Oh, say, why is it that I cannot sing - correctly ?
We make choices. Choices have consequences. We do not always understand why we must make the choices we have to make, but we know, based on our moral compass, why we make them, if we have an understanding of who we are and where we want to go in life.
Once upon a time, I hopped on a plane and went to California.
I saw the big trees. I saw a beautiful amusement park on a really wonderful boardwalk. I saw the really steep hill, and yes, Andrea and Francesco, I too ate Seafood in San Francisco.
I remember I even bought a really fantastic pair of pants at The Banana Republic across the street from the hotel I was staying in because my punky mamma street clothes were not fancy enough for the event I was attending. At least in my mind they weren’t, and those pants were perfect. I bought a red sweater, too. Certainly, I don’t fit in them anymore, and they have been donated or thrown out. That is an outfit I will always remember. That was a classic.
I attended the event, and then my Dad summoned me home, and I went. My flight landed in Philadelphia where I went straight to the last custody hearing in what ended 7 years of litigation. That is all I am going to say about that because that is my past.
My first, and chosen profession is that I am a professional singer/actress/dancer. I have made the choice to take positions outside the realm of which I am a degreed professional because a court order said that I had to, because I had a certain earning capacity based on false information. I have spent years defending my life and staying positive about it – making the best of every moment. In turn, I have gained almost 10 years of business, human resource, legal, accounting and leadership education because I saw how I could grow in the face of an obstacle.
I figured out how I could combine the arts into what they wanted me to be, and I grew into something even bigger than I ever dreamed of being – something I never even imagined that I wanted to be, but I love more and more everyday. Me.
So, Thank you for these parameters and obstacles that you have set before me, as they have forced me to climb and I have learned that I am the only one that I need to prove myself to day after day. That being said – as I sit here writing this, I think about my childhood friends, who did make the choice to go to NY and perform on Broadway. I think about their precious, precious voices. As I think about my own precious voice.
A performer’s voice is their handheld. A performer’s voice is their computer. A performer’s voice is their latest release of iOS of their silicon that they are now producing in San Jose rather than having to import. A performer’s voice is their instrument to produce the emotions that move you to understand life’s mysteries as presented by brilliant playwrights and composers. A performer’s voice is extremely delicate, and susceptible to infection if not cared for properly. A performer’s voice, if hit with Covid19, becomes a disability.
Knowing that I myself cannot fully support singing correctly at this juncture, and that if I am singing with correct technique, that it should not hurt in anyway, and that it does hurt – I have due reason to wonder – did I have Covid19 and work straight through it, working close to 60 hour weeks, because work needed to get done, and that is my work ethic. Is the pain in my chest an after effect of Covid19? Why can I not sing The Star Spangled Banner in it’s entirety without getting winded ?
Am I thirty pounds overweight ? Yes. I have been on more prednisone in 2019 and 2020 than I care to think about – I have an Amazing allergist who understands that I am a professional singer, and that even though I am working in retail, I still need to preserve my voice. Getting sick so often this past year has put me on strong antibiotics and prednisone to wipe it out, and prednisone puts weight on you, in your midsection. Yes, I have thirty pounds. That thirty pounds should not make me be this much out of breath. When I go up a ladder cart, I should not be out of breath, when I go up and down my stairs, I should not be out of breath, when I took my trash out this morning, I should not have been out of breath. Thirty pounds overweight and trying to run at a sprinter’s pace, yes, I would say I would be out of breath. Not walking.
Do I have asthma ? Yes. I have terrible asthma. My chest has never felt like this – this is different. I cannot sing a full passage. I know it is in my chest, because I know how to sing technically correct, and I cannot.
Without unemployment, Artists who will return to Broadway, will be forced to find jobs that will put them at risk for Covid19. If they should happen to get Covid19, their voices are their livelihood, and they will have an inability to perform their job functions. They will have a disability.
I do have an intellectual disability. Sometimes it is difficult for me to understand concepts that I am not familiar with, and so I need to see them in different modes so that I can digest them and understand them for myself in my own way of understanding. I have tried to understand how the choices I have made have led me to not being able to sing The Star Spangled Banner, The National Anthem. Correctly. With proper technique, without my chest hurting.
For once, I don’t have an answer.