I found a long lost part of my soul today. Calming music filled the air as I researched some things in my office. It occurred to me that I hadn’t allowed myself to listen to and truly enjoy good choral music in a long time. For those who don’t know, vocal performance in a town with a unique and high level arts culture is an overarching part of my childhood. That was my preferred outlet. I was good, albeit not confident. This always had me wondering how good I could be if I let it all go. I lost count of how many times a vocal teacher, director, or peer tried to loosen me up. There was so much talent and beauty just waiting for me to release it. That heavy, scared, and doubtful pent-up energy was evident. I was stiff. Stuck in perfection. It was a self-made prison as much as it was an outlet. I loathed university voice studio performances because I was always being told to move more. To let the tension go. I was open to the criticism of my peers. Relax and let it all go? Me? Not likely. Every once in a while, I still have panicked nightmares about voice studio.
As a child I was in childrens’ choirs, school choirs, the top choirs. I did it all. I didn’t audition for the traveling performance choir until I aged out of the non-audition one because I was too scared. But when I did… Oh, the experiences. I learned discipline, performed gorgeous arrangements, had workshops with the likes of Simon Carrington, and performed on stage at Carnegie Hall. It was a big deal, but I couldn’t really fathom how big a deal. It actually felt rather normal. Even now I downplay it all. And of course, the tension, fear, and perfectionism never left.
As all this flowed through my mind, the nudge to find Eric Whitacre on YouTube was strong. So I put in my earbuds, found a playlist, and let it go.
Oh, my friends. It washed over me in a way music hasn’t in a decade. It filled me, lifted me, moved me. At the third song, I closed my eyes. The vision was immediate.
There I stood: a soloist onstage in her ball gown-esque performance attire, singing. Standing in my power. Freely. Openly. Without pain or struggle or perfection. And I was brilliant. My voice. My stance. The flow. My all-encompassing essence.
In releasing perfection and control, it was perfect.
Sitting with this vision, I cried. Whether I’ll endeavor to ever sing in that capacity is questionable. Although it was glaringly evident that I must reintroduce music into my life. A piece of my soul is dormant without it.
Above all, I know this: that woman is who I am becoming. It’s who I’ve fought so hard to unleash. Now I finally know it’s time to stop fighting. She doesn't need a warrior. Let her be. Let her fully emerge. Let her shine. Her struggle is done.
Let that brilliant, beautiful, courageous woman have her stage.
Because it’s time.