A few weeks ago, when I was in the middle of life-transition blues, my mom shared something that really helped me through it. She told me that she felt the same way after every move, and she’s been through many as an adult. (She was a military kid, as I was, but how easily we transition when we’re kids!) After the house was unpacked, and we kids were off to school, she said she asked herself every time: Ok, where do I fit in this picture? Then she assured me that while the feeling may stick around for a while, one day she’d just wake up and it would be gone. She lived there.
Well, as moms often are, she was right. One day last week, I realized that the feeling of anxiety and fear that had been hanging around me since I arrived in NYC was gone. I live here, and my patterns are starting to show that. I’ve been more social, getting out to know the different parts of the city, going on some dates and spending time with friends and the Brooklyn Birds (brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew). An art exhibit, a concert, a friend’s recital (his first Winterreisse!), a cabaret show (where I saw Liza Minnelli!! Me: Look, there’s a Liza impersonator. MP: Um, no, that’s really Liza!), and yoga classes and workshops at my new yoga home. Lessons with Mark, of course, and audition and recital prep with JD.
I live here now.
But there is still fear. It’s just a different kind of fear, one that’s been with me for a long time and one that I’ve let dictate my actions for too long. Maybe writing about it here will help me conquer it. It is the fear of success.
Why I’m afraid of it, what exactly I’m afraid of, I can’t tell you. But I can see how this fear is starting to get in my way. I know that “Regnava nel silenzio” (from Lucia di Lammermoor) is going to be my aria, the one that says to anyone who heard me sing last year or the year before “Check this out: I’ve grown up.” The aria that is the difference between “We like her; let’s keep an eye on her.” and “We like her; let’s hire her.” My goal was to have it ready for my NY City Opera audition, which is on Monday. But have I done it? No. It’s stuck at the 90% level, all the notes learned, memorized, all the cadences settled, etc., but I just haven’t taken the time to really get it into my body and voice. I’m pretty mad about it, too, and I know I’m the only one to blame. I have so much time these days, a true luxury, and I’m wasting it. WHY?? Fear.
Today I went to a yoga workshop focusing on headstand. Many people talked about the fear that was holding them back from mastering the pose, and I realized that I’ve never been afraid of it. (My issues are balance and holding the pose, two things that are getting easier as my body gains strength and my mind gains clarity.) The teacher said that we too easily stereotype ourselves and psych ourselves out of an action; she called them “personal chauvinisms.” “I don’t do headstand.” If we say that, we’ll have a hard time ever getting our feet up there! It works the other way, too, and I think I’ve always seen myself as someone who does headstand. Sure, why not? So I do it.
After the workshop I went to coach with JD, and I realized that while I can do a headstand (I even held it for ten seconds by the end of the workshop!), I’m psyching myself out of a lot of other beneficial actions because of my fear. Singing the right rep is only one, but it’s a big one.
So tonight and tomorrow night and Monday morning, I’m living with Regnava. It’s time to stop being afraid of it and get it out there. Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead! Right? Eek.