I've said it many times here, I love being with my family, because I laugh and laugh and laugh. I have a hilarious bunch of relatives, and laughter is the strongest medicine there is. For my cousins and I, its a time of change and transition, marriage, family, babies, moving, and so there were a lot of tears this time too. I was reminded that rejection and feeling like a loser doesn't just happen to opera singers... it's the way people our age tend to feel in general! Whether we are attorneys, surgeons, dentists, singers or whatever. We are all afraid that some part of our plan is going to fall through, and that we are going to let our parents, friends, spouses, and ourselves down. We are afraid that we aren't good enough, and that everything we've accomplished up until now is all just a very lucky coincidence. Also, it is very difficult to get a job in the current climate, even for those who thought their degree would provide them with a sure thing. So we spent some much needed time commiserating, and lots of old stuff comes up, and the emotions you feel can be so intense. There were tears too, but it was a very healing and cathartic weekend. When you are healing from a tough year, it is important to be with people who understand you from A-Z, who have seen the evolution of who you are and know the very unique nature of your challenges as only family can.
It is true that our past does not define us, and that moving forward, we make choices everyday that can either reshape our lives, or keep us in the destructive pattern. But what has happened is impossible to forget, and it will come back sometimes unbidden, and affect the present in ways we never could have imagined. I am still trying to figure out how I can plan for those moments and keep them from affecting my performances. As Leontyne Price said, "I would never let anything keep me from giving my very best performance for the audience." And lord knows she had some challenges! But she kept it from getting to her in such a way that she was always in top form when she needed to be.
I am working on this.