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Last night I watched a re-run of America’s Got Talent. Barbara Padilla sang and of course blew the judges away. Me too. She’s from Mexico, her mother used to play opera all the time and she sang along. She didn’t become a professional though, it’s hard to understand why, her voice is phenomenal.
She was light years ahead of everybody else, but she didn’t win, because not enough people like opera. It’s a weird competition. I think the judges recognize talent, but talent doesn’t dictate the winner. It’s the ultimate illustration of the real value of being worshipped by millions or being cast aside. It doesn’t say anything about talent at all. Doesn’t mean you’re really good – or bad – at what you do. It says the people who vote don’t put talent at the top of their list.
I wonder how many people there are whose creativity never sees the light of day because they believe they aren’t talented enough to win huge competitions, so they don’t start with the small steps. They just put it all aside. Watching Barbara, at one point I thought what the hell am I doing? I can’t sing like that. I felt myself get smaller and smaller, until I had convinced myself that I couldn’t sing at all.
Then I remembered. I’m not in competition with anybody. So I sang something out loud, and felt the pleasure of it, and that was enough. I’m not Barbara Padillo, and of course I wish I could express through such powerful talent. Oh my, it must be glorious. Well, I can give up because I’m not the best, or I can accept what I am and do the best I can with it from now on. It inspired me to be more focused.
Big dreams, big competitions, are important, but you have to be careful about letting the dream get so huge that there’s too much of a gap between them and the reality of what you’re able to do, because it’s the action that makes it happen. It’s easy to become discouraged if you can’t do small steps. If you stay in your head, and get too disconnected from doing the thing you love, the dream gets bigger and more distorted and you get smaller and more disabled.
So, dreams are great, performances are wonderful, but so is practicing, and the small steps. A balance between the two makes the whole package. You start with the second and build up to the first. I’d love to see a talent show that’s about the build-up, the practicing, blood sweat and tears, facing fear, needing support.
I’m going to call that teacher I had once, to at least find out what she charges. I’m in a different place, more receptive perhaps, less defensive. Maybe this time I can access what she has to offer. Still can’t afford it, but I might as well ask the question. Surely some kind of solution will open up.
Right. Time to sing. Whoopee.