A symphony of sympathy ;)
I’m not usually given to whinging online, but I’ve had a bit of a shit year so far.
We lost two kitties this year to illness. First we lost our beautiful red-point Siamese Aloysius to his heart condition. Not long after that we lost our youngest, Tegan, to FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis). Our animals are our family, so the grief has been intense. Between all this loss, a cyst in my abdomen exploded and I had a lovely trip to the hospital for emergency surgery. I spent a few fun weeks in the ward on Morphine (that stuff is such a trip, woah) and then more fun weeks at home incapacitated by a 25cm scar straight down the front of my abdomen. Thank goodness I have my beautiful Glennda who nursed me back to health so lovingly. I don’t know what I’d do without her! And I’ll tell you what, you don’t realise how much you use your abdominal muscles in your daily life (just to stay upright) until you don’t have full use of them. A slice straight through the diaphragm ain’t great for the singing either. Recovery has been slow and I’m only just getting back into the swing of things after about 8 weeks off. Talk about cabin fever, I’m glad to be back in the world!
Creatively speaking, it’s also been an extremely up and down year. On the up side, I’ve done some extremely well received solo concerts around the country, riding on the wave of my ARIA Award winning first album. I’ve also recorded my sophomore album and although it hasn’t met with quite the same commercial success as the first album, I am still extremely proud of it (truth be told, I’m more proud of it than the first! But that’s a whole other blog post.) On the down side, a few opportunities ended up falling through for various reasons and, like every other artist would, I was left feeling disappointed and sad and wondering why I do it.
It seems easier somehow to focus on the negative things, to wallow in self pity, to blow it all out of proportion. Sympathy is a very comforting lovely thing to receive from others. It feels good to hear someone say “Oh you poor thing, how awful”. We feel that someone understands us which is so difficult in a world where all artists are misunderstood. Well, not really, but that’s one easy way to justify our need for sympathy and to accept it so readily when it arrives.
So I am going to attempt a little alchemy, to metabolise this pain I feel as energy to do new things. I’ve analysed what has happened, I’ve taken the lessons that I needed to learn from my experiences and I’m going to use them to do what I do best. What is the thing I do best? I’m realising that my best talent is being good at being myself - a teensy bit of a renegade, an individual, a game changer, someone who doesn’t fit comfortably into any preconceived idea of what a classical musician should be, someone who pushes the envelope a little. This is a strength not a failing.
What’s your strength?