It’s 11:00 pm and I’m at home for the first night in 5 days. I hate working nights. There is a reason why God created day and He created night. There’s a reason why it’s dark at night and light during the day. We were never meant to stay awake all night. Oh well – only 4 more to go.
When you’re up all night, you think about a lot of things. For me, I mostly think “Why do I work here? Why did I come home this summer and work at this job that stresses and tick me off more and more with each passing day? When can I go home? Why does a 10 hour shift only have an actual workload of 5 hours?” and on and on and on…
But what I’ve really been thinking about lately is: Where do I go from here? I’ve got one more year in Vancouver and then what?
For the past 22 years of my life I’ve turned my attention to thoughts of why I haven’t had one guy like me in those entire 22 years who’s not family, the Riders’ omnipotent troubles and my ever imperfect tummy and have completely avoided the questions of what to do with my life.
For years I’ve been in music. Ever since I can remember I was always the one who could sing in play piano. And I’d have to do it for everybody, no matter how I felt. I’ve finally realized that I don’t have to sing at Grandma’s Easter dinner if nobody else in the room is going to offer to do anything. Plus, they want to hear a pop song. Not opera.
Before heading to the U of R, I specifically remember saying to my Mom, “What if I’m not supposed to be doing this?” My Mom replied, “What if you are and you end up regretting it for the rest of your life?” Good answer. And so I slogged my way through 4 years of music. There were good moments and bad moments. I hated practicing. But I loved being on stage. The center of attention.
Thinking back to 4th year, I now realize that ending up in Vancouver was a stroke of luck. It was my only plan. My only plan that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to follow through with. I thought it was just “passing time” until I figured out what I really wanted to do.
And then there was the January crisis. I woke one morning to the sound of pouring rain and a pounding heart. Why am I here? Do I really want to be here? Am I just doing this because everybody says I should be? And a three hour long phone conversation with my Mom convinced not to hop on the next flight home.
This summer a few things have become clearer to me.
1. I don’t want a 9-5 job. I thought I did. But I don’t. It’s too restricting.
2. I want to travel. After living in Vancouver for a year and then returning to the 1600 metropolis that is Rosthern has made me realize that there is so much out there. I don’t want to limit myself.
3. I love singing. There is nothing I love better than driving in my car, singing at the top of my lungs – nobody listening.
This is all so jumbled. Sorry. It’s the 20 hours of sleep I’ve had in the past week…
For the past couple of months I thought that I was going to get a Master’s degree in Musicology, then a Doctorate, find a nice cushy academic position at a middle-sized university that would allow me to sing if my career took off. I don’t think I want that anymore. I don’t think I ever did. I think it was my professors saying, “Now don’t let your academic talents fall into the background.” One of my profs told me that if I didn’t go to Master’s school, she’d find a gun and shoot me. True story. I laughed. She laughed. She thought I’d go. And so did I.
I thought I wanted to be Dr. Hamm. I thought that would make me happy. But it won’t. Writing papers and researching things the night before would make me terribly unhappy. I love learning. But that’s what the Internet is for.
Our trip to California reminded me that there’s a performer in me that is just aching to get out. I want to be in the lights, the camera, the action. I want to be a star.
For years I’ve told myself that I’m not pretty enough, not talented enough, not driven enough, not smart enough. That I don’t deserve to be a top signer. That I can’t be. That I don’t have what it takes. That voice inside of me has constantly held me back.
But the only place I’ve ever felt truly accepted is on the stage. On stage I can do whatever I want. Be the person I want to be. I can be the coy, sexy ingenue that I’m much too shy to be in person. I can be the smart, witty heroine that I know I can be at times. I can be the selfish, aggressive villaness that I sometimes want to be. And it’s all okay.
I don’t know if any of this means anything. I’ve made these self-deprecating speeches before. I have no idea if singing would truly make me happy for the rest of my life. But I guess I do know that it is a significant part of who I am and who I will be. It makes me happy. So does an appreciative audience.
So now I’m looking into summer programs and music schools in Europe, reading biographies of singers I love and trying to figure out how to kick this whole thing off, all the while trying to quell this voice inside me that says, “You won’t do it. You know you can’t. You’re too scared.”
Scared. Hell, yeah (pardon my language). The thought of being 10 years down the road, making my last ditch effort to get into music by turning to “Canadian Idol” scares the living daylights out of me. But so does not seeing how far my voice can take me.
It all comes down to how much I want it. Some days it’s not so much, some days it’s everything. But no more can I deny that I don’t want it. At least I’ve learned that much.
(I would like to apologize if any of this doesn’t make any sense or more any typos, grammatical errors – whatever. I’m tired. I’m cranky. I need some sleep.)