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My first time singing on stage is something I will never forget.

The drummer is warming up, and a sound check is being done. I sit at a table in the corner and down two shots of Ouzo and chase it with a Busch Light, all within the span of about 10 minutes. I am scared to death. It will soon be time for me to take the stage and I am feeling very nervous, and want nothing more than to throw up and run as far away as I can, as fast as possible. I have never felt anything remotely like this before in my life, and I hate it. Especially the way that my brain is assulting me with negative and fearful questions.

What If I DO throw up?

What if I forget the words to Whitesnake’s “Still of the Night”?

What if I trip over a mic cord and fall off the stage and into the crowd?

What if they hate me?

What if they boo me?

What the hell am I going to do with my hands?

What if my boobs pop out of my too-tight shirt?

I am called up on stage to do my own mic check. As I say “Check 1….2…3.” I can see the people looking over their shoulder to see who is testing the microphone. I really want to run away now. What made me think I could do this anywhere else but in a garage? Holding my microphone I can feel it slipping in my hands. My palms are soaked, and I can feel the sweat from underneath my arms slide down my sides under my shirt. I am again tormented by a new question. What if the mic slips out of my hands and onto the dance floor below me? Indeed... I want to run again, even more so than before. As I stand there, the lights are dimmed and the keyboardist shouts out a welcome to all who have attended. Here we go. I take a deep breath, run to the side of the stage and whisper to my husband to go get two more shots of Ouzo and set them at the foot of the stage.

The first song is Bush’s “Machine Head”. As they start to play, I can feel my heart wanting to beat out of my chest and am visibly shaking. I must have looked quite ill because the bassist asked if I was going to pass out or something. I shook my head and managed a weak smile. Waiting for my cue, I try and look out into the crowd but find that I cannot see them very well because of all the lights shining in my eyes. I am grateful for that.

As I begin to sing, I start to feel a bit better. Pretending I am back in the garage, just messing around with my friends helps alot. It is pretty easy to do since the lights are semi-blinding. By the time I get to the second chorus I know I am in my element, and feeling higher than any drug has ever gotten me, and already know I want to feel this way always. I can see the people dancing and hear some whistles. I can't believe I am doing this. I am actually doing this! I even manage to hear someone shout "Damn! That chick can ROCK!" between songs. No sweeter words have ever been heard. I want to find out who said this and kiss them up. Now, I am pumped. I continue to belt out the songs, and even manage to dance a little bit. I flip my long hair to the music, and point and wink to various audience members as I sing. It helps a lot that the glare of the lights make it hard to see if they are looking back at me.

I made it through the set without one mistake, and when the crowd erupted with screams and applause, I feel as if I could float above them from sheer joy. I turn around and look at my bandmates. They are all smiling ear to ear, looking like a group of cheshire cats who have found the biggest mouse on the block. My friends and my husband all come up and tell me I blew the roof off the joint. One of my best girlfriends was even crying, telling me she knew I was a good singer, but had never imagined that I was, as she put it, "record label good". I couldn't believe I actually did it! I am still shaking, but not as badly as before I began. To this day I still feel the same way before a performance. Every time feels like the first time. I still need a standard two shots of someting strong, and a beer chaser. It has never gotten any easier. But the best thing is the high I get from performing only continues to get more intense each time I do it, unlike actual drugs, which seem to lose potency with continued use.

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