Monday, November 05, 2012

Obstacle Obliteration Step 2: How did I get here?

So by now you’ve started to notice all the ways the thing you’re trying to overcome is really cramping your style.   Or the style you aspire to ultimately display. 

We’ll just use my obstacle as an example—for some reason, I find myself absolutely able to express myself in some ways, and in others, I say what I think for fear my comments will be seen as not PC enough.  In other words, I am constantly editing myself.  I have become hyper-vigilant in such a way that I constantly question myself in everything by way of a running inner-monologue about everything I do and say.  Which has turned into, you guessed it: self-doubt. 

Instead of walking on stage with the goal of projecting confidence and sharing with the audience via the complete mastery of my craft, I walk onstage wanting to be down-to-earth and self-deprecating.   And you know where that will get you when you’re singing “Sempre libera?”  Absolutely no where fast. 

I think it's a carry over from my pianist days that I never want to be “one of those singers.”  You know, the full-of-herself, annoying kind, whose every move is designed to attract the most attention and whose every artistic choice is based on her absolutely unbelievable high Q above L.  There are certain places and certain times in the life of a soprano when being super wonderful beyond belief is absolutely the right thing to do.  And it is every single time you open your mouth to sing.

The other thing that comes into play for lots of us is that perhaps we weren’t really raised with the message that its okay to stand out because you’re really, really good at something.  Maybe blending in was better.  Maybe in your family being a self-assured person wasn’t really valued.  I sincerely hope that my words will not offend anyone, because you know that I am a person who believes deeply in spirit and faith.   But in my family when I was growing up, there was no room for self-assurance or confidence, because we were taught that human beings have a sinful nature and cannot trust themselves to do what is right.  We were taught that all trust and confidence should be placed in God and the interpretation of the bible to which our religion ascribed.  Therefore, I did not learn to trust my instincts, to listen to myself, or to respect my own ideas.  So you can kind of see where I’m coming from here.

Understanding how I got to this place, knowing that it's a combination of my both my childhood, and my own issues with the singer stereotype (which, by the way I am not perpetuating and do not need to compensate for) helps me realize that I do not have to claim those things as mine.  They are no longer relevant to me, because they are not beliefs that I ascribe to.  When I begin to separate those things from my idea of who I am, I am beginning the process of edging them out of my consciousness. 

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