One thing I have learned over the last couple of months is that you can’t control how people see you, how they judge your actions and reactions, or how you are perceived overall by those who know you and don’t know you. But I also know that there are times when someone else can point out things about yourself that you may not even realize that you do – habits, quirks and even flaws that when seen through someone else’s eyes give you a better picture of you.
As most of you know, I have been taking voice lessons for a few weeks (I am missing tonight due to post nasal drip taking my voice away) and the lessons have been challenging. My teacher and I are learning how each other works, what we can expect from each other and what buttons to push to get results and which ones will bring a negative reaction. And he has told me over and over how talented he thinks I am. And I have a hard time accepting it. Not because I think I am bad at it, but the flattery is uncommon to me and it feels awkward to hear it. It is my own self-esteem issues talking I know and I am learning, little by little, to let it feel better to me. To take it as it comes and not get flustered when I hear it.
So Sunday, my current voice teacher met my former voice teacher, Tracy at church. And what little conversation ensued basically came to this: my current teacher thinks I am “resisting” and that if I can get past the resistance, I could be so much better at this than I am. He told her that I don’t seem to realize what God has actually given me and that I am resisting the knowing.
And I found the whole concept interesting. I mean, I spent years denying I could sing at all. Then I finally put it to use at FBCW and yet he thinks I am resisting knowing about my gift. So I asked Tracy if she felt I had ever really gotten there with her. Was I ever not resisting when she taught me? And she said “not completely.” And this is where I learned something: She said that she had just given me permission to be a singer.
See when I came to Tracy for lessons, I was so broken. I had not sung in any way in 7 1/2 years. I had denied a large part of who I thought I was when I was younger. My father, at 47, had had a heart attack and died. I had dropped out of school for the semester. I was falling apart. And I felt called back to music. I think I needed the release. I needed the emotional outlet that singing had always been. And I finally sought it out.
And within a year of starting lessons, I was singing in the church choir, the praise team, doing solos and recitals and I was so happy again. And Tracy says that she didn’t really teach me all that much (something I disagree with) but she gave me permission to be a singer again. She gave me permission to be what I always felt I was.
I never thought of it that way. I never saw myself as needing permission to be anything. And yet her explanation made perfect sense. She helped me find myself again. And what is so odd, is that I turned to lessons again to do the same thing this time. I no longer need permission to be a singer. But I feel like I have been looking for validation that I AM singer. And that I can be a better singer with some work. I am not looking to find myself as much as I am looking to define myself.
I can’t say it will be easy. I will still probably resist. BUT, you can’t change what you can’t identify. And now that I know…well it is up to me.