{11•5 gratitudinous}

I started voice lessons from the time I was nine years old because I was helping the teachers’ pets stack chairs in the music classroom after school, imitating the opera singer on the recording that was playing – and the music teacher immediately called my parents. I don’t know how, since we didn’t have money for that type of extra, but he talked them into voice lessons. He was insistent that I was going to BE someone. The next Leontyne Price, a rising Jessye Norman. Or… something.

Honestly, that felt… like… a lot. I didn’t feel like I had a say in this fabulous new version of me everyone was anticipating. I didn’t like everyone looking at me. I didn’t want to be on stage. I was intimidated by my own fool self. My voice felt too big. When I let it out, people noticed – and commented. And they weren’t always circumspect or intelligent comments. I wanted to hide it. Sometimes I still want to hide it.

But it’s ME. It’s MINE. Claiming your whole self is not a small thing.

So, thanks, for that. For reminders of what we can control – our skill development, our attitude. For reminders of what is outside of our control: our talent, other people’s attitudes, and the past. We choose what steps we can, today.


Breathe in:
lift, elongate,
press, lungs! create some space
while ribs, cradling firm, embrace —

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