Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The importance of friends

I am inspired by the women in my life, and pat myself on the back every time I think about my small circle of good friends.  I'm not sure quite what I did to deserve them, but I'm not asking any questions!
Among them are several excellent singers, an amazing mother and teacher who has been bravely but successfully moving forward during a hard time for her family, another is the model of tenacity and resilience as she follows her dream of singing even when its not easy, one just moved to New York City and is keeping her attitude positive as she looks for a job and tries to make ends meet while at the same time trying to keep auditioning and her voice in good shape without money for lessons, one is a brilliant writer and business woman who was able to meld her vocal talent and writing ability into an outstanding libretto, one is an independent business woman who is one of the hard-working few that have had the smarts and virtuosity to make music her full-time career, successful even in a tough economy in which music is viewed as a luxury by many.  You can't be a shrinking violet and accomplish all this.

It has taken time and effort to build friendships with people I respect and admire.  They are a resource for me, providing advice and counsel that has never steered me in the wrong direction.  They are the ones who came to my house to eat pizza with me when I thought I bombed a singing engagement and was a crying, sobbing mess, listened to me complain about the challenges at my day job, and checked on us when we're sick.  I suppose that good fortune brought these people into my life, but it has taken effort on both ends to keep each other there-- the trick is that we both know that.

Do you find yourself disappointed or annoyed by the people you spend time with (your friends) more than you are uplifted and inspired?  Decide that you are going to be an inspiring, uplifting person, and then go looking for others that are too.  I have not reached my goal of being one hundred percent inspiring and uplifting altogether, as I am human, and sometimes I freak out, vent, cry, and have bad days.  Nonetheless, I do try not to leave a conversation with a friend on a downer or a low note.

As singers we have many people in our lives that are important to what we are trying to accomplish.  Directors, conductors, coaches, teachers, mentors, fellow singers, reviewers, pianists, etc.  We are kind and respectful to each of them, but I always found it hard not to confide in everyone.  Singing and creating music with someone is such a personal experience, that it is easy to over-share with collaborators.  I have made this mistake so many times, not realizing that I was becoming annoying, or perhaps that the person I was working with professionally was not necessarily someone I could trust personally.  Which is why I finally figured out that its important to have good friends and a long-suffering husband, so that we have outlets for talking through our issues that are appropriate and keep us from not being asked back!

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