Singers’ block

August 29, 2009

I’ve been depressed again about singing. I start to work on some vocalises and then just burst into tears, so aware of every imperfection, every lost micron of What Used To Be. Let’s just say I’m not aging gracefully. This December I turn 42—past my prime, vocally speaking, and with no direction for what comes next.

I go through these cycles periodically, where I have to question (in the words of Talking Heads), “Well, how did I get here?” When A. left Kaia a few years ago, I had a major episode of this sort of thing. I was born to sing, raised to head for Broadway, I was going to be a star, oh blah blah blah. And here I was in this tiny little town putting on tiny little shows for tiny little audiences and having no impact in the way I’m so hungry for.

Woe be I! Sniffles. It was during part of that cycle that I came to my artistic credo: To create transformative experiences for people through the performing arts. But how to do that?

I catalogue my skills and they seem mostly…I don’t know, non-singer-y? I mean, I can carry a tune and all that, but the things that make me stand out in Kaia are things like arranging a tune, crafting a setlist (creating experiences) and being able to listen to the different voices while singing. I don’t think I add that much to the group vocally; I could be replaced with a high mezzo and leave it at that.

But the larger issue is really whether I’m losing the quality of my instrument through age and poor use. And that makes me very sad indeed. Janiece and I did impromptu ritual at my last lesson because I burst into tears with our second vocalise. My mantra is to be, “I am living my next/new life in this body.” I accept that the old is gone and I am here now, present and accounted for. She drew some tarot cards and placed The Empress at the center. Isis. (Just got back from the Indy Tut exhibit last weekend and my goddessdaughter was calling me “Tante Cairril Isis” one day.)

I appreciate the need to refine the technical aspects of my voice but part of me just wants to sing with abandon. To sing with total abandon. To sing because I am made to sing. Because I Am. To sing is to be; to be is to sing. I just wish it sounded better! 🙂

If nothing else, I know I’m a good performer and can put on a good show. I pay a lot of attention to the audience and can adjust delivery based on where they’re coming from. Is that enough? My breaking heart says no, that I want my delicious, juicy, young voice back—the voice that could do anything I asked of it.

I don’t know my path and can’t find my way. I pray my voice will be mine again at some point, and fully an expression of my artistic and spiritual self.