Why Stop?

11 Dec

I’ve been feeling kinda funky lately. A few weeks ago I had breakfast with my vocal coach Marie.  I hadn’t seen her in at least a year, in fact the last time we saw each other was 2 months after my last radiation treatment.  Sure, we kept up with email and Facebook, but this was our first face to face.  It was emotional because she was an integral part of recovering my singing voice after my first couple of surgeries. We were able to catch up on life and everything which had transpired. At the end of our meeting she asked when I would start voice lessons again.  Later the same week I had an appointment with my speech pathologist, again someone integral to my voice recovery. Dr Menaldi has always been there after each surgery helping me not only regain control of my breathing, but also strengthening the voice I was left with. At this particular appointment I told her I had seen Marie and she was excited that I would try to sing again. I told her I wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted and she said, “Of course that’s what you want, doesn’t singing still bring you joy?” Fast forward a few days later when I ran into a former music director. He asked how I was feeling and asked if I could still sing, I replied that I may be able to but am not sure I want to.  He asked the same thing, “Does it still bring you joy?” Most of you know that singing and music has always been a lifelong passion for me, it has always come easy and I have been fortunate to be able to sing at differnet venues throughout my life. When my nerve was cut during the first surgery leaving my vocal cord paralyzed, I grieved the singing, but it came back.  Cancer came back a second time and I grieved that part of me again, but my singing voice fought back. Cancer attacked yet a third time and it took a little more; not only the trauma from the surgeries, but also the massive doses of radiation have wreaked havoc on my voice and breathing. My voice has not been the same and yes I can still sing, but it requires so much thought, control and effort.  When I was told that there were cancer cells yet again last June, I gave up on the singing.  I was tired of grieving over my voice and trying to hang on to it, that I let it go. With these questions the past couple of weeks singing has been brought back to my mind…does it still bring me joy? Do I still want to try?

Tonight I went to my dad’s Christmas choir concert and watching him sing almost brought me to tears. I saw the excitement of the people singing together and just hearing the live music and watching the joy on my dad’s face just being a part, well, it was overwhelming. My dad is 70+ years old and here he was, still doing something he loved and was passionate about. I love music and I love to sing. I miss it and yes, it does bring me joy. I believe God gives us gifts and talents and passions and He gave me my music. I am tired of grieving over what I still currently have. Do we all do that? Give up before trying? Grieve over something or someone before it’s even gone? Is it fear of the unknown?

What are you passionate about? What lies in your heart that you are curious about and have not taken that step toward? What is holding you back?  My lesson was this again…life is short, too short to grieve what I still have. I miraculously still have my voice and my voice teacher and speech pathologist (along with my laryngologist, Dr Rubin) all tell me that there is nothing that can stop me from singing, so why did I stop trying? Despite a parlayzed vocal cord and some damage from radiation to the other, I can still sing and it’s a miracle. The only thing that was stopping me was me. Press on in your journey, don’t let yourself be the stumbling block.

Today I wear Smashbox True Color lipgloss in Fame. It is a beautiful rosy plum sheen with a lot of moisture (great for this time of year). I chose it not only for the color, but for the name. ‘Fame’ of course was one of the many shows I watched when I was younger that fed my love of music and the arts!


14 Responses to “Why Stop?”

  1. Jo December 11, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    Anna, you are so right on with this post. Never, ever be your own stumbling block. You must sing because you can. The joy will return, the work and effort will pay off and you will feel that soul shaking joy again.
    I just know you will.

    • Anna December 12, 2011 at 9:10 am #

      Jo, thank you so much for your encouragement!

  2. Kelly Louise (@GenePoolDiva) December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    You inspire me to sing with joy.

    • Anna December 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! Sing out!

  3. Claudia December 12, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    An interesting take on the theme, nice reading!

    • Anna December 12, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      Thank you Claudia!

  4. Angela Myers December 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    I do think you hit on the definitive criterion–does it still bring you joy?

    Our competitive society has brainwashed us into thinking we have to be best, or at least one of the best, at a job/hobby/pastime in order to justify participating. This is the proverbial excrement of the bovine. (Trying to keep it clean. ( – : ) If it brings us joy, that is sufficient. I have an odd voice, and more often then not, sing off-key, but it brings me joy. So I sing. I don’t sing solo, and I try to keep the volume down, but I reap the joy.

    My greatest ability is probably writing, but I know very well many others are better at it than I. Doesn’t keep me from doing it. I reap the joy. And every once in a while, I’m able to pass the joy on to someone else through my writing. You really can’t ask for more than that.

    So keep singing. Sing as long as it brings you joy.

    • Anna December 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      Thank you Angela. Yes, for me that was the ultimate question but what was interfering with my mind was how I used to sing before. I realized that it still brought me joy, however it may sound. I may no longer be the soloist, but I will still be singing my heart out!

  5. Karen Williams Taylor December 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    God tells us to, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord”. I think your singing is a God given talent and should be used as long as you are able. He doesn’t care if it sounds different and neither should you. Singing can bring joy to not only you but those around you. Go for it!

    • Anna December 12, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

      Thank you Karen! I believe that God saved my voice for a reason, I just didn’t think it would be to sing, but hey, why wouldn’t it be?

  6. danneromero December 12, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    thanks for sharing so openly….

  7. drchoneydew December 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

  8. Beth December 16, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    “Does it still bring you joy?”

    That really is the question, isn’t it? Living with passion and seeking joy is what makes us feel truly alive. Life is short and uncertain, but while we are here, we can love one another, create, and express ourselves is whatever ways spark the light within.

  9. Joyce December 18, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    It’s great to be passionate about music. I wish I could sing. I couldn’t hold a tune even if it were glued to my hands.


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