It is 2013. | Keep Singing!
It is December, 2013.
I am in Brooklyn, NY, at the Barclays Center.
HERE'S WHAT I KNOW IN THIS MOMENT.
It's been one year and four months since I started my job with the Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets. These are my last few days before I leave the company. On this day, I am filming a feature on the band MGMT. Since their management did not give us access to interview the band, we had to get creative and decided to do a clip on their cowbell. Don't ask. I am 26 years old.
I am also filming a segment called The BCTV Ticket.
As I usually get before making a change, I am contemplative. I walk onto the herringbone court - the only one in the NBA - and am reminded of the countless interviews and stand-ups I've done during Brooklyn Nets games. A few come to mind. Larry King. Because he's one of my heroes. John Legend. Because his then fiancee Chrissy Teigen would not give him permission to start our interview until he removed his puffy jacket. It had something to do with him not looking his best on camera. Fabolous. Because he thought I was cool. He let me call him Fab. The moment I saw Charlie Rose walking on our Concourse and I got weak in the knees. There were so many memories had. I thought, I am going to miss this place and mostly, the people who had become my family. But I quickly erased that thought. I've moved many times before. Left countless friends before. This was child's play. Man up, Alyonka!
As I move about the court, my Boss and I decide to film the BCTV Ticket in the center of the court. That's when I see a microphone. I had mentioned in passing that before there was broadcasting, and hosting, and social media reporting. Before there was TSN, and CBC, and HBO, and NHL, and PensTV, and BCTV. Before the career that I held on to in my 20's. There was singing. I walk to the mic laying on the stats table and I look to my boss-man. He knows. Looks away and pretends like he doesn't see. Technically, I'm not supposed to do this. This might piss people off. But, I'm leaving anyways. So does it really matter?
I pick up the mic and think back to the last time I held one of these.
It was in the fall of 2007, in Los Angeles, California, minutes before I was cut from Season 7 of American Idol's Top 100. I walked off the stage and figured it was my song choice. I sang Nine Inch Nails cover of 'Hurt'.
I would later run into Simon Cowell at a restaurant in LA. He will remember me as "the Russian sister" and will suggest that I try out again.
HERE'S WHAT I DON'T KNOW IN THIS MOMENT.
I knew I was fearful of singing again but I didn't know why. So I began to sing anyways. My favorite song to sing. The first song I sang in front of a large audience, back in 1997. tens, tens, tens. Are you seeing a pattern here? Things come in tens. I sang for ten years and when it didn't evolve into something - I moved on. I worked in production for ten years and when I hit a wall - I moved on. Of course, this leaves room for contemplation. Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. Maybe I'm not good at anything I put my hands on. But that doubt only breeds more doubt which creates negative self-talk and doesn't lead me anywhere. Awareness. I don't have it then, but I have it now.
There's a strange thing that happens when you've been rejected on many occasions. There's a sort of numbness that occurs. Subsequent rejections just don't hurt as much, if at all. In fact, they don't even really register. Over time they become a distant memory. This can result in a sort of resentment for that which got you there in the first place. For me it was obviously singing and I resented it AND myself for deceiving my mind to think that I could be somebody. So I did what I do best, I left it. Like I leave anything that hurts me. I leave before they leave me.
Hindsight is a remarkable thing. Knowing what I know now would have served me greatly. But I didn't know it then. So I can't change the past. But I can change the present for a better future. I've been running for a long time. From passions. From careers. From friends. From family. From emotionally-AVAILable men. And most detrimental of all - from myself. ALWAYS because of fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of getting hurt. Fear of making an attachment. Fear of not being good enough. fear. fear. fear. fear. FEAR DEFINED ME.
I've stopped running. I am facing my fears - one story at a time. Take it from me: it is less painful (and less exhausting) than running. Keep singing!