Spring is in the air and soon we will have Summer BBQ’s, 4th of July fireworks and picnics to fill our time. Time
passes so quickly and ever more quickly with each passing year. The passing of the seasons continue, no matter our heartbreak, no matter our loss, no matter how paralyzed we are to move forward; the world is there to let us know that life continues (even if we have decided not to).
This was how I felt back in 2011 when I was so very willing to take every pill I had in my possession. However, I discovered that I had so much more to offer. Since then, in spite of the fact that my sister’s disease, which took off on its own tangent, and to her ultimate death, propelled me into feelings of helplessness – in spite of it and because it – I discovered I had a voice (not just the obvious vocal – with song); I had a voice through my writing. Writing became my vehicle to forging my journey back to finding that girl I was before all the ‘outside’ influences of family and friends and, ultimately marriage, told that little girl who she was to be. Believing that her dreams were impractical and not what ‘normal people do…’
Before the influences of the outside, I had dreams, I had the dream of being a performer. It was no secret that something was desperately wrong with me as I struggled with my reading and writing. So much so that I was placed into the ‘special’ classes in grade school. Humiliating? That is merely an understatement – my friends saw me in those classes and mocked me, bullied me. How did I save my skin – so to speak? I lied… told a tale as to why I was in those classes; stretched the truth. I did whatever I could to survive; let’s just say I learned ‘story telling’ early. I was a wonderful little actor, but music and the arts truly saved me. Those theatre and chorus rehearsals were my refuge.
I learned that when I opened my mouth to sing, people would listen and – for that moment – all of those ‘special classes’ and my learning troubles went to the wayside and I was special (in a different and wonderful way). I had a gift. Music saved my life then and it has saved my life today, it saved me back in 1968 and again in my adulthood.
To back up… I was out my musical life style starting in the 80’s. Knowing that I couldn’t really make a living as an actor or a singer, I gave up that dream and got a ‘real’ job in Insurance (plus the fact that I was oh so tired of working 2 to 3 jobs at a time). Later, after I got married, my husband found some information at our neighbors about a local group and it was then, around the 90’s, when I started singing in an Acappella four-part harmony quartet and chorus. I sang with them for about 15 years. In about 2010 (purely by accident, mind you) I discovered this wonderful place that had Open Mic’s and was introduced to a woman who played keyboard and voilà! Our Duo was formed.
I started to slowly get back into singing solo – and, gradually I found my confidence and my voice. When a singer finds their voice, there is the obvious; but there is also their interpretation of any given song. How they see the lyrical line and the melody flow though out. There’s performing what are known as ‘covers’ that are straight. As if you are hearing the original recording. And then there are ‘covers’ that have been rearranged to suit the individual style of the vocalist. This is where my background in Accappella comes in and is where I’ve found my voice again and is what has ultimately saved me. For it is this that had given me the joy back into my life. To take a song and to rearrange it to reflect me and my style; to simply know my style and to trust that, that is a huge step for me.
Through the music, I’ve met some incredibly awesome musicians/friends. I have been thankful to have been asked to sing among these people and honored to have been given original songs to sing – wonderful songs, written by some of the greatest in the area/country. I am truly blessed and count my blessing each and every day that this is in my life that these people are in my life, each humbled to their own talents (amazing!).
It was on August 17th 2011 that I was so very close to ending my precious journey; and I am so very grateful (a thousand times grateful) for a friend that had intervened and stayed with me that night. Depression is very cunning; you don’t see it or even know you are in it. Even when you are spiraling deep into its depths, you can’t seem to grasp all that is good going on around you. You can only believe that your life is meaningless and feel that
the burdens are far too heavy to bear. It all comes on so fast – and please pardon my choice of words – but those thoughts can hit you like a bullet. Before you know it, you are so far down at the bottom of that funnel cloud that you feel there is – what looks to be – no hope of getting out.
It took me a while, well over a year in fact, but it is safe to say that I have survived. I have tried to live life the ‘normal’ way, with a boss and working for a corporation. I just simply can’t. Hence, the business of my own, which is moving along. But I have to say that if music and the arts saved me; think what it could do for other children out there and I have to ask, why is it that so many adults feel it unnecessary?
Children need to feel that feeling of ‘success’ (heck we all do, don’t we?). We should be able to excel at whatever subject it is, so much so that we just can’t wait to get to it and start working. Instead of trying to mold them to what we – society – finds ‘acceptable’; shouldn’t we instead allow them to tell us what it is they want to go for? What truly interests them and keep up the encouragement?
I don’t know; I’m not even sure that had I had the encouragement that my life would be different. I only know that I had a talent that others did not. I excelled in something that others did not and dreamed they could. As I’ve written in prior posts, we all have areas that we each excel where others don’t. We each have certain talents (be it music, gardening or knitting or cooking, or [fill in the blank]…), we all have something. What is yours? What has saved you – in school, in your marriage, your day job?
I suggest you go out and find that ‘something’ that makes you smile. You just never know how much it will impact your life. The people you will meet, the miracles you can spread. It most definitely will cause you to wake up the next morning…
“When our eyes see our hands doing the work of our hearts, the circle of Creation is completed inside us, the doors of our souls fly open and love steps forth to heal everything in sight.”
“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”
Pope John XXIII