-fi extravaganza or thriller inside me. Nothing. Nada. Nowt!
While I may not win the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, I do harbour a secret ambition – so secret that I have never revealed it to anyone, not even my mum.
I have always wanted to sing. I often picture the scene… There I am in a smoking hot velvet LBD and skyscraper heels inside Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club singing ‘Summertime’ in a sexy raspy voice to an intimate but enthusiastic audience!
Sadly I suspect it will remain a dream. I can belt out a tune when alone in the car but I’ve never had any singing lessons let alone the confidence to sing in public.
To be honest, I’ve always been a little shy. During my 30s I vividly recall being in work meetings and spotting the flaw in the argument before anyone else but not having the nerve to speak up. Then 5 minute later my colleague Danny takes the words out of my mouth and is congratulated for being so sharp. Why didn’t I speak up?
It wasn’t until my 40s that I suddenly gained some inner confidence. I took a job that required making lots of presentations in front of large audiences. Although terrified, I pushed ahead and it got easier and less terrifying.
The good news is that both my children have confidence by the bucket load.
My 12 year old son George was recently on a school trip to Italy when one of his teachers mentioned he hadn’t heard George’s winning speech from a public speaking competition. He challenged George to get up and perform the speech there and then.
While that doesn’t sound too daunting, at that very point George and his friends were in the middle of a massive ancient amphitheatre. So what did he do? He rose to the challenge, walked to the centre of the amphitheatre and began his performance.
George’s voice bellowed out, he made jokes, he was expressive.
Fortunately this was all captured on his phone and when my husband and I viewed the footage we were… well… impressed. My husband turned to me and said ‘Where does that confidence come from? I couldn’t do that…’ And nor could I.
So where does that confidence come from? Clearly as parents we have a lot of influence over our children and we always make them feel they can reach for the stars.
I’d also have to say that their training at Stagecoach Theatre Arts has helped them both hugely. It has given them the confidence to try new things, speak out, push the boundaries without fear of making a fool of themselves, and they can also make themselves heard – even in a Roman amphitheatre surrounded by tourists!
They have come a long way since starting at Stagecoach as four-year-olds. They have learned that the world is, indeed, their stage.
So maybe now is the time for me to push those boundaries too. My 50th birthday is approaching fast so why not make a ‘bucket list’ of things to do in my 50th year?
Let me see. Swimming with dolphins? No – I am sorry but those dorsal fins are far too shark-like for me to contemplate this. Bungee jump? No thank you! Cookery course? Maybe.
After much thought, my bucket list is beginning to take shape…
1. Buy smoking hot LBD
2. Buy killer heels
3. Lose 5lb to look hot in smoking hot LBD
4. Perform in front of family and friends at my ‘surprise’ birthday party.
Who knows, maybe you’ll be seeing me soon at a smoky jazz bar near you!