Real, and well this is my life right now

So I found this quote on Ivy’s blog and nearly started crying. It’s silly, I know.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. May your coming year be a wonderful thing, in which you dream both dangerously and outrageously. I hope you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), I hope that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind. And I hope that somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

-Neil Gaiman, “A New Year’s Benediction”

But it’s just that I think I’m experiencing a period of self-hatred right now. I know that is probably silly, too. There’s all this crap about loving yourself floating around and being shoved down everyone’s throats, and up until recently I believed it. I wasn’t truly deeply happy, although seeing my family always inspires a serious dose of love. Upon reflection I think it’s that I hate myself. I love everyone around me. I love them so much it hurts and would never want to leave them (that’s why going back to Eastman generally just makes me sick). But me?

I feel stupid. I feel undereducated and barely literate. I know of few ways to rectify this and in any case my schedule this coming semester absolutely would not allow it. Those “fine books”? Yeah, right. Because I can read for fun. And if I could, where would I get the books? Rush Rhees? Because I have that much time.

I feel ugly. And I know it’s not what you look like that matters. That’s what I tell myself every day. I tell myself that just because I’ve gained a little weight I am by no means fat. I’m curvier, and that’s supposed to be attractive. Right?
I can’t even fall back on cleaning horse stalls to tone up. It’s winter and the tractor is clogging the barn. My dad cleans them every few days because he uses the tractor and if I tried messing with that whacked-out setup I’d break the barn. And if I make an effort to work out it will be like confirming I’m a mess and need to fix myself. I’m just scared to make a change, and for that I despise the insecure and procrastinating parts of myself that slap and tug, each in opposite directions.

The idea that I will kiss someone wonderful this year is unlikely at the very best. I need to not focus on boys or relationships. Boys terrify me. I hate writing that and I hate that it’s true. I hate that I’m too much of an insecure coward to take steps to get to know anyone like that. I hate that the only boy who would kiss me has two other girls he’s also propositioning and I hate that I would even consider that offer. I won’t take it. I know that he won’t care and we’ll move on and stay friends. Chemistry means nothing, the physicality of it all means nothing unless there’s love. And that’s just not in the game plan. I won’t waste my time when there are so many more important things to be doing.

That looks so dramatic and stupid and I’m sure that three years ago I’d’ve been scolded and told to stop being… oh shit what was it. “Emo?” Yeah, well… That was a long time ago and I know the psychology of my situation then back to front. I’ve put it aside.

But I’ve also thought through my life in terms of the big scheme and if I stumble across someone in the distant future who can value me as more than a good time, more than someone to manipulate, and more than a secret meeting, I’ll maybe reconsider. And to be honest I’m jealous of the normalcy, the innocence of my sister, because she has so many options and the good sense and sharp mind to tell all the jackasses and lost causes I seem to attract to go screw themselves.

So this is one step I can take. One thing I can and will firmly refuse. Without love, I won’t make myself vulnerable to anyone. It’s such a hopelessly romantic statement and looks like I’m a giant loser, but the drain that kind of attempt at loveless commitment can take would cost me too much, in terms of emotion, and time.

Most importantly time.

But I will sing. I will write and I may finger paint. If nothing else I will progress musically to the best of my ability, even if that ability happens to be less than everyone else there.

I keep returning to a thought: that I’ve been told I need confidence.

Well you know what? You get too confident and then life sucks when you find out you’re not even close to as good as you thought you were. You try your damnedest to mix humility with the confidence and hope you shine, hope to God it’s working because you crave to do what you love, and it hurts even more when it’s destroyed. You think you know something and you keep seeking that knowledge and you try and fall flat on your face. I’m in a place right now where if I take those kinds of chances and fall, I may not be able to get back up. Everyone knows everyone and they talk. They talk they talk and I keep thinking I don’t want to go back and spend as much time socializing because sleep is great, but apparently their opinions matter and I don’t quite know why. It’s only three and a half years more.

But these people will be around, connecting in the future, for the rest of my life. What do I do? I don’t know. I don’t know.

What do I want?

I want to dream. Dangerously, outrageously. I want to do, and do something useful to benefit people. I want to serve, I want to help. I want to give of myself to improve the life of someone else. I don’t want to dwell in this place where I’m sad and I’m stuck and miserable because I’m ashamed of myself.

I don’t just want, no– I don’t just want to.

I need to surprise myself.

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Musings on the probability of success

Today has been long and exhausting so far.

I had my choral ensemble placement audition today. I sound like crap, by the way. The humidifier I bought at Target was only on for about a half hour before I had to leave. My throat hurts. My head hurts. I’m not “sick,” yet, per se, but I sound terrible.

Being in that room made me want to cry. I know sol fege. But I sang do-re-mi-fa-sol-fa: and the ending note ascended. It should have been la. I wouldn’t be surprised, honestly, if the grad students and professors in the room (there were five) simply noted down that I should go back home. It was so not my best, but it was all I could do at the time. Competing with stupidly paralyzing nerves and my own lack of knowledge just exhausts me. That’s why I’m glad this isn’t a cutthroat place. If people were outright mean in addition to outstandingly talented, I would be screwed.

Apparently they told Rachael (who auditioned after me) that she sounds like a voice who will really succeed at Eastman. I (obviously) was told no such thing.

That’s really cool they told her that, and as I was talking to John and Tong I heard her and got distracted because it was so pretty. And it was only vocalizing.

But now I’m wondering what it would be like to fail. The parasitic leeching doubt’s just there, and, well… two years of previous classical study might not cut it. It wasn’t intensive study, either. I was part-timing it previously to this week.

Shouldn’t giving it everything matter, though? I know I’m practically infantile in my knowledge of classical music and opera. I get it, okay? But I want to learn. The desperate nerd in me is trying to drag classes closer so I can go and get some homework. The obsessive musician is clamoring for my lesson tomorrow so I can get feedback and have a concrete reason to work in a practice room for the maximum hours allotted a day like I really, really want to.

But on the other hand, what if I’m not qualified to be here? I’ve been telling myself, they’ll teach me. They’ll teach me. They won’t judge me for what I don’t know, they won’t hate me because I’m ignorant. Students or faculty, anyone I respect and/or admire for who they are or what they do, won’t think I shouldn’t be here because I’m still learning what they were proficient at years ago.

I don’t want to be considered out of the running for success simply because right now I don’t know anything. If I am willing to learn, isn’t that important? If I crave the knowledge I’ve seen in action here, if I want it and will reach for it with all that I am, won’t that factor in?

If the thought of failing is breaking my heart, shouldn’t that mean something?

This doesn't really lighten the mood for me, but he is my new humidifier/penguin

Look at me, I’m tired and being ridiculous (also known as me, philosophizing)

I realize this picture is possibly as pathetic as me right now and twelve times as lame/cheesy.

All anyone really wants is attention.

I’ve discovered recently (yeah, over the course of the past week and a half) that I have an ambition to act eventually. Someday. I’d just like to be on TV, to have a group of people appreciate me for what entertainment I can bring them.

Normal people, too, I mean. Opera people are weird: delightfully so, but weird. It would be interesting to have a fan base at all, let alone one of normal people.

This is why I think acceptance is so necessary for everyone. I’ve spent most of my childhood struggling to be liked and accepted by the other kids in my classes. Finally my child self basically said, “Fuck it, I’ll just go be smart on my own and if anyone wants to join me I’ll be reading and singing and xylophoning over here.”

Granted, that was just about a year and a half ago, but still.

Here again I sit and wish for MORE people to like me. MORE people to read this blog. MORE people to follow me on Twitter, to want me to sing, to ask if I’ve ever thought of TV.

I realize it’s not as simple as it sounds, but if Dr. Heischberger thinks I can then hell, I’d try it.

In any case essentially I feel pathetic for aiming for more and craving more but ambition keeps forcing me to run at a ten-foot-high stone wall. Here, try this angle, here, try it again, here, practice some more and daydream some more and get your hopes up some more, More, MORE.

Maybe I’ll succeed eventually but until then my daydreams are what feed my intensity and my goal-making ambition. I just don’t want to get my hopes up too ridiculously high only to fall flat on my never-to-be-filmed face.

Holy discontent

It’s been a few long months since I’ve heard that phrase.

I really don’t mean for this to be a themed blog, and once I get going I’m sure I’ll be writing more about other things… but lately God’s been on my mind so in pure honest fashion I’m just going to spew words through my fingertips and throw it all down.

I’m throwing down the fact that I haven’t set foot inside a church since my Uncle Bud’s funeral a few Fridays ago, and that made me feel nauseous. Not for my own personal awkwardness, although that did leak in during the beginning, the waiting. It was so similar to the Versailles church, where reverence and upturned-nose-piety went hand in hand. Stomach churning, I sat there until it passed. Then I was able to focus less on the setting that was so familiar and more on the funeral service, as was appropriate.

But then we sang, and the little girl (five or six years old) kept turning her head to stare at me. My mother was silent, as is her custom, and held the hymnal. The speaker/songleader at the time sucked. And it was all so routine and re-recognized to me that the hard sour slippery knot in my gut started to slosh once more.

It’s something about God that makes me want to wring my hands in frustration, then throw them out into the air helplessly, shouting at the sky. People fight and die and argue and hate and kill for God every day, not understanding that he is a god of love. Of deepest, truest love without boundaries, judgments, limitations or conditions. Whatever I’ve done, God loves me. That mentality collides hot and powerfully with something in my soul: the idea that my creator values me and cares deeply for me, no matter what I’ve done, always brings me back to him with an apology on my lips and questions in my eyes. What does God want from me in life? What am I supposed to be doing?

The knowledge that what I’ve done wrong so far will be overlooked as long as I’m trying to live a life of love is a happy truth I carry around with me every day, in place of the heavy guilty burdens I should have on my heart.

And there is where my seemingly peaceful and placid relationship with God ends. There is so much I really could be doing for him, I just don’t know what. Or how.

I used to be en route to changing childrens’ lives through Sunday School. Then I was tutoring. Then I was singing, a little here and there on the side for people who didn’t care. And then I was going to organize a read-in for deprived kids in Alexandra.

Now I don’t have anything driving me but the ever-present urge to learn music theory and Italian diction and perfect vibrato. Maybe that’s the mission God’s currently giving me: nothing of major importance to the world right now, but something that will spur me to success in the impossibly competitive world I will enter this fall. I don’t know for sure. I do know, though, that it’s been a while since I’ve felt the urgent nudge of a holy discontent I used to possess, and I wish I could experience it again and follow through.