Why I never became a singer


My parents thought a girl should dance. And play the piano. And learn to draw.

They had a very precise notion of what a girl should. And even a more precise one about what a girl shouldn’t.

I never liked my dancing classes as a child. I experienced them as humiliating. Funnily enough, I always had to pee during my ballet classes. And my Russian teacher would never let me out.

One day, it was in March and I was 6 years old, I peed my pants. I peed my pants and continued dancing, in my pink dancing suit. A little princess.

Later, I was always late for the dancing classes. After school I would hang out at the central station drinking, smoking, sniffing, having sex. All of which prevented me from being on time. But surprisingly, I was good, I was really good and it reminded me of how much I was not a dancer.

In fact I always pictured myself singing, next to my elderly father on that very big stage. This fantasy seemed like something forgiving, like if I would become a singer, I would stop being a sinner. I would be like my father. I would be with my father.

I always wanted to escape Luxembourg. I think escaping abroad is what a pathetic soul like mine is longing for. By the time I was 14 he disgraced me, he didn’t want me to ever sing in his presence. He told me I am not singing properly.

Still I came to his lessons, and he, he would accuse me of drinking and smoking and hanging around in the cold winter air until late. He said, he could hear it through my voice. My voice became a traitor.

So I left Luxembourg, and became a dancer. But soon I came back to what I knew. Dancing always reminded me of my gender, of sex, of being less, being a woman. Dancing is creating objects out of people. At home after hours of training, I would remember how I felt when I was singing. Singing would take me to a place where I would become someone, myself, I guess. I felt I was.

One of my earliest memories, is being told to shut up. My mother pressing her hands on my lips, forcing me to become silent. I remember this now, everytime I hear children.

Years passed and I never gave up singing. I never gave up searching for my own voice. But everytime I would, I heard it over and over again in my head: You are not enough, you are not enough, you are not enough. As time passed the voice in my head became louder, and suddenly it was not only his voice but the many voices of men I knew: You are not enough.

I am going to leave this place, singing.