Here I am at Dulles Airport, wicked early for my flight back to Boston, after attending a seminar at the CCM (Contemporary Commercial Music) Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah University. (More on that in a minute.)
Since the moment Neil was born, I realized that Mommy-hood (and Daddy-hood!) is a big ‘ol series of firsts and lasts. A fluctuating state between excitement and mourning. I cried for a month in anticipation leading up the end of my maternity leave. I made it through, obviously, one day at a time. Some mornings, usually around Wednesdays, I STILL don’t want to leave him.
This trip to Shenandoah University in VA was my first overnight (4 of them, actually!) away from the 2 year old. As I was leaving Boston on Monday, it hit me: I can have these moments of freedom when I go to work, or go to work out, or take a nap (that’s a rare moment), or get a pedicure…but until I am physically away for an overnight, do I truly get to reconnect with who I was before I had him. I didn’t have to clean up the kitchen while he was down for the night, or clean up toys, or think of what to make him for dinner, and then what to make him tomorrow for dinner, what to do with him if he doesn’t take a nap, if he needs a bath, etc. It was such a distant feeling that I reconnected with, just only thinking about what *I* needed or wanted to do in a day/night. I haven’t done that in nearly 3 years. (I count pregnancy as mommy-hood) Naturally, my first order of business before the seminar began was a mani/pedi. Score. Then I yelped where the nearest Whole Foods was, and it was 30 miles away. Dorothy, we’re not in Cambridge (MA) anymore, where I lived within 2 miles of 3 different Whole Foods Markets. Anyway, my point is, I did whatever the heck I wanted to do, and went wherever I wanted to go. Such a simple concept that I don’t take for granted anymore.
The seminar was beautiful. And geeky. And supportive, and reassuring. I was listening as a teacher AND as a singer who needs help. This whole blog is dedicated to me getting my voice back since having Neil, and how to identify and rid tension in my body. Besides the obvious neck and tongue tension that I have that inhibits my singing sometimes, I also have a lump in my throat whenever I even THINK about singing and connecting with my voice. It’s like I’m overwhelmed by emotion that I have supressed by not taking care of myself through singing and releasing my shit. So, it’s gathering right in my throat and I just end up crying. I’ve never been to a therapist because I ALWAYS got that therapy through writing and singing. But, I haven’t written a complete song by myself in probably 4 years, and I haven’t sung seriously in a few as well. So there you go. Take away that brand of therapy and also take away the freedom that I used to have to go for a run whenever I want, and I am quite the head-case sometimes. During the seminar, the one idea that jumped out and spoke directly to me was when Sheri Sanders (omg she’s brilliant- look her up) said that if you are a crier and can’t make it through a song without crying, to just try your best to KEEP SINGING through it. That this will train your nervous system to overcome that lump in your throat, and over time it will subside and dissolve.
with my colleague and voice teacher, Marcelle Gauvin
I sang a song in the open mic last night. I didn’t cry during it. Progress. I had to accept where my voice is at right now…which is a heck of a lot better than where it was a year ago (thank you, Marcelle Gauvin!!), and, as usual, I had to accept that I am not an outwardly showy singer. That I want my tone, my phrasing, and my lyrics to shine- not the amount of notes that I can sing per second, or not that I can belt way above my passaggio (or, as Jeff Ramsey calls it, my “Pistachio” :) ), which I can, by the way. That has never been how I communicate my feelings- and that is OK and valid. So, I didn’t cry DURING my song, but I want to give a big shout out to CCM faculty member Ed Reisert, who I cried my eyes out to after the open mic, while trying to explain where I’ve been vocally coming from lately. So embarrassing, but I just couldn’t hold it in anymore…so why not cry to a complete stranger? Thank you for not making me feel like a freak.
Ah, so much more to absorb about the 4 days away from home that I just had, but it’s boarding time. I made it through my first time away from the munchkin.
Talk to you soon, singers. <3
P.S. Another big shout out to my aunt and uncle for taking care of me before I drove down to Shenandoah U. They live outside of D.C. and I miss going to see them. It was an amazingly delicious pit stop, with a gorgeous homemade lunch.