Digging up old stuff

While looking for something in my documents folder this afternoon, I found this.  I don’t remember why I was writing it, but I was fascinated by the glimpse of myself as I saw me that day – according to the last date stamp, October 8, 2012.  I didn’t change a single thing – any typos or weird sentences are original.  I am amazed at how much things have changed in a year and a half, and yet how much has stayed the same.  

My story:

Actually, my story isn’t finished yet – I’m still plugging away, with not a lot of traditional “professional success” to show for it.  I perform locally, and I make as many opportunities for myself as I can manage.  But as my teacher and I were just discussing last week – I could have quit so many times, and those were times of breakthrough for me.  I may take a week or a month off, but I come back, and I come back, and always I am better for the break.  She remembered a time that I had completely forgotten 2 years ago – preparing for a studio recital, I broke down in tears in the hall.  Once she reminded me, it came flooding back:  Standing next to the piano feeling so completely a failure. I worked hard, and I had a beautiful instrument that I tried so hard to train.  Why was I not getting the gigs I knew I could do?!   I had poured so much money, time, energy into becoming the singer I just KNEW I could be.  My throat was closed up with the tears of frustration and disillusion, and as she put it, that was a “rock-bottom” moment for me.  I could quit.  It would be very easy – honestly, I was perfectly good enough for any church choir or community chorus (outstanding, actually), and no one was counting on my income as a singer – it would actually be a huge savings, considering how much lessons cost – and the torture of not living up to the standard I had set for myself would be over.  But… Something in me refused – refuses! – to quit.  I don’t know how NOT to be a singer, to continue becoming the best I can be.  And I think that’s what has changed over the past 2 years.  I have left off comparing myself (mostly) to all the other amazing singers I know, and begun loving and enjoying the singer I am.  I have a lot to offer, too, and discovering what makes me unique is a lot of fun.  I’m still working hard, and I still want to be a “real” pro singer with more pay gigs than pro bono or self-funded ones, but my goals have changed, and, more importantly, my attitude has changed (with a few lapses, which are quickly gotten over).  So what if I don’t have a full-time career?  I still have a beautiful, now highly-trained, instrument, and I know how good I am.  I don’t need others to tell me how great I am (although, I must say, it is quite nice occasionally!).  I have become a teacher myself, and the thrill when a student “gets” a concept is as gratifying in its own way as performing.  I am still training, auditioning, and the gigs are finally coming, just like I knew (hoped?) they would.  Funny how things work out when one’s perspective changes…

Two quotes that I found last week about keeping on:

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.  ~Newt Gingrich

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before. ~Jacob A. Riis

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