Note to the reader: The content in this post is deeply personal. If you are part of my story- YOU didn't hurt me; I love you.
How this music teacher finally learned to sing
Thank you for being here as I “think out loud” – My hope is that we can resonate on a subject of growth and healing.
I grew up as the first born of two kids, eager to make the world happy.
I tried to be a good daughter, a good student, a team player, and a good friend because I was afraid of making others angry or disappointed in me.
But one thing I never tried to be good at as a child… was just being ME.
I didn’t know what that meant.
As far as I knew, following the rules meant there were fewer threats.
I thought “being good” is the way to make other people happy
Everything I knew revolved around rules; Written and unwritten rules.
The 10 commandments, board games, playground safety, sports, testing, job interviews, household rules, traffic rules… the list goes on.
I was good at looking for rules to follow, to avoid making a life-depriving mistake. (note the birth of perfectionism)
I never dreamed of being anything that meant people would look up to me with fear of EVEN MORE rules that I could never live up to.
I never questioned the rules; I feared them
As a child, I fell in love with singing.
It took years for me to work up the courage to ask for voice lessons.
My fears started to show up in my breath… I could never let myself relax enough to get enough air in my lungs to support the music I so desperately needed.
I’m sure you could imagine each voice recital after the next, my stage fright grew.
I was breathless, as if strangled by inadequacies with layers of shame interwoven.
Every lesson following a recital, I would rush there, my heart longing to JUST ONCE hear a word of encouragement; Just an inkling of my voice teacher believing in me.
That was the problem; I was looking to others for validation when I needed to look inside myself
On family car rides, my little sister told me to stop singing along with the radio.
She was being herself; I interpreted this to mean my voice sounded awful.
As a high school senior, my voice teacher then told me I wasn’t good enough to perform in college and that I should be a teacher. “You don’t have what it takes.”
My mom sat silently listening.
I had a new rule to follow. Don’t sing; Teach
I continued to choke on a song that was stuck in my heart… crying to be let out.
I didn’t know how to deal with my pain, so I denied it and hoped it would disappear in my new life as a music ed major in college.
My voice teacher in college was loud, boisterous, and zany. I was so intimidated. Then she quit.
My body couldn’t take the stress and then I developed allergies; I couldn’t breathe, only this time it wasn’t emotional – it was medical.
Eventually I adopted another new rule: I’m not worthy of a committed teacher.
I never auditioned for parts and watched my roommate and friends get leads in the musicals, the operas, and the choir solos.
I ached to be heard but I was literally afraid of my own voice
Nobody heard me in the practice rooms; I practiced my repertoire by singing at half volume so nobody could hear me in the hallways.
Sure, I sang in church & school choirs. It was safe there… lots of voices to hide amongst. I could sing full-out there.
Occasionally someone would remark how lovely my voice was.
I smiled, and then told myself they’re probably mistaking my voice for my neighbor’s.
It wasn’t until I was a teacher, when I realized the rules that I was living by were AWFUL LIES.
If I had 5th grade boys willing to stand up and sing a solo in front of 20 of their peers, what was my excuse?
I was finally ready to break the cycle of lies
Brick by brick to this day, I’m dismantling thick walls built around my heart, blocking my song from judgement.
LIES kept my song silent & I finally forgave myself.
Now I breathe with ease and I sing joyfully.
I am healing from the years of starving for the musical beauty that was conceived and never allowed to be born.
And God gave me a musical family; A gift beyond words.
I am worthy of my song; You are worthy of yours
I hope my story inspires healing hearts to ‘sing their song’ that’s been silenced for too long.
Maybe yours isn’t connected directly to music… maybe it’s a relationship that needs to heal.
Acknowledging something hurts is a gift; Our emotions are signposts that show us where healing can happen.
We were not meant to live in pain.
Could there be something in your photos that needs to heal?
Regardless of the subject, we all have layers of rules to break and fears to release.
If you need a friend to help you look at your photos with compassion, I’m holding safe space for you.
Give yourself permission to welcome healing; Help is a gentle hand stretched out, waiting for you to take hold.
Are you ready to rediscover love in your photos and stories?
Still not sure? Here’s a gift from my heart to yours. I hope it causes more healing hearts.
Let’s make reminiscing easy [and happy] again.
I dedicate this to Annie & Ruby who’s loving hearts are teaching me to question old rules that no longer serve.