Monday, September 22, 2008


I'm a singer. Have I mentioned that before? I've been singing most of my life. I used to be fearless with it. I auditioned for select choir in school. I participated in regionals and allstate musical competitions. I was the singer in a band (an 80's cover rock band....a story for another day, lol!). I even auditioned at a local theater for a part in their production of "Annie". I've been in countless choirs and have taken years of voice training.
Somewhere around the time I started dealing with all my repressed crap, I stopped singing. When I finally started again, I was very much a follower and not the leader that I used to be. I've been in a small independent, accapella choir now for about 5 years. It took me a solid 2 years to really find my voice again and begin to sing with any amount of confidence. Still, a single wrong note could throw me into a tailspin. In the past year, I've really felt and seen my ability and my confidence shoot through the roof with singing. It's back to the way I used to feel. I feel fortunate that I have a gift that can be used to touch other people. I really enjoy performing. It is one of the few things in my life that I believe I do really well. It's calming for me because it requires that I relax and take deep breaths. It's the only time I feel any connection with God; when I sing hymns.
Yesterday, my group was performing at a church. There is a hymn called "Seek Ye First" which has an optional descant in it. There is another girl in the choir who generally sings this but she's been sick so they gave it to me. I've never sung it before rehearsal last week. On Sunday, the opening notes were played except they forgot to play mine so I was unsure of my starting note and I was afraid to just guess it out of thin air. I figured I'd sing the first verse with the rest of the choir and find my note on the second verse for the descant. Except I started to panic and I felt like all eyes were on me. I felt like I was ruining the song. And I started to cry. And cry, and cry, and cry. You know when you're not really crying but the tears just won't stop spilling from your eyes? It was like that.
We got through a few more songs and I was desperately trying to stop the tears and pull myself together because I knew I had a quartet coming up in which I was to sing the lead as a solo. As the opening notes are being played, another member of the choir leans into me and says "I'm going to sing the lead with you." And I just lost it. I didn't get 2 lines into the song and I had to walk away from the choir and let him sing it. Fortunately, there is a little alcove not far from where we stand to sing and I was able to go in there and have some privacy while I absolutely broke down.
I know I was upset about the way things went down that morning but my reaction was out of proportion to the events. I took some time to think it through and I realized that it triggered so many feelings of inadequacy and failure in me. And also feelings of taking the weight of the world on my shoulders. I felt completely responsible for "ruining" the first song. Well, it wasn't really "ruined"....the descant is optional. Nevermind the pianist forgot to play my note.....nevermind that I couldn't regain my footing in part because the women on each side of me were both off of them flat and one of them sharp, to boot! Still, I was able to easily accept responsibility for the comedy of errors and believe that it was all my fault.
(A quick side note of interest I type this, I'm feeling very off balance. I feel like I'm tipped steeply downward and to the left. It's very difficult to keep focus on what I'm writing asn my desk and keyboard seem off kilter to me even though I can tell that everything is perfectly aligned. This is usually some sort of disruption in the flow of body energy, perhaps being triggered by what I'm talking about?)
Anyway, I felt like I had the chance to "redeem" myself with the next song and when my choir-mate ever told me he was going to sing it with me, I felt like they no longer trusted me to carry the part by myself. A part, mind you, I've sung before and have been commended as "angelic". I was angry, humiliated, ashamed. A whole cacophony of negative emotions, all triggering me as a "FAILURE! FAILURE! FAILURE!!"
The success story of the day, though, is that I was able to almost immediately recognize that the reaction was out of line with the events. I was able to think it through and piece together what was triggered. And then I went out to lunch (and some retail therapy) with my BFF, J. I was able to discuss it with her. And I called my choir-mates when I got home to discuss it with them and tell them how I felt about what happened. So a happy ending.


Enola said...

I'm glad the ending was happy and that you recognized what happened. My choir director always reminded us that the audience has no idea what to expect, so if you miss a cue or something, don't worry about it - they audience won't know.

Someday I'm going to make it up your way to hear you sing!

Marj aka Thriver said...

I'm glad you got your gift of song back, but sorry about the "not-trusted" and "failure" triggers. I can really relate to that right now.

Thanks for the BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE entry. I'll sneak it in by hand today as I finish up the post. Thanks again!

Angel said...

Your ability to recognize that your reaction was out of proportion to the issue is a tremendous indicator of your progress.

I'm so envious of your beautiful voice! The enthusiasm is within me, but the vocal skill is not, lol.