Monday, August 3, 2015

what's on the other side of fear?

It's 2:30 am and I'm not sleeping. This isn't terribly surprising ... I've never been a good sleeper much to my chagrin. I love sleep, probably because it often seems like something unattainable. I turn into a horrible, cranky, weepy person without it and no one really needs to experience that. On the upside ~ I do my part to keep the coffee people in business so there's that. You're welcome, Starbucks.

It often means that my brain is mulling something over. And over and over. And won't stop until I've overthought it to death and can no longer remember what I was even obsessing about. Either that or my brain knows this is the only time that I allow myself to binge on trashy TV so it waits until the wee hours of the morning to bother me so we can catch up on episodes of The Good Wife or Scandal or the latest serial killer series with which I've become obsessed

It's been a fantastic summer. Quite unlike last summer which we've taken to calling "The Summer of Crying." I mean it wasn't all bad. Wine = check! Cake = check! What, more wine? Yes!! But seriously lacking in fun and adventure. So far this summer, I've finished my first Bikram Yoga 30-Day Challenge. I've gone on countless adventures in this amazing, terrifying, fabulous city I now call home {just this past week I met a heroin addict named Mohammed on the way home from the DMV! probs best not to tell Diane about that}. And I'm making amazing memories with the best people in the entire world. Seriously y'all, I have the best people. You should be jealous.

But if I'm being honest, and I'm generally blatantly so, I've been in a bit of a funk since ... well I'm not entirely sure. Sometime around the beginning of the summer? Perhaps earlier. It doesn't really matter I suppose, except I haven't quite been able to put my finger on why and I think that's why I'm awake tonight. I'm singing better than I ever have in my life, and I'll be working more this fall than ever. I have a magical freelance business that lets me spend time pursuing my dream and having brunch with my people and traveling to Timbuktu for a few weeks for funzies if I so choose. And I honestly feel like the sky is about to open up and all kinds of glitter and shit is going to spill out. I have no idea what, but it feels like something is coming. And that probably sounds completely and totally crazy, but I'm pretty comfortable with that at this point.

 ... And then it hit me.

I realize that I've been afraid of making music all summer. It's absolutely ridiculous. Music is the one thing I've been chasing with all of my soul for the past 7 years. I mean ~ all in. I have worked harder at this one thing during those years than I ever have at anything in my life. It brings me peace and joy and beauty and when I do it well, it's absolutely transcendent. And even though I feel like I'm doing it better than I ever have, opening a score this summer has been one of the hardest things for me.

And I think it has something to do with fear. It's not so much a fear of not being good enough, or talented, or allowed to call myself a musician {things I've honestly struggled with many, many times over the course of these past years}. I think it's a fear of success. Fear that I might actually get what I want. Fear that if I keep going the way I am, only beautiful things lie ahead.

Sounds terrifying and horrible, right? But failure can become like your favorite pair of jeans. It's easy. It's comfortable. And I know it pretty well. I've struggled with audition anxiety and feelings of inadequacy and wondering when someone was going to realize that I just shouldn't even be here. But success ... that's another thing entirely.

So I'm letting go of fear {because I believe that saying things to the universe actually has power}. And we're going to see what's on the other side. I do love a good adventure.

{sorry for all of the run-on sentences. it's now 4:15, what do you expect?}

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

the year of falling...

2014 will forever be known as The Year of Falling. {alternate titles: how the gingerbread people took their revenge; the year I eviscerated my life and broke my face}. The year I left everything I know, got a job in New York, and moved to the big city to chase my dream of singing. And fabulousness. It's all very romantic really. {cue Stacy's entrance...}

I have a confession to make ... I am a faller. I have always been a faller. It's really rather ridiculous. When I was 3 years old, my mother put me in ballet classes because I couldn't walk across the kitchen floor without falling down. Clearly nothing has changed. Except I fall with a bit more grace. I'm the Ginger Rogers of falling.

You see it all began with a roommate Xmas party. We decided we were going to build a gingerbread house and watch movies. And then we decided that since our version of the gingerbread house was not going to look like Martha Stewart's {how do people get them to look so effing perfect?}, perhaps it needed to have a crime scene. So I bit off a gingerbread man's arm and the rest, as they say, is history.

someone call Criminal Minds!
Perfection. One gingerbread house, three Xmas movies, and hours of girl talk later I decided that I was going to create a crime scene of my very own ... and then THERE WAS A UNICORN STAMPEDE AND I WAS TRAMPLED. I know. Living in the city is very, very dangerous. Unicorn herds at every turn ~ especially this time of the year. They *love* the holidays ... effing tourist unicorns, amiright? ... or rather Smurfs broke into our apartment and tried to take me down Gulliver style. I put up a very valiant fight! I did not, no matter what you may have heard, slip on absolutely nothing in the very flat, very safe hallway in my apartment and fall on my face. A hallway where the walls are so close together I could use them as motherfucking handrails. At least the other two times I fell this year, there were stairs involved and I could blame them. That's right, I said two. Stop your judging and move along to the next paragraph.

And let me just say, when I fall I go all. the. way. Blood everywhere. {not unlike our gingerbread house. did someone say "foreshadowing?"} ... and everywhere includes pooling in my hands as I crawled into the bathtub. I don't know why. My sainted roommates called an Uber {seriously ~ they should be sainted by Pope Benedict Cumberbatch} and rode with me to the hospital. And yelled at people to give me pain meds and stitches and not be jerks in general. And stayed with me literally all night and morning until, finally, I went home. cried because I wanted to go home. started looking for hot doctors. was admitted to the hospital because my jaw was broken in two places and I needed emergency surgery. 

the hospital clearly understands my need to accessorize!
I'm thinking this should be a permanent addition given recent events.
And then Matt and I made a deal. I was going to go into surgery, and he was going to find us doctor dates. So I went with the anesthesiologist {I was, apparently, very charming ~ he loved my unicorn story.}, and Matt went to the waiting room. Sounds like a great plan, no? He clearly had the easier task. After all, I was going to have my face sliced into pieces and he was going to choose from the multitude of beautiful men at the hospital. *you had one job.* But I digress. He did, however, give me his chapstick when I asked for some in my anesthesia-induced stupor following surgery even though my face was again covered in my own blood. {I'm seeing a pattern here that I don't really care for...}

So here we are ... one week before Christmas and some of the best food of the entire year, and I'm on a liquid diet for the next 4 weeks. If someone figures out a way to give me a cheeseburger that isn't completely and totally disgusting, I'm all ears. Because the idea of liquified meat is just ... ew. Also pizza.

Luckily, Dr. McDreamy didn't, in fact, need to wire my jaw shut. He did insert 2 titanium plates in my face so now I'm basically the bionic woman. I am the only person I know who is so adept at the falling that I can break my own jaw with no obstacles. And I'm really, really hoping this is a trend that ends with the year 2014. After all, it started with a bang. I could really use an entire year without potentially life-altering injuries or feeling like I'm in some kind of real-life version of "Final Destination."

{end note ~ I'm going to be fine and the doctor says I should be singing again in no time. I may, however, want to consider training wheels. Something tells me those don't come factory installed on Manolos...}

Thursday, March 27, 2014

egg babies

I've attempted to write this blog no less than four times. And each time, it's just not quite right. So I throw it away and begin again. But I've felt an incredible pull to put these words, or a variation of them, out into the universe for the last several weeks. For what purpose I have no idea, but I trust my gut enough to believe that the universe is talking to me and I should listen. So we'll see if this one makes the cut.

Several years ago I made the decision to become an egg donor. It wasn't a decision I made lightly, but it was a relatively easy decision to make. And before you ask, it really had nothing to do with money. Yes I was compensated. But it was totally not worth it. The process you put your body through is simultaneously painful and fascinating. And a bit terrifying. Twice daily injections of obscene amounts of hormones, daily blood work, and nearly daily ultrasounds so you can peer into your body that's now an over-sized petri dish so you can see the wonder of science push your body to its limit. No exercise, no heavy lifting {the guys I bartended with at the time did so much of my work ~ thanks guys!}, no sex for fear that you're going to fertilize all of the tiny eggs growing in your body at once and, well ... that just wouldn't be pretty. And then finally the day comes when you get to go in for a "simple procedure" in which they put you under, puncture dozens of tiny holes in your body to retrieve said growing eggs, and send you home with an order to rest and to take nothing stronger than Tylenol {which we all know doesn't do shit for pain}.

So then why endure the pain? Well ... it seems that the people in my life who wanted to be parents more than anyone else, were the ones who couldn't. THEY were the ones who really, really should though. I also remember my own mom's struggle with infertility when I was a little girl. Her greatest desire had always been to be a wife and a mother, yet she had multiple miscarriages that caused her to be broken and consumed with pain. There is amazing pain in the desire to have something like this that you cannot have. Then as an adult, I have watched in my own brokenness as family and friends have endured this same pain. It's really terrible. And ... apparently I have good eggs ~ who knew?! I figured since I wasn't using them, someone else might as well.

I have never had a desire to have children of my own. Now before you tell me that I'll change my mind when I'm older or I just haven't met the right guy or I really don't know what I'm talking about, let me assure you ... I'm older than you think I am. And it has nothing to do with a man, or being at a particular stage in my life ... or my own hatred of children. I think children are amazing, fascinating, wonderful humans. I just didn't get the mommy gene. And that doesn't make me weird or horrible {trust me, there are plenty of things that fulfill both of those criteria}. It just means I'm self-actualized enough to know what I want.

I went through the process twice. And it recently occurred to me that these tiny humans with whom I took a very, very short journey and who have my DNA, would be five this year. And I'm not sure why, but it's made me think of them a lot. And of their parents who I will never know, but I do know wanted them so very much that they solicited eggs from a complete stranger to help make that dream come true. It's something that I was a part of for a very brief moment in time. And my way of giving something very small {literally microscopic} back to the universe.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

sometimes you just need to have a dance party

So if you've been paying any attention to my whining this past week, you know I was in a car accident exactly one week ago. Every day since last Tuesday, I've been painfully aware {quite literally} of every breath I've taken. There's nothing quite like getting sucker punched in the chest by an airbag directly following a {combined} impact of 70mph. And a seat belt. And the dashboard of Lucy the Escape {god rest her soul}. And I've missed a lot of things this past week. Singing. Yoga. Comfortable sleep. Painless breathing. Today was the first day that my first thought upon awakening wasn't "fuuuuuuuuck." *whydoesithurtsomuchtobreathe* That's a good sign right?

If you're reading this, you probably also know that I'm a crier. *ihatethat* Now ... I've never been one of those girls who can turn on the tears whenever it's convenient in order to achieve an end goal. *God* I've always envied them, but I just can't fake my emotions in the moment. I mean, it's almost impossible. So I cry ... When I'm angry. When I'm sad. When I'm frustrated. When I'm happy. Trust me ~ it's far more frustrating for me than it is for you. I feel like it's a sign of weekness. Or vulnerability. And I'm generally uncomfortable with both of these things.

I hate crying. And my god have I cried this week. In the ambulance on the way to the hospital. In the Emergency Room. When I saw my car the next day. Laying on the floor of the yoga room because that's just about all I can do {actually, both times I set foot in the hot room this week the waterworks went crazy}. On my sofa. After I talked to the insurance guy yesterday who told me that my airbag probably saved my life. It's like I'm 12 all over again! Can we just stop already?!?!?

I rarely let things get to me like this. I kind of pride myself on my ability to move past hardship and keep walking forward. But this week, it's been more than a little difficult to get it together. {Sassy Gay Friend, anyone?} Who has time for that ish? I mean, suck it up and stop being such a baby! You're a grown woman and you walked away from the accident with both of your legs working {albeit a little worse for the wear}. But even Diane informed me last night that I need to stop being so hard on myself. Note ~ if my badass mom tells me to give myself a break, I've definitely earned it.

So I did what any modern girl would do ... I turned to Pinterest. {And wine. Lots of wine.} And that's where I found this.
{via Pinterest}
That Liz Taylor. Full of the wisdom. {yes, I realize she probably didn't say this}. And then this morning I found this blog. {It's a beautiful blog full of inspiration and pretty things.} And you know ... she's absolutely right when she says "Being silly is a great shortcut for getting your emotions back in check."

So I took off my pants, put on some JT, and had my own little dance party {at which time I forgot to close my blinds, and promptly noticed my neighbor looking in. You know ... the one who has seen me in my underwear far more times than I care to admit because I keep forgetting that the blinds are open}. Because sometimes you just need to dance in your underwear. I'm off to find my lipstick ;).

Saturday, January 18, 2014

getting out of my head

Audition season tends to turn me into a philosopher. For those of you who aren't familiar with the mindfuck that is auditioning, the voices in your head routinely question your decisions. Decisions about wardrobe and makeup and rep and how you greet your audition panel ... the list is endless. They can smell fear. And it's an awful lot like going on a blind date {ew}. With the queen. The queen who holds your future in her hands and can squash you like a bug if she doesn't like your lipstick. mygodwhatcoloroflipstickamigoingtowear. No pressure.

Every time I go into an audition, I hear the first scene from "A Chorus Line" in my head. And as I sit on my sofa this morning drinking coffee, lazily browsing blogs, and attempting to find my center, I've realized a few things ...

It's been a while since I embarked on a busy audition season {which is it seems is forming on the horizon}. I've spent the last year+ reworking technique, finding my vocal place, and making sure I was really singing the right rep with the right technique. My amazing teacher has put up with neurotic "hey look what I found" or "what's wrong with me" or "will I ever get this right" emails with the patience and excitement and grace a mother has for her child. And I feel a little out of practice. I've done a total of 8 auditions in the past 18 months {which is really something when I consider that I've had years with triple that number}. Two turned into jobs. A couple more were very promising experiences. And there were a handful for which I didn't quite show up. Blerg. I hate it when that happens.

It's been amazingly difficult to not audition my ass off during those months. I don't like to feel as if I'm sitting still. There's the voice inside my head that says "how old are you again?" She can be a strong intimidator. And then there's the type A, workaholic, perfection-is-never-good-enough side that likes to get involved. {and I hear my father say, as he did so many times growing up, "aren't you better than them? You're a Dove."} ... Between my perfectionist mother, my dad telling me I should be better than everyone, and my brother who was good at EVERYTHING he ever tried to do, while I was just a mess, {Seriously. Just ask him.} it's no wonder I have so many issues of adequacy. *loveyoumeanit* imonlykindofkidding.

... But I digress. The wonderful people the universe has brought into my life have assured me I've made the right decision. And I repeat that to the voices in my head when they bring it up. Sometimes they don't listen very well.

I remember very well a conversation I had with a friend and colleague when I was in Roanoke for Carmen. He talked about his wife {a fantastically successful soprano} and her philosophy on auditions. He said it's nothing more than a job for her. She knows what she's doing and she's trained for this moment. She does her thing and it's over. Sounds really easy, doesn't it?

I've spent a lot of time retraining the voices in my head over the past year. Sending out positive energy into the universe. Believing that we can create our own destinies and testing the waters. Claiming the things that I want. And remembering the wonderful people who have given me opportunities who continue to believe in me. I've been incredibly fortunate, and the universe has been wonderfully kind. Positivity begets positivity.

So this is me ... getting out of my head. Doing the job that I've been trained to do. Wheee!

Monday, December 31, 2012

auld lang syne ... a year in review

This year has been a year of extremes. Extreme highs and extreme lows ... full of pursuing dreams and being completely broke. I mean seriously broke - I'm pretty sure I had more money when I was in college not working at all than I've had this year. Being broke suques {sound it out} hard core and it's really cramping my shoe habbit. And my audition habbit. We're working to change all of that.

So what have I done with myself this year?

I gave up the home I love and left my wonderful family of friends in Greensboro to follow my dream. Cramming your life into a 10x5 storage unit has a way of bringing everything into perspective. I left 3 semi-cushy jobs and 60 hour work weeks {certainly don't miss those}. Leaving Greensboro was truly one of the hardest things this year has brought ... When you have such a close-knit group of wonderful people who share your passions well, that's not something that happens often. And I miss them all terribly.

I made debuts with Nashville Opera, Opera Roanoke, and Opera Carolina ~ all as part of young artist programs. I feel so fortunate to be able to do what I love every day and that I've been able to find people who not only pay me to sing {as if I could possibly want more}, but also encourage me every day. I have met some of the most ah.mazing people this year and formed life-long friendships {you know who you are ;)}.

I spent six wrenching weeks in the hospital with my brother, Michael, wondering if he was going to live. {I'm not exaggerating even a little bit} It was awful. No one slept. We all wept and sat in a hazy, empty existance for those weeks. I drank way too much alcohol and ate too much junk {and had about an extra 15lbs to show for it... which has finally left my body *thankgod*} He's made an amazing, full recovery that no one ever thought would be possible.

I moved home. I started seriously running and ran my first *ever* 5-mile race with my fabulous sister, Sarah. {We ran the Columbus Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and I was so proud of myself. I think it's kind of a big deal.} I got to spend more time with my family this year than I think I have in the last decade combined. It's been wonderful and terrible. Living with your parents is completely glamorous, btw.

I reconnected with one of my heroes, Lynn Roseberry. Soprano, teacher, beautiful human, breast cancer survivor. She is kind of my second mother. I first met Lynn when I was 14, when I auditioned for voice lessons. She's had more influence on my life than almost any other person I've known.

So what will the new year bring? I'm heading back to Charlotte later this week to begin the second leg of my contract with Opera Carolina and I'll be there through the end of March. I get to help my sister plan her wedding with her amazing fiance, Jarod {they're adorable and completely perfect for each other. they even build forts in their living room}. And I'm really, truly starting to do some freelance work to help pay the bills and give me more freedom to do what I love. It's gonna be a good year.

Monday, June 4, 2012

the people of the waiting room {just like the people of walmart, only classier}

**Disclaimer ~ this isn't my usual upbeat, irreverent run-of-the-mill blog post. It's kinda heavy so be forewarned.**

Day 8. Meaning I've spent most of the last 8 days in the Critical Care Unit of the ICU at my friendly neighborhood hospital. A good time has been had by all, natch.

What is it about hospital waiting rooms that brings out the worst of humanity? I mean it's bad enough that we have to spend time there ... And not to be irreverent, but Michael has been such poor company this week. I think he's mad ~ he won't even play rock, paper, scissors with me. It's kinda like watching paint dry and expecting it to interact with you. Totally productive.

Some of my most difficult days as of late have been accompanied with my *already raw as hell* nerves being further taunted by *The People of the Waiting Room*. You know who they are. The People of WalMart transported from your favorite horrifying discount store to your local hospital. I've become accustomed to walking through the hospital with my sunglasses on so no one will try to speak to me. It's really better for all of us.

They're like the Clampetts in spandex. And not one of them has all of his teeth. They take over the entire place and loudly debate politics {you know Obama is clearly a socialist} and which section 8 housing they're moving into next, all whilst dragging their catheter bags on the floor {I only wish I were kidding}. They bring their children and let them run rampant allthelivelongday ~ rearranging furniture while you try to sleep and generally being children in a place where children simply do not belong. The ICU is not a place you go for a paper cut or a nose job, so why, why, why are they here? Especially if you won't reel them in. Oh M. Jesus {pronounced hey-zeus for those unfamiliar with such advanced terminology} what have I done in my life to warrant this? I can honestly tell you that murder has crossed my mind more times this week than it has in the past decade.

And I don't understand why they always have to be there. All I want is a little peace. And the chance to look at babies because they remind me of the good things happening in the hospital. Which you cannot do, btw. There's no happy nursery full of shiny, new babies waiting to fulfill their destinies anymore. All of the babies are in their own rooms with their mothers. Don't they realize that I have needs!?! I briefly proposed that we COULD go into one of the new mother's rooms and demand to see her newborn baby because we needed a brief happy place, but *apparently* that's frowned upon. I also decided that being arrested would probably not benefit my week. And I wouldn't do well in prison.

So now every time I step onto on the elevator, I pray that they're not there. But that also means that maybe their week has been more painful than it should have been, and I wouldn't wish that for them. Bad teeth and all. But I do so wish they'd find another floor to taunt. I've had more than my share.