Monday, October 25, 2010

Restless October


Well, this month has been so nuts I can't even describe it. I now have 25 students. What? Two of my students were two of 4 girls at the schools where I teach to make it into the all state choirs. Though I hesitate to take credit for that, I still feel kind of like I must be awesome, right?

I have two auditions coming this month, unfortunately 3 hours apart (driving) on the same day. But I'll take 'em where I can get 'em. I hope I'm ready. Does that sound confidence-building? I'm singing really well but I feel like everything else is sapping my energy, stealing my mojo, as it were.

The eating is good. Not what I want--but I actually am reporting to someone else, paying attention to doing the next right thing, and not basing my life on the scales. Though that has never brought me skinny, it's often brought me peace and happiness, and hopefully health too.

Now--here's the troubles. I am overwhelmed. How can I get all of this done, the students, the auditions, the baby? Hubby and I wanted to go on a date, but I also just wanted to sit in my room and cry. Not sad. Just freaking tired.

And then two nights ago, the baby was doing her normal "I love to bug the dogs" thing, and Max bit her. On the face. It is not ....a mauling, by any means. But he broke the skin. In two spots. She bled for a bit, with my heart leaping in my chest, and he left tooth marks across her face.

Hubby loves him so much, and I love hubby, and now we have to come up with answers. We are not dumb....we are not thinking the dog is as important as the baby, but we know there must be solutions without sending him away. But now....

now....with all this stuff I have to get done, my heart is also tied up in this disaster. I am reminded every time I look at her sweet little mug with the red marks.

Four days until two auditions. One day until the next time I tell a room full of people I have an eating disorder. About 15 students in between that time. And then of course, the other stuff.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Childhood God

I found the camera today, after its long vacation inside the couch. So baby pictures will probably be forthcoming.

The past 10 days have involved my eating a very restrictive food plan with almost no sugar and no flour. Oh, and no support. Guess what? Tuesday morning I weighed myself and I was up 1.5 pounds. I did not eat flour or sugar and I'm up 1.5 pounds. So i did what any insane person would do. I cried. I told my husband i was going to kill myself for being a fat failure. I told him I was the biggest liar in the world, that I would never stop lying to myself, that I would never be thin, that I could never be a good mom. It continued for a while. That poor loving man searched desperately for help for me. He asked me to go to a nutritionist. He looked at me with such sadness as I described how disgusting I was.

I am not a dieter. I am a person with an eating disorder. And it doesn't matter what weight I am. I am obsessed with food. I am obsessed with thin-ness. I am not in reality when I am not working a program. So Tuesday morning, I got back in.
And tonight, I am filled with joy. Seriously! I am filled with joy.

My first assignment by my sponsor (I am so freaking excited to have a sponsor, it's like I just went on a great first date) is to write about my childhood God. So I'm going to share what I wrote here.

Not just that. I committed my food today. And I ate exactly that. And it was restrictive, but a little less. You see....for me the trigger is not the food. It's the lie that I am somehow free, somehow normal, somehow not who I am. Which, although crazy, is also beautiful.

My husband lovingly told me tonight that I am in a cycle. The high, the good stuff happens person, and the other, the darkness. I fall into something that loves the angry self-talk, the obsession with weight loss. He's right. But I believe There Is A Solution

My Childhood God
My childhood God was gentle. I feel like I'm the only one who says that sometimes. I did not have parents who were religious at the time, but they talked lovingly about God, and sometimes I would imagine I was holding God's hand. God wanted to listen to me, spoke quietly to me, and laughed sometimes. I had a father who was so in love with me for the first few years, but pretty soon after was consumed by alcoholism. I think God took the character of that father of the first few years. I felt like God forgave me, knew me completely, and loved me anyway. God was strong enough to lean on. I know that as an adult, God is other things to me now. But often I feel that "original" God shows up and dusts me off a little. I feel precious to that God--even though as a grown-up I feel that word precious is weird. I long for my daughter to know the magic of my childhood God. Sometimes, God's voice would come into my head, and say simple things. Comment on what I was doing. I miss that voice. I think it's crowded out by me most of the time. Now my voice has so much more worry in it. More control. Less laughter. I fear I'm not supposed to just be happy thinking about the God of my childhood. But I am.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Beginnings

Has it been eight days? It has. Last time I wrote on this blog I spent a whole night sitting up in a recliner with a baby puking on me. First time she puked, I changed her pajamas, second time I took that set off. Third time I changed mine. I don't remember much after that, except the smell of old milk and the feeling of hot baby head on my chest.

That lasted 4 days. Well I should say the next few days baby and I went to sleep up in the attic to allow hubby to have some sleep, and hopefully function for all of us. Two days after that was over we all took an early morning trip to the hospital for hubby's "Throat expansion" as it turns out, he has both an allergic reaction which swells the opening of his throat and acid reflux, doing the same. It's amazing he can swallow at all. On top of that a bunch of other digestion-related issues and things that make me sad for him and our possibility of "saving up" for anything financial.

Just to put the cap on the whole week I woke up at 5am to the sound of our 2 year old dog Ginger having a grand mal seizure. We can't afford the vet visit until the following paycheck, but I am told the seizure meds are cheap. I still feel so sad for her, for us...you know, the whole shabang.

But let's say something positive. I went to a wonderful 12-step-lite meeting tonight where we talked about new beginnings. And it made me think of the title of my blog. In case you don't know, a cadenza (or cadence, in English, much less fun to say) is a musical term for a "transitional flourish". At least that's what I would call it. It signifies the end of a section of music where the performer either ad libs or the composer writes out a beautiful flourish. A certain "so long" to the past and "here comes the next exciting part". And at the meeting tonight a woman two seats away said the exact words: I NEVER IMAGINED MYSELF MOVING TO IOWA, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE WITH EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENED IN THE LAST TWO YEARS GOD WANTED US HERE. And I laughed out loud. Oddly, I belong here.

This is my corn cadenza. Here I am--stuck amidst field and farm--I am attempting a flourishing transition into something which connects my past and future. Transition is really hard. It's hard to believe in. Most of us sit in invisible cocoons thinking, "I'll never be an opera singer" "I'll never fall in love" "I'll never get a handle on this addiction" etc etc and sometimes we are already becoming that very thing.

By the way, I got an audition for Des Moines Metro Opera, in Chicago! That's two this month. AND, I've been off flour and sugar for 3 days! New Beginnings.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Girly Stuff

So I am pissed off.

I am pissed off at about 7 people right now. Especially hubby. And I know better than to think something ridiculous like "everyone is awful". Maybe it's something more like...uh....me? Maybe I'm tired from teaching? Probably not. Maybe I'm stressed out about money, singing, friends. Maybe the baby is freaking annoying today, whining and trying to get in trouble. Or maybe some new turn of my body has been taken? Maybe a year after nursing a baby (still nursing, but it's been 13 months now) I am going to be moody again? It's been nice to be in this semi-menopausal state, pretty mellow too, but perhaps the angry, passionate, silly person is coming back. Good luck to you hubby! Good luck.

I am also adding--as I think about it--that the voice has been pretty decent in practice this week. Not quite so "husky" as it seems to have been lo these long 13 months. Perhaps things are changing in the throat as well.

Ahhh, normalcy. If only I could get rid of this damned "post pregnancy stomach" too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sickness Unto Death


October is probably my favorite month in the midwest. It is crisp, beautiful, and the colors have just started changing. It's pleasant to be outside in the morning (in a little jacket) and in the afternoon in a t-shirt. It's perfect weather for walking, and today I packed up Baby S in a stroller and headed to my new favorite park.

It was the kind of walk that makes my heart feel like the beat has been regulated. After the last two days of teaching and taking my husband to the ER for an emergency issue with his throat (which, sadly, makes me most worry about the pricetag that brings) I needed a nice long walk. I needed a calming wind and a good workout. I headed through the park and into the cemetery, which I have never done. This particular cemetery is well cared-for and green. It's peaceful, quiet and has kick-butt hills which make my legs burn. It's reflective. And I found a lot of it fascinating.

I was fascinated by the number of children buried there. I was fascinated by how young people seemed--dying in your 60s still seems young enough to be tragic to me. I noticed that in our current culture the younger deaths had more ornate gravestones--pictures of the person buried there, quotations, gifts, humorous pictures. Immediately upon seeing some of them I felt a fear. Someday I would lose my mom, my husband, and even my own life.

As a person with a lot of faith, the thought of death is still scary. It is so unknown, so confusing. I waited my whole life for someone to love me like my husband does, and to imagine that we might only get 20, 30, 40 years together is not enough.

I also started thinking about the night before, when I looked up a girl I used to sing with at the Los Angeles Opera. She used to stand behind me and talk about how I was a mezzo and she was a soprano, and someday we would sing at the best opera houses together. And now she does. A simple google found her manager at Columbia, her gigs all over the world, singing roles that every college soprano dreams of. And she does it.

I thought about my husband getting teary when he told me I got offered a role last year by a little company that paid $200. I thought about the joy I felt singing a maid in Wisconsin, which is nothing on that ladder of success, but certainly something in that moment.

And then I thought about a sermon I once heard, entitled "Sickness Unto Death". I don't know how well I remember it, except for the ideas that really--at the end of the day, when faced with death, most of us want to decide what we're worth. We want to say, "ok, I did this...and so perhaps I can leave" The cemetery was filled with family plots, and I thought about the idea of someone being buried under a stone that just said MOTHER. I couldn't imagine that being all of me. I just couldn't. And I wondered what is it that I think I have to have? Do I have to have a family? Do I have to have to have accomplished something amazing? Does it have to be the thing I always wanted to do? Do I have to read the story of that soprano and feel less myself? Is my joy at getting a little role not something I take into the next world? What will they put on my gravestone?

I don't know when it's going to happen. I don't know how. And that leaves me today. If you ask me if I'd like to wake up in the morning to the sound of applause--a standing ovation--would that make me sure of what I'm worth, I don't know what I'd say. Do I have any idea of what I'm supposed to prove to God or to myself? Do I have to turn heads, to be something I always longed to be? I know that if I woke up each day and felt the voice of God say to me, "You're wonderful. I made you that way. And here's another day on earth to give that back to me" it wouldn't be too bad. Would it?