Or why isn't there a simple answer to a simple question?
"Are you a singer?" "Do you sing?" or the most dreaded "Are you a GOOD singer?"
One would think this is a Yes or No question but for a neurotic performer/human being such as myself, it is a very loaded question. You see, when one is surrounded by people who pride themselves on the prowess of their vocal cords, being the one whose voice merely gets them by can make someone particularly sensitive about the answer to that query.
The fact of the matter is I AM a singer. Down deep I know this. I have sung professionally. I have carried a musical or two to great effect. I have more than 20 musicals on my resume. I have been the lead singer in several bands. So what the hell is wrong with just saying "yes?"
Truthfully, I think it is because I do not trust the motivations behind the question. I think most performers are completely crazy, petty, neurotic, self-centered, validation seeking piles of goo and under all that mess they want to feel that they are good as/better than you are. If you are merely adequate and they know they are better than you – your admission of being what you are offers them the opportunity to tear you down in a vain attempt to boost their own flagging self-perception.
I have enough problems. I do not need that on top of it.
You might feel I am being paranoid but you are honest with yourselves, you KNOW you have done it yourself. Schadenfreude is a very real thing. Not just among performers. How many times have we mocked the work ethics, body shapes, hair styles, choice of life partner when what we most fear is what other people feel about our own choices?
I feel very confident in the majority of the choices that I have made in my life and so therefore I have no problems freely and openly admitting these things about myself.
Singing . . . not so much.
Someday I hope to be able to answer the questions without cringing or scanning the faces of the people around me for a reaction. Maybe I won't. Who knows. But that is my goal. So for now I get by and admit that I truly don't know my own skill level but that I plug along anyway.
But may I just say that the definition of singer is one who sings so since I am one who sings I have to admit that I am a singer. Just please don't ask me if I am a good one. The jury is still out on that.