Monday, November 29, 2010

Little Town Girl

Ok--so November has been my worst month yet in blogging. I wish I could tell you why. I thought, "have I been happier? sadder? busier?" but all I can say is that I haven't written much.

You know you've been living in a small city when you forget about traffic. Isn't that weird? I just forgot about it. So driving around in Phoenix I was incredibly surprised to see traffic backed up at 6pm. I am amazed at the aggressive drivers on the freeway, trying to get home as fast and furious as they can, and so on. Not that Cedar Rapids isn't full of idiots who drive 45 miles an hour through parking lots and cut you off for no reason--but there are about 2 million less of them.

I started my time in Phoenix by "coaching" with a pianist from ASU. He was unbelievably likeable--friendly, and made an effort to get to know me. A little unexpected in appearance, as he was incredibly buff and looked like he had stuffed his tight black t-shirt with balloons. Fortunately, I have found some good new repertoire for auditions. Unfortunately, I have the same old problems. Why is it the same old problems? How can I still appear "shy" in my music at 36? HOW? He said my choices seemed to subtle, that my laid-back personality did not make the opera singing performance easy. All the things he said were right. I needed this coaching so much. It's funny--in New York, I had coachings and lessons every week, usually. At the very least, every other week. And now I get them annually (maybe twice a year if I'm lucky). And yet--I don't feel less prepared for auditions. I wonder how much you really need....especially in terms of how you learn to think for yourself musically!

Right now I am fantasizing about the unpaid role of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, which I am auditioning for this month. Am I insane? When did unpaid start sounding good?

In the meantime, Baby S is lovin' Arizona. We did the aquarium with my friend's 2 month old son(a stark contrast to the exhausting toddler stage), and she yelled at fish, ran around singing "happy happy happy" (probably the most adorable thing she does) and then had a huge poop, which had to be changed on the floor of the aquarium. Thank you, motherhood, thank you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mama Was a Rolling Stone

It's Friday, and my back hurts. I have had so many thoughts I wanted to put into this blog, but I'm annoyed by the ache in my back which won't go away. Since the trip to Chicago, I have pain in my very low back, which I can feel through my legs and my stomach as if I've eaten something bad. It makes me feel dizzy, and sick.

So basically 3 big handfuls of Ibuprofen a day and I'm good.

Hubby told me two days ago that he's applying to a job out of state. I wished there had been more discussion about this, though he knew I'd be fine with the area, it just seemed so sudden from "Mr. Settle-Down" himself. I guess more was happening on the job front than I was aware. But I am scared of more moves. I am having trouble thinking of anything besides "what comes next, and how am I going to survive it?" Did I get soft along the way? I used to be able to pack up my Honda and move across the country with just a snap. And now...there's so much more. I find my stomach is definitely not calm.

I sang a few good auditions, and I'm still contacting companies. I'm really ready to sing, and I believe there's something coming for me. It's been too long. We've got to get this ball rolling.

Where that will be, I've got no clue.

This week one of my students asked me, "What do people do with a musical theater degree?"

I paused. I think I understood the nature of the question, so I said, "Well, their plan is probably to do musical theater. But it's a degree that has some risk in it. They're not doing it to get rich."

She looked at me, thinking, and said, "Yeah, it's a big risk, right?" And I wasn't sure whether to defend that or not. It was too reasonable a conversation for someone who has made very few decisions based on what the most secure thing would be. After all, I'm 36, have had years where I made about $15,000 and felt VICTORIOUS that all I did was sing. I smiled at her, and said, "Well, I know plenty of people who've done it...but it's not for everyone. It's not too different from my music degree. It's the kind of thing you sign up for knowing you'll probably hold a few other jobs too." I smiled. I made it light. I figured she wasn't going to go for a musical theater degree.

Chances are, God love her, she's not leaving Iowa.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I haven't blogged in a while, and this article is really just to get some things off my chest.

I have been back from the audition trip for just about a week. I feel good about what's going on with my voice, and I am praying for an opportunity to use it! I hope to knock the pants off the next local audition too, but I feel somewhat disillusioned, and that's hard to get over. I have had so many great auditions that end in disappointment, I find myself wondering what has to occur in order to get a role. A miracle, perhaps, or at least a fair amount of prayer.

I am back in my 12 step program. God, apparently, snuck up behind me and tricked me into getting honest again. And I am excited about doing it! I am disclosing my food--"writing before I bite" as it were! And I am struggling with it, as always, and I am happy. I am not randomly shouting crazy things at my husband about what a failure I am due to weight. I am real with myself, and him. I have a group of people who expect me to be crazy. I am walking a trail of honesty, and it feels fantastic. And weight--well, I'm not weighing myself for a month or so--because I need this first. Peace. I am accepting that this is my life. I need more than a scale or a calorie count. I need a certain amount of peace.

This morning the pastor of our church resigned. We have been going to a church for two years. We joined a small group, I play in the band, I sing there, hubby sometimes makes videos, and I have even been going to another addiction group. Two and a half years. And I have no idea what happened this morning--a "mysterious" exit, a bunch of ambiguous honesties, and then a 45 minute lecture (under the guise of a sermon) about how we all need to jump on board and not leave, just because our church has decided to not really tell us what's going on.

I have no interest in going to a church where after two years, I have no one I trust,not a single friend, whom I could call and yell about this. No one who would call us if we just disappeared one day. The lack of intimacy is second only to the lack of honesty in my sadness over what happened this morning. I have no interest in being told, "hey, I'm not going to tell you what happened or why you should trust us, but you're a christian, so you should trust us." None at all. And the mysterious absence of a lot of key players in this makes me feel even more confident that I'm not looking at anything good here.

I am angry. I am sad. I am feeling abandoned and depressed. I feel like the biggest risk I took in getting to know people here just blew up in my face. And that's being honest.