It's opera week here, and life is a little more frenetic-- I have a couple of fourteen hour days ahead of me, but the awesome part about this week is that next week is Thanksgiving. And I am so excited about that, and getting away, and being in warm weather. Having a grandmother in Florida is lovely.
I got down to real brass tacks this week with my score study for an upcoming role, and it was so fun. I really like the processes involved in learning a role. I like the language part, the rhythm part, and especially the singing part. It's the most exciting thing when you realize how perfectly the music and the words/action of the scene match, and have a "moment" with the composer. We've all worked on piece before which we feel maybe wasn't a great setting of the text, or is awkward to sing, so it makes it even more meaningful to sing the really great stuff.
What's really scary, folks, is that Christmas is upon us, and I have to start thinking about parties and gifts, which I love, obviously. I adore Christmas, but I was in a bit of a negative downward spiral about my particular situation this year-- some significant changes in our families, and the fact that we won't have time to really be all together. I have been truly independent, especially since I moved back East for grad school, and never was one to call her mom every day or even week, or talk to my siblings often on the phone, like my cousins all do. I think I am a little bit envious of that, and I realize more this year than ever how important having a sense of close family ties is to me, despite the fact that differences between us may make it impossible. The great thing is that we've always been able to put the weird stuff aside and have a really good time together during the holidays, and I worry that we won't have that chance this year. Now this is the part that is going to sound really cheesy: I was listening to Oprah Radio the other day. Yes I was. And a couple of her favorite spiritual teacher types were on, talking about bringing more spirit and less stress to the holidays. And the part that I found really comforting was when the moderators of the show took time to remind everyone that Christmas, and all the holidays at this time of year are about finding peace. Peace, Joy, and Love in the midst of chaos. They are a reminder that out of the most difficult and ridiculously painful situations come decidedly beautiful things. I mean, it couldn't have been great fun to give birth to a baby with no epidural in a dirty, straw and manure filled stable, or cave, or whatever they've now decided it was.
That is why I cannot completely embrace the idea that "good" or what our brains process as happiness, bliss or euphoria, is the way we should feel all the time-- yes,okay, so being suicidal really is bad, and you would want to get help, and start some meds or something if it were that pronounced, and, I do believe that keeping a positive outlook is absolutely the most important thing you can do for your body and mind. BUT that is a whole lot easier when you realize that "good" is a much bigger idea than feeling good. What is good? I've heard being in labor is pretty darn "bad" but then you get a baby! And I know first hand that working out really sucks, and I definitely feel absolutely terrible while I'm doing it-- but then you get to be skinny! I've been through some truly icky things in my past, and some of it was pretty darn embarrassing stuff, but I like to think that the things I learned about myself, and the people the situations led me to, were worth it in the end.
While being an emerging artist in this country at this moment, who really NEEDS an opportunity to "emerge" is feeling a little challenging (understatement of the century), for me, the key to holding it all together is the strong belief that there is a place for me in the world of singing, and hard work pays off.