Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Perhaps Fame and Fortune

I got back from North Jersey and New York City late last night, and I'm happy to report that both states did wonders for my flagging self-esteem.

Sunday morning was my friend Nicole's bridal shower. Now, I don't know how you all out there feel about showers, but I'm not such a fan. They seem like a relic from an ancient past that has no place in today's feminist society. "Let's throw all the men out so we can finally drink tea and coo to each other about women things like babies and wedding dresses, because the rest of our time is spent cooking meals and cleaning the house and ironing." (actually, I like talking about babies and wedding dresses. I like tea too. Crap). They're generally not much fun, due to a lack of alcohol.

But the girls at this shower turned out to be mega-awesome. They strongly seconded my desire to hit the mimosas right away, which boded well. Later, when I started talking inappropriately about various races, they thought it was funny. The odious present-opening segment of the shower, which is the most feared and hated portion of the afternoon, was undertaken with a lightness of spirit and a general sense of making fun of the whole process. There was banter. At a shower. This is unheard of. So thanks, awesome girls, for making this particular shower a memorable event and for making me feel entertaining and worthwhile! I can't wait to hang out with you again-next time in our bridesmaid dresses!

Plus, there were copious amounts of cake, which makes any shower worth going to (check out my sister's various odes to cake on her blog, if I can figure out how to link it up).

Whoops, I realize that I've strayed far away from the actual point of this blog, which is to chronicle my anxiety-ridden singing career! So let's move on. Yesterday morning I took the train into the city for a lesson with Sherry Overholt, goddess of voice teachers. First of all, it felt good to be back in the city again, and I wasn't scared at all when it actually came down to it. I attribute this to a certain level of comfort with the city that I've finally attained (after going there how many times?!). Second of all, the subway spit me out at Lincoln Center and Julliard, and my lesson was right down the street. When you're having a voice lesson down the street from these places, it makes you feel pretty awesome and sophisticated. I got a sophisticated iced coffee to walk the streets with. It just felt right.

Third of all, and most importantly, my voice lesson was AWESOME. This wonderful woman got sounds out of me that I had never heard. She told me I was a contender. People, it felt so good to get some positive reinforcement! She also told me I was a lyric soprano, which is sort of a surprise but makes me very happy. Lyrics get all the good dramatic parts. And I'm no good at hitting the real high notes anyway (Those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about and want to know, look up Opera Fach on Google).

So I have a list of exercises to do, a list of arias to learn, and a new lease on my singing life. I'd say that's worth $110 and a trip into the city! If you're looking for me today I'll be in the practice rooms at Cornell and up in the library making photocopies. Yay!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Begone, Panic Attacks

I've started this blog because, apparently, I've become panic-attack girl (defender of all that's good, unless she's pacing the apartment, crying and nauseous. If she is, and she usually is, go find another superhero). My idea is that somehow airing my emotional dirty laundry to the world will help the anxiety I have about the unformed and scary future go away.

Maybe I should re-think this plan...

Anyway, here's my deal. I did my undergrad in Voice Performance (that's Opera Singing) at Rutgers (holla New Jersey!) without really knowing why I was doing it. Then I had a breakdown Senior year 'cause of the performing stress. A trusted colleague had said to me "if there's anything else you can do with you life, DO IT." I took his advice to heart and decided to explore the possibilities of teaching, even though I had no certifications.

Fast-forward four years later. I'm married and living in Ithaca cause my adorable and genius hubby is getting his doctorate at Cornell. I've been a teaching assistant and substitute teacher, an after-school program employee, and an English teacher in Japan. I am currently a teaching assistant in a school for "children with disabilities" (if that isn't a euphemism, I don't know what is). And I'm miserable. I'm angry. I'm resentful that my husband gets to do what he loves while I get paid peanuts to have angry children throw desks at me. As a result I cry while doing dishes and scream at the hubby because he never does the dishes (whether this is actually true or not, we'll never know).

Long story short: I decide to try to go back to singing. I fail miserably several times (Ithaca College, you're on my list). Finally I get into Syracuse University, into a program which is not well-known and will cost tons of cash, which I realistically may never be able to pay back. Any singer/businessperson/rational human being will tell you that this is not a good move to make. But I'm desperate, so I do it.

And here I am. I've just graduated. I've made some good progress with singing and performing. And now I am FREAKING OUT. Again, to keep things brief and concise, here's a short list of exactly what I'm freaking out about:

1) I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm just not quite good enough for this career
2) Even if I was, I'm now five years behind. Everything I'm doing now, I should have been doing five years ago
3)I'm almost thirty and my biological clock is ticking LIKE THIS.
4) Opera and family do not go hand-in-hand
5) I'm scared of everything

Okay, I think that's enough personal information vomited into cyberspace for one posting. Plus I feel guilty about all the stuff I'm not doing (yoga, cleaning, working on my career, practicing). And just writing this has made my heart rate speed up.

I need to chill out! I'm definitely open to suggestions as to how to do this.

Next time: More neurotic ramblings! I am traveling to NYC for a lesson (scary, of course!) this weekend, so I'm sure that will open up a whole new can of worms. I know: You can't wait. Neither can I.