Social Anxiety Is Not the Boss of Me: I sang at my best friend’s wedding!

SPEAK MOSTLY TO JULIE AND CHANTA.
SLOW. BREATHE. CHILL.
EVERYONE GETS NERVOUS.
DO THIS FOR JULIE.
MIC FOLLOWS MOUTH.

Those were the first notes I wrote to myself at the top of my maid-of-honour speech for my best friend Julie’s wedding in July 2019.

Me and the beautiful bride before the ceremony. Thank you, Julie, for letting me share these photos and details of your special day!!! Photo by MP Photography

The speech started as most do:

Hi everyone, I’m Sadie, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting most of you before the last couple of days, but I have had the great privilege of being Julie’s best friend since we were 4 years old [… ] I really wanted to do something crazy and creative for this speech, but I thought I’d probably be too nervous. And I was right. So we’ll keep it sweet and simple.

Except that last part was a big fat lie.

Because for some reason, a few weeks before the wedding, I had decided that I was going to:

  1. write a wedding-themed parody of the song You’re Welcome from Disney’s Moana,
  2. not tell this to anyone who would be at the wedding, except the DJ, and
  3. sing my speech to Julie in front of the 120-odd guests.

Me.

The girl who was diagnosed with severe social anxiety disorder in 2018.

So… why?

A few reasons:

  1. I love to write, especially funny-creative things like parodies and limericks.
  2. When I was researching ideas for maid-of-honour speeches, I stumbled across a few great examples of song parodies on YouTube, like this one, and they super inspired me to go all out.
  3. Julie has always been extremely supportive and encouraging about my writing, so I thought she would find it extra special if I wrote something for her.
  4. I thought it would make people laugh, which is another thing I find really validating.
  5. I was about a year into my social anxiety recovery and feeling a little adventurous.
  6. I heard a quote somewhere once about becoming a person who speaks even when their voice is shaking. I want to be like that.
  7. Mostly I just thought (hoped) Julie would love it, if I could pull it off.

Anyway, I got to the end of the intro part of my speech — which was the decoy “speaking part,” although it still had lots of true stuff in it about how amazing Julie is — and started my sneaky transition into the song:

BREATHE AND SLOW
[…] I thought it would be fitting to end by thanking Chanta for being such a wonderful partner to a woman who means the world to me.

BREATHE AND BE PLAYFUL
But theeen, I thought about it again, and I realized that what I actually want to say to the new husband of my dearest friend is… You’re Welcome.

And then, the next cue in my notes was this:

“MUSIC STARTS. BREATHE. YOU GOT THIS.”

Except the music that started playing through the speakers was wrong.

I had sent the DJ the instrumental (aka no singing by Dwayne Johnson) version of the song… and I had rehearsed and rehearsed the perfect time to start singing.

But then… when I was about to start singing… The Rock’s voice started singing Maui’s lyrics.

I asked the DJ if we had the instrumental.

He tried again…

The Rock’s voice rang out once more. I cannot compete with Maui, shapeshifter, demigod of the wind and sea, hero to men (and women).

So… yeah.

I did it a cappella.

My croon face. Photo by MP Photography

Because there was NO WAY I was not singing my song for Julie.

And you know what?

IT WENT REALLY, REALLY WELL.

I was shaking and nervous, though somewhat helped by my pre-song glass-and-a-half of wine. (I am wary of using alcohol as a crutch but… look, I was about to sing in front of 120 mostly-strangers and I did not want my jaw to be rattling and my face to be twitching the whole time the way they were during the ceremony.)

THE POINT IS — I DID IT.

She liked it 🙂 🙂 🙂 Edited to add: Julie read this and instructed me to change “liked” to “loved” hehe xoxo | Photo by MP Photography

This experience reinforced an important truth:

Social anxiety

is not

a personality trait.

There are plenty of people without social anxiety who would never even want to sing a parody they’d written in front of a crowd. It’s just not something everyone would have an interest in doing.

But I did. Performing, writing, singing, sharing my work — these are all things that, puzzlingly, I enjoy and crave.

Social anxiety has been the barrier to all those forms of expression… until I started tearing that barrier down.

Social anxiety CAN get better.

I always thought recovery meant no longer feeling afraid. But I’ve come to accept that it might look more like feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

What if instead of wasting our energy trying to stifle our fears and condemn ourselves for them, we put our energy into doing the things we want to do… while scared?

I know it’s harder than it sounds (believe me), and some days it will just be too much.

But it is possible, and it gets easier.

If we can learn to sing even when our voices are shaking, we can take our power back from social anxiety.

If we can learn to sing even when our voices are shaking, we can take our power back from social anxiety.

The laughing faces of Julie and Chanta were EVERYTHING I dreamed of and hoped for.
Photo by MP Photography

I wasn’t planning on ever sharing this story… but now that I’m doing this social anxiety blog, it seemed like a really good chance to talk about facing fears and rolling with the punches.

So. Long story short. Want to see the video?

BECAUSE JULIE JUST SENT ME THE VIDEO CLIP.

I have been having a bit of anxiety about sharing this now, when the world is in crisis. I don’t want to come across as tone deaf. But then I thought — maybe it’s nice to have a funny distraction, too.

So that is where my brain is at now. And also:

A note about panties

The video starts with me talking about my panties, and I feel I should explain this.

Julie’s dad had done his toast/gentle roast first, and he made some jokes about how Julie and I apparently went through a phase of being not-so-fond of panties in our youth.

So I saw it as a fun opportunity to segue from his toast and break the ice for mine.

The best man went after me and he also made a panties joke. It was perfect and hilarious.

The song itself starts around 3:19. 🙂

Aaaaand here’s the video!!!

And here are the lyrics for anyone who might be interested 🙂

I see what’s happening here
You’re face to face with greatness, and it’s Julie
You don’t even know how you feel
She’s adorable
Well it’s nice to see she’s joined your family
 
Open your eyes, let’s begin
Yes, it’s really me, her matron, breathe it in
I know she’s a lot, her hair, her eyes
She’s your Canadian paradise.
 
What can I say except you’re welcome
For this girl who makes great pies
Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay
You’re welcome
She’s just an ordinary Julie Hy
 
Hey, who has two thumbs and married his bride
And we all understand why
This Hy
As you guys get old
We know your love will only grow
She’s nuts about you, bro
 
Oh, also she’s second to none
You’re welcome
She’s cute and special and she’s fun
I know you’ll treat her so great
Ya better
Or best friend mode will activate
 
So what can I say except you’re welcome
From the Murphies and the Beaudries
There’s no need to pray it’s okay
You’re welcome
Ah, I know you’re gonna live so happily
 
You’re welcome
You’re welcome
Well, come to think of it
Sean, honestly I can go on and on
I can explain every Julie phenomenon
But my lips are sealed cause WOW
It’s too late now that you’ve said your vows
She’s the real deal
No ifs or buts
But it’s so funny when she mini-putts
What’s the lesson
What is the take-away
Don’t mess with Julie when I have to fly away
OH the love and the joy from within
We can’t wait for your life to begin
Look at our grins
Pretty soon we’ll be clappin’
Look at that beautiful bride just a tippitty-tappin’ I’m singin and rappin n dont know what’s happ’nin’
Ha, ha, hey!
 
Well, anyway let me say you’re welcome
For this woman we all love so
Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay
You’re welcome
Well, come to think of it, I gotta go
 
Hey, it’s your day to say you’re welcome
Cause I’m gonna need a drink
I’m running away, away
You’re welcome
‘Cause Sadie can do anything but sing
You’re welcome
You’re welcome
And thank you!

Wedding photo used in feature image is by MP Photography

16 thoughts on “Social Anxiety Is Not the Boss of Me: I sang at my best friend’s wedding!

  1. That was so amazing. And so very brave. I cannot imagine speaking to a group that large, never mind singing–never mind a cappella! You had the audience in the palm of your hand right from the “panties” joke! They loved it. So proud of you for having the courage to do that. And I know that Julie and Chanta were blown away by the surprise. Well done!

    Good point you made about not letting the fear stop you. As you said, the fear will probably always be there. You just have to learn how to deal with it and keep on moving forward.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!!!!! I’m still a little stunned that I was able to pull it off. And when I see Julie and Chanta reacting in the photos, it is worth every second of fear. 😊

      I forgot to mention that another key was accepting that I would not be perfect or sing like a pop star. In the past I would have held back because I couldn’t be perfect. Embracing imperfection has been a game changer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “If we can learn to sing even when our voices are shaking, we can take our power back”

    Wow 🤯

    We read “a cappella” as “crabapple”; that was an interesting visual miscalculation

    Thanks for sharing your brave video and words 💕. Very inspiring

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing, it was brave of you to do it and to put it on the internet.

    I’ve been struggling with this lately. Several years ago I was at a stage where I could give classes in synagogue and lead synagogue services, but now I find that really hard. It’s hard to push oneself to do things, so well done for doing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. Something that helped a lot was the book How To Be an Imperfectionist. I read it a couple of years ago but it continues to help. It’s not about social anxiety directly but perfectionism is a common obstacle among the socially anxious.

      Liked by 1 person

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