Life’s a bitch. I thought that having overcome my fears about my writing meant it would be like that in all areas of my life. It turns out I was wrong. As a child my biggest dream was to be a pianist, and also a vocalist of some sort. But I learned to believe I wasn’t musical enough and developed a huge block and a lot of fear around it. I also didn’t know how to learn. I kept trying, but every time the fear came up I gave up. Over the last 5 or so years I’ve broken down the learning problem with piano and I don’t run any more, but there’s still a lot of fear connected to singing. Of the nameless, shapeless sort.
But I haven’t been able to give up on that dream of being able to break through, and also of studying jazz voice at university. The other day I was playing piano and I suddenly got sick of the debate, should I shouldn’t I. I’ll never know whether I can succeed, or whether it’s really what I want, I’ll never be able to conquer my fear unless I do it, commit, take the risk and walk through the wall of fire. It’s enough now! I said. So I went to the college of music the other day and asked about studying.
Whew, it was scary. Young kids hanging out, being cool. I wanted to run, felt the darkness of my school days closing in on me. Nobody’s going to like me, I’m going to be laughed at, left out, alone. For a moment there I lost sight of who I am now. I became that hurt, broken child just trying to survive and not let anybody know what was going on inside. In moments like that, when I’m overwhelmed by the past, the fear of being insane is added to the mix. It’s terrifying. I’ve learned to just hold on, but I cling to the edge of an abyss.
I thought those days were over. Damn. Anyway, I didn’t run, so that’s something. I dragged myself to the office and met the nicest woman, who, in reply to my tentative and embarrassed question Can I study jazz voice even at my age? smiled and said why the hell not? My world shifted back to the present. I remembered I’m not that broken child any more, people don’t reject me now, they don’t leave me out of things, they don’t laugh at me. I’m able to open my heart and let them in and they do the same for me. The part of me that’s sane is stronger now than the part that still struggles sometimes for balance.
My lovely kind woman with the sense of humor was very matter of fact, gave me all the info, and played it all down, it’s not such a big deal. It’s amazing, the power of one person’s kindness and sane perspective. So then it got exciting. I walked away with brochures and the student handbook, and instructions for the audition. I’ve got until September 30 to apply, and until November 30 to prepare for the audition.
Even now as I type this, some of that fear filters back in. I don’t let it take control but I wonder, how did this terror get so entangled with my love of and passion for music? It’s beyond my capacity to penetrate with logic, or even my understanding of my childhood. What I do know is that for whatever reason, there’s a wall of fear that feels like a wall of fire between me and my singing. I’ve spent a lot of time believing that if I can understand it, the fear will diminish and it will be easier.
It has helped, my understanding, because up to now I couldn’t even contemplate studying, let alone getting information about it and saying yes I’ll do it. But from this point on, the only thing that will rob my fear of its power over me will be the experience of singing and seeing that I’m not destroyed. Dealing with any rejection that comes along. The only way to get beyond the wall of fire is to walk through it. So that’s what I’m going to do. With my heart in my throat.