Yesterday, someone that I had sung with years ago (about 12 years ago, in fact) in an opera apprenticeship, linked her new professional website up to facebook, so naturally I visited her site to check it out. As I was browsing the site, I felt sad, a little empty, and felt some regret. You see, I don’t usually finish what I start, if I don’t “sense” that I am going to have major success. I have a huge fear of failure…..so much so that it is overwhelming. I also have a tremendous fear of rejection, so……..I think you get it?
Twelve years ago, I spent the majority of my day thinking about singing, working with a voice teacher and coach, or preparing for performances. I DID have talent, and I had support and encouragement. I thought I was going to “be somebody”…..and prove to everyone that I had what it took. Back twelve years ago, I also had a 3 year old daughter, I was newly divorced at 23, and deeply confused about how I got where I was, after having such a promising future. I was living by myself, Haley was living with my parents in Kansas; and I was in Arkansas living in a 12×12 room with 2 other divarific girls that had all the confidence and naivete in the world, with no air conditioning in May-August (that sets a very good example of the posh surroundings I was in). I had faced some pretty darn harsh failure and rejection after my placement audition, and I was feeling at the bottom of the barrel. Each night, I would go out to the lake, and watch the sun go down, feeling as if it had just set on my dreams. (Yes, I am being dramatic here, but bear with me).
One night, instead of going to the lake, I walked down to “Inspiration Point,” a gorgeous overlook off of the side of a mountain, to watch the sun go down. As I sat there, I felt like the voice of God whispered into my ear….”you don’t belong here.” By “you don’t belong here,” I mean I didn’t belong in a place with ambitious, star reaching, focused singers. All of the training,artistic development, harsh criticism, etc, it was meant for THEM, not for me. You see, I had a boy back at home in Topeka. He loved me, and really missed me, and I knew that with all of my heart. I knew right at that moment, I was meant for something different.
So, yesterday, after leaving my laptop and this lovely professionally designed singer’s website in search of a kleenex to dry my tears, I walked past my front door. There sat Ivy’s pumpkin from Halloween, glowing in the sun. It really made my heart deliciously happy right at that moment. Something so simple, yet so beautiful…….an aging pumpkin.
I realized, right at that moment, I never ever would have seen that pumpkin, so lovingly carved with a sweet brown eyed little girl, if I would have kept pursuing that dream; and that would have been infinitely more sad than any rejection or failure that I faced from some pretentious opera judge or director. I would have missed that.
So, while I have watched a few dreams die over the last few months, I know one thing. Maybe those dreams didn’t die, they just became something else that will be infinitely more beautiful than I ever dreamed in the coming years. You see, it took 12 years to see an aging pumpkin face and have a revelation, so what will 12 years of other sunsets bring?