Okay, now you probably think I’m nuts, but it is.
About ten years ago, I was accepted to the music program at a community college. The director of the program told us on our first day, that the reason we’d been accepted was because we had a shot to make it as a professional musician. I was accepted as a vocalist into the jazz program. I’d recently got into jazz and lucked into finding an accompanist who knew the type of material they wanted. I was 30, surrounded by what looked like teenagers straight out of high school. Straight teenagers.
There were 7 of us vocalists, who were second class citizens in the program. The instrumentalists were assigned groups to play in, but those groups didn’t include a vocalist. We were supposed to somehow find people willing to let us practice being a vocalist with, practice with with no sound equipment, with no mic or monitor to hear ourself in against a 6 piece band playing full volume. It was some kind of hell where they gave me the means to access the dream I’d had since I was 8 years old, and then tore that dream apart, piece by piece, while I struggled to hold it together. I got an A+ on all my vocalist work, and much lower marks in some of the other courses, because they, being geared for kinesthetic instrumentalists, were all about learning by doing, with explanations, demonstrations or questions not permitted. I now understand how frustrating the normal visual oriented schools I excelled in were for kinesthetes, but it didn’t make it any less painful. I had one teacher (now the head of the vocal program, though she’s not primarily a vocalist) tell me she had no time to answer questions when I came to see her during office hours, nor would she permit them in class.
I lasted a year and a half, while working full time at my regular job at the same time. It took me at least 5 years to heal enough to perform again.
How does this relate to my sinus infection?
I think I had one then.
I had trouble hearing the differences in notes that I had to identify and transcribe. My processing speed was too slow to write them down when they were played at tempo. My ears hurt. I thought I had allergies.
Earlier this week I was singing with my new musical collaborator, and my dormant sore throat went into full raw glory within about an hour. Next morning it was so bad that I cancelled my work meetings and stayed home.
I figured it out a couple of days later, once I discovered that you can’t have a cold for a month. They resolve within two weeks. However they can set you up for a sinus infection, and according to my extensive internet research I have all the symptoms. Not only do I have an acute infection now, looks like I’ve had a chronic infection for years, chronic cough, perpetual sore throat.
So, self-sufficient and doctor visit disliking person that I am (I can’t stand to be condescended to), I researched home solutions. I found a somewhat gross but seemingly effective home treatment (you don’t want to know) that uses salt water to loosen and flush out the infected gunk in the sinuses. But now that the treatment is starting to work and I can see how differently I breathe, I’m thinking that maybe this infection is a gift from the Goddess.
I’m ready now, to sing and write about what really means something to me. I’m strong enough to make art that reflects MY experience, that doesn’t force me to pretend I didn’t live getting raped or living in fear of getting raped daily for ten years of my life, when I was a young, resourceless, defenseless girl. I am willing to make art that reflects the bitter, hard, lonely and profoundly spritual lessons I learned when I was fighting for my life and when I was fighting to transform those experiences and integrate them into the proud, strong, warrior priestess I’ve become. I shouldn’t have to earn the right to just be honestly who I am, but I have and I will and if people find that uncomfortable, it’s good for them and they need to deal with it.
So it’s good now that I start doing that, singing authentically rather than stupid stagnant cover tunes of dead men and love songs written for straight people, that the Goddess hands me the resources I need to be ready, to regain my voice as well. This is another sword dance.