Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Love Me More

I stopped for a moment today and put my head on hubby's shoulder. I am basking in the glow of the new job. It's a nice moment. Students wrote me today, requesting lesson times, excited to meet me, wanting to work with me. It felt like dating or something....the nervousness, the newness, ahhh. And the extra money, that is also awesome.

Of course, that comes much later. Patience.

I wish that blessings like this somehow erased my desire to sing EVERYONE ELSE'S GIG. I mean seriously--I cannot look at a good singer's resume, or hear about someone else's future gig, or past gig, or WHATEVER, and not really actually want to take it from them.

Is that what ambition is? Because I feel terribly guilty about it. I wonder if I could feel fully satisfied with singing if I were wildly successful, or if there would always be somewhat of a desire to get MOOORRRREEE.

I have such a hard time picking and choosing students, now that I have to let some go. Who do you keep? The ones who work the hardest? The ones who are the most talented? The ones who never miss lessons? These are rarely the same people. But whoever you choose, the other ones will wish they were loved more, right? Or is that just me, who needs to steal every scene?

I went in and sang for someone, and he complimented me, and then he hired another person who sang the same day....and has hired her several times. And I feel like I was SO CLOSE to that opportunity. And why did he love her more? After years in NYC, I had completely suppressed that feeling. Rejection. But now that I'm all happy and crap, and having a good life, and have a little more time to dwell on it....I wish some opera chief would love me to pieces.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Why People Have Kids


I have an old acquaintance who likes to often post on facebook why he doesn't have children (he and his wife of like 15 years). I figure he must feel judged by others. I don't care honestly, I am very happy for people who chose not to have kids, and I feel like I almost was one. I still occasionally have longings for the good old days of having time to groom myself better and dinners that lasted 2 hours.

This week we went to the Iowa State Fair. State fairs are a little bit gross, I guess. I feel dirty when I get home. People are surprisingly unattractive--and I don't really understand why. I am always a little creeped out by those big plastic cups of beer, and the smell of fried food (fried all day long) is, um, eww.

Last year we took Baby S to the fair and she was interested but just a little too small for everything. My clearest memory is thinking she would like to see the dog training competition and instead trying desperately to keep her from climbing on to the laps of everyone around us.

This year was very different. We promised her rides, and somehow she translated that to the term "games". I started calling it "big games" and from there, a whole experience happened. She screamed with excitement when we got there, she went looking for big games. We went to a "baby farming experience" which was really not that exciting, but at the end, she was given some fake money to buy REAL chocolate milk at a store! It was so exciting for her that she started skipping. And I think that's why you have kids. Because over time, no matter how amazingly youthful you think you are, magic loses a little bit of its "luster." You have to look for something amazing to feel that magic.

With Baby S, it's like she finds a $20 bill on the street every day. You know that "found money" feeling? She has it constantly. And it feels great for me too.

She went on a helicopter ride that was a slow hydraulic lift about 25 feet in the air. I thought I was going to have a heart attack seeing my baby up there, but afterwards she started running in a circle, it was so delightful!

There was a disappointing moment for my husband--his cousin was playing in a band--a very popular band that does a tribute to 80s hairband music. Loud, smoky, light shows, and a bunch of people yelling and singing (a very very full house). Of course, a 3 year old, sitting on his shoulders, begging to go home. So we left after the 4th song. It's the kind of stuff you just give up when you have children, sometimes gladly, sometimes with regret.

Our last moment at the fair was discovering a whole exhibit of baby farm animals. They had goats that were born in the last two days, tiny, fuzzy, babies that she was allowed to pet. My shy child pushed herself through a crowd of adults to give herself first crack at that kid, and held its little black face in both of her hands, petting the top of its head. The exhibit included baby chicks to pet, baby ducks, baby pigs and cows, and as she started making her rounds, she did her "happy walk" swivelling her hips in this crazy pattern as she walked through people like they didn't exist to get at the next fuzzy baby animal. People around me smiled at her. It was impossible not to see her level of joy.

Since then she's asked if we can go back to the Big Games and get a baby goat. She tries to convince me it can sleep with her and when it gets big she'll buy a fence. She's got a plan. Now, how the hell do I raise a goat?

And I'm pretty sure that's why I had a baby.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Divine Timing


I sometimes think that God has this crazy sense of humor. It seems like every time in my life that I throw in the towel, that I feel completely and totally run over, busted, flat down depressed, things change.

THey never seem to change before this point. Right before meeting my husband I had really given up--written a scathing letter to a random online dating site out of utter despair. I was just about ready to crawl up and be lonely, because no man I met seemed to be anything close, just a huge waste of time. And then, out of nowhere, this little light. And four years later, a happy marriage.

Before I got into the Santa Fe Opera apprentice program, I cried to my pianist. I literally broke into tears and said, "i give up, I am opening a bookstore, because I obviously have no talent as a singer." I still remember her laughing and saying, "maybe you should put off those bookstore plans".

THe timing is not long. He seems to jump in immediately after the pain subsides. It's not more than 48 hours later, usually. And yet I feel like one of the first questions I would ask God if I met Him would be, "why couldn't you have just let me work for something, pray, ask you for it, and get it? Why did it always have to involve a breaking of my spirit first?" Seems like an easy answer, but at the same time, breaking ones spirit means losing faith, and over time, it's damaged me. It's made me less hopeful, less sure that good will win out. At least on earth. I see the worst case scenario and I think, "been there, done that".

I wrote that blog of utter despair last week. That was a WEEK ago! WHAT? And then a sudden response back from a college about a job that looked old, did they want me? Then a request for an interview. Only this wasn't an interview, it was an HOUR LONG TEST. I was to bring 3 pieces to sing (when was my last audition? MARCH?) Thank God I'd been practicing. I was to teach a lesson in front of 5 faculty members (bullets of sweat).

I went in to this audition scared witless, but confident. I kept telling myself, "they want me." THe singing went SO well. Weirdly well. They laughed at my funny bits, they seemed impressed. The teaching went better. The pianist shook my hand before walking out of the room and whispered, "congratulations." I knew I had it. And the offer came hours later.

Three years into teaching and I'm at a college. A real, gosh darn college. The day after, hubby got an email for a job across the country. Probably not one that would work out financially, but we waited for hope for SOOOO LONNNGG! and then hope came right after we needed it. So confusing.

So life's about to change again, and I'm nervous, but excited, and still losing weight.

Take me now, December.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Drama Queen

Well, I have an interview for Friday.

I swear--why does the timing work out that I have to have an IMMENSE breakdown moments before the light shines in? You should have seen the one I had before I met hubby.

Darkest, dawn, all that stuff. Not that I have a job, but my whole body is lighter with hope.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I give up

I want so badly to give up. I don't even know what that means anymore. I worked for so hard for 20 years for a performing career and watched everyone around me fly through success. Conductors mentioned to me my "hard work" but certainly never wanted to help me later. Opera companies wanted to hear 5 arias but not hire me. And lately, as I soar through practicing pieces that don't even pose a difficult note...pieces I tried my whole life to learn that are now easy, I think I'm just torturing myself.

I will never understand why my voice failed so miserably in Chicago last spring. I just don't know what happened to me. I've never sung like that, before or since.

I am now getting off facebook for a week. I am seeing one singer after another, less qualified, who have worked less than I have, who haven't struggled the way I have, get university teaching jobs. Helping each other--when no one ever seems to think of me. I can't figure that out. And it feels the same. Again. Work doesn't equal success, I mean, I've learned that. I know that that is true. But I keep hoping for grace. I keep hoping God will just make something easy. Just one thing.

My leaps of faith seem to usually end up with breaking my legs. And I am a complete and total failure. And there is no other way to see this. 37 average, ungrateful students who rarely bring payment and lying on my taxes because if not, I can't possibly pay medical bills.

I can't do it anymore. I can't feel anymore this strange mix of loving my God and not understanding why there is no blessing for me. There is nothing. There is nothing. There is nothing.

Edited to add that after writing this I submitted 2 more resumes. It's hard not to root for me, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August, Ahoy!

Well,

Let's get a jump on August. Baby S came back from her two week trip to Michigan using the phrase "if you say so." It sounds funny and is mildly annoying. She's going to be 3! I can't believe it.

Hubby and I lost a combined 13 pounds this month! WOO HOO! I only lost 5 of that, so I prefer to write the number as one big one. I feel downhearted that I am only 10 pounds less than I was a year ago today. But I guess that is good...it is progress, and I have to learn to lose progress, and not be so disappointed in my lack of perfection.

My voice is so good lately! Practicing is like fulfilling every goal I have, and there are no auditions. WHY WHY WHY?

I can't wait to get into the next season of teaching. I feel so frustrated with irresponsible teenagers and their cancellations, their late payments, and their lack of any work or discipline when they leave my studio. I really hope for a future in which I teach students who are inspired, whose dreams I can encourage. I was meant to do that, not try to figure out if a some kid whom I haven't seen in 4 weeks and who has not improved in any way and who is practically non-audible is having a voice change. SNORE.

I can't wait to have a baby again. WHAT am I thinking? But they are so life-enriching. And lately, I seem to meet so many wonderful teenagers and young adults, who have goals I respect, who are kind to their parents....and I have high hopes of maybe eeking my way into that group, by exercising a few spiritual fruits and loving them like crazy.

I am incredibly hurt and angry by the many posts about "that chicken place". Here's what I hate. I love the Bible, I believe it, and I love a LOT of gay people. I don't think that anyone goes to heaven by being heterosexual, but I know, I understand the passion behind wanting to feel like you live in a world you understand. And I feel so sad over the whole thing. So I wish I didn't have facebook right now.

And I get so tired of people trading in love for competition. God help me.