I wear my headphones for the entire walk from here to the theatre, and from there back to the apartment. This week i’ve been singing the whole way there: Pinkerton, Garbage, Return of Saturn, Jagged Little Pill. I investigate each record in thirty minute intervals, picking apart the melodies in high-definition sound and finding their places in my own range. Rivers comes out strained in chest voice, i solidly match Shirley’s alto, Gwen brings me up to falsetto or down to my lower register, and Alanis tends to hover over my break point. I cannot keep my voice inside my chest.
I never really try to imagine myself from outside. I suppose it’s a problem i have … why there is such a disparity between my interior image and what i actually allow people to see and hear. Today walking home at midnight belting out “you’ve already won me over, in spite of me” i finally stopped for just a second to think about the picture. The image. My whole frame dwarfed by my round black earphones, shrinking me even farther away from my twenty earned years, swinging my arms and stretching my baritone voice, planting one foot in front of the other. I draw stares from plain pedestrians and pretentious Penn kids alike.
I hardly ever picture what i look and sound like, even when i’m doing the most outrageous of things. Last night i caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror in the middle of “Like a Virgin” or “Material Girl,” and – suddenly – my voice matched up with that writhing image of me as if audio had just been synced up to a projected movie. I had to stop singing for a moment so as not to cry. The boy i was looking at wasn’t at all the one i felt i was being at the time.
I really don’t mean to be any of this at all.