I have a secret to share.
For months I didn’t tell anyone, but yesterday I spilled the beans to an old friend and it felt good to get it off my chest. While I was still struggling with it I was ashamed, but now that I am over it I can bring it to the light.
My apologies to those of you expecting something salacious but my secret is this: For a while a few months ago I considered not singing anymore. It’s not that I planned to take a vow of silence, I just wasn’t sure about the striving anymore. I thought maybe it was time to stop working so hard, to stop training my voice, so to speak. Maybe it was time to stop going to auditions and taking lessons and learning new rep and working so damn hard.
I was sick, stressed out, and overwhelmed. I was exhausted all the time and was giving what little energy I had to people, not to practicing. I was putting myself out there a little bit, and when I did the rejections came over and over. I was busy and beaten down.
The thought crept in: Maybe this is the end of the road for me. Maybe this is as good as I am going to get. Maybe I should stop striving. Like any good conservatory grad I pushed the thought aside – you don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars on a degree and then stop, right? Besides, what would people say? Wouldn’t everyone look at me and see a failure? In truth, I know plenty of people who gave up the life and now just sing for pleasure or not at all. You know what, they seem pretty happy. But I was ashamed to even consider it.
Yet one day I knew (and I wish I could remember what prompted this) that I had to sit with this idea for a while. I had to bring it out of the darkness and think about what it would actually mean. I had to take it to God and ask for the truth, even if the truth would be something I didn’t like. And since that day I took it to God in prayer, I haven’t given it another thought. I wrote “I am working too hard in a fallow season” and accepted that this was just a season and got on with my life.
Perhaps the time will come for me to cease my striving but now is not that time. Not because of pride or pressure but because this is what I am good at. Whatever other gifts I may have, music was my first and foremost, always, and was such an obvious combination of my blessing and my passion that not to develop it would be more than shameful. It would be sinful.
So for now I’m still singing, still striving.