I spent most of Sunday afternoon sitting by fireplace, reading a book and ignoring my own resolution to practice singing every day until my January recital. Why?
No really, why was I avoiding doing something I knew I wanted to do?
The simple answer is that singing, at least this kind of singing, is hard. It takes discipline to study the songs and plan the breaths and train my body to support the high notes. It takes effort to tolerate my own mistakes and try again. It takes drive to schedule a practice time and stick to it. Practicing is work, and who wants to work when there’s a fire in the fireplace and a good book to read?
I want to do the recital, and I know I should practice, but I’ve never been good at doing things just because I should. I do things because I’m passionate about them. Once the passion is there, I can be incredibly disciplined, but without the passion, I’m pretty hard to motivate.
Now, I have some serious passions. I am passionate about my family. And I’m passionate about elder care. And I’m passionate about acting. So I do a lot of things that aren’t terribly exciting, like cooking dinner or trimming my mom’s fingernails or learning my lines, because I’m devoted to a larger passion.
I tell people that singing is a ‘lifelong interest’, and as a ‘useful skill for an actor’, but I haven’t ever acknowledged it as a passion. It just seems so darn selfish and frivolous. And, okay, yes: embarrassing. Sure, I love to sing, but who cares? If it’s just an ‘interest’, shouldn’t I be learning something truly useful, like knitting? At least I’d get some nice sweaters for all the time and money I’m pouring into voice lessons.
But I don’t want to knit sweaters. I can buy sweaters. I want to sing.
This is a passion.
And that’s terrifying, because what if I suck at it? What if people don’t want to hear me sing? What if singing doesn’t love me back? What if it toys with my affections, and then dumps me at the altar on recital day? I know I said I wasn’t scared, but deep down? Yeah.
It’s so much safer just to sit by the fire. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), it’s time to pay attention to the fire that’s in me.