Thoughtsgiving Day Five~ Choosing Fear

Fear is not your enemy. It is a compass pointing you to the areas where you need to grow. ~Steve Pavina

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Hello and welcome to Thoughtsgiving day five! Wow…we’re almost to that day where we enjoy turkey and family, and are thankful for the blessings in our life. I’ve learned that I absolutely adore this time I’ve alloted myself to create everyday, and that alone has been one huge blessing for me; because I’ve had time for me….which is hard to come by these days. 😉

Today’s theme of choosing fear, is a big one I’m working on…and will probably be a huge work of progress the rest of my life. Today’s song is Lux Aurumque…which translates to “light and gold.” The video to this is pretty amazing too…so if you want to watch, it would be a treat. This is all sung by a “virtual choir.”

Gold and Silver are crafted with fire. Fire burns, but creates something precious. You can only become refined through trials. Facing your fears, and choosing trials is the quickest way to true beauty, and knowing who you are.

As often as I choose fear, there are many many times every single day that I don’t. I easily choose fear when it is something big. The hardest time for me to choose fear, is in strange situations….like the time I needed to get money to my daughter at the concert, or most often, when I have to answer the phone. In those times, I realize how others feel about choosing to do something big, like….boarding a plane to Italy alone, or say….singing in the Metropolitan Opera Auditions.

I’ve been told before that one of the biggest fears people have, is the fear of success. We worry that if we DO succeed, our lives could become more complicated, could change dramatically in a negative way,or could be in a constant state of maintaining success. It’s like celebrity…I know there are probably many wonderful things about celebrity, but the pressure to remain popular and relevant? It must be intense. In 2005, I faced the fear of possible success, and I spent six months preparing for the District Metropolitan Opera Auditions. I had two voice lessons a week, I did several recitals………it was intense, and very rewarding.

In 2005 I was a happily married mom of three daughters, one of which was still a toddler. I was working as a tutor and teaching assistant in the late afternoon/evening hours, and also babysitting a few kids during the day as well. I was able to practice and entertain the kids at the same time, which was super fun. I enjoyed my jobs, but I was consumed with the idea that I would one day be an opera star. I had worked at it so long, it just had to be.

The night before the auditions, I spent the night at my Mom and Dad’s house, because it was closer to Kansas City. They would also watch and support me during the audition process, while my husband supported me by staying home with the kids. My mom and dad treated me to a delicious Italian dinner. We sipped a wonderful bottle of wine, and ate a delicious dessert. I remember telling them “Tomorrow is it. I’m a mom of three children, and a wife. I have a family that’s SO important to me, but if I show the judges at the auditions what I have to offer, and they give me a ticket (figuratively) to the Met….I’ll know it was meant to be. If I don’t have anything come of it, I’ll also know it is time to focus on my family. ”  It was a big, frightening step. It was laying everything I had, my pride, my precious time spent studying……..everything I had a passion for…….on the line.

I remember the day of the auditions so clearly. When I woke, I felt a sense of foreboding. I just had a feeling it wouldn’t go well. I arrived at the venue, met with my accompanist and voice teacher, and warmed up. I could hear the other contestants singing as well. I heard some pretty amazing voices, but felt I could compete. I was one of the first to sing. I stood confidently on the stage, performed my three pieces flawlessly, and felt I really had nothing else I could have offered. I honestly did my very best. I had nothing to be ashamed of.

I won’t go into the details of the rest of the day. Suffice it to say, that when the winners were announced,my name wasn’t spoken. I was dealing with it okay. We were given the opportunity to speak with the judges. If I could take back 5 minutes of my life, that would be it. I stood in line, waiting to speak with someone. When I reached him………he said “OH, yes, you were definitely not very memorable. After that, he basically laid out to me……..I wasn’t ever going to be their “type” (they were looking for physically large/tall singers, with ENORMOUS voices…mine is a big voice….but not shred your brain loud big), I was just. Not. Good. Enough. I felt my heart break….in a way romance had never ever done to me. I knew…….just as I had spoken the night before. This was it. As some say, it was the death of a dream.

I still sing locally. I sing for money, sometimes I sing simply for pleasure and applause, so I didn’t give it up entirely. It took me one full year at least to “get over it.” I stopped studying voice altogether, writing my beloved voice teacher a long, regretful letter….after months of thought. For the first time in my life, I experienced panic attacks, and terrible anxiety. Up until that moment my ridiculous opera star dream died, I believed I had my life under control. Learning I didn’t…..well, it took time to get used to. I felt like a failure, I wondered what the hell I would ever do with my life, who I would be without that dream, without that success. I mourned. I cried. I grew.

I had chosen fear, and this time, it hurt me. But honestly, I wouldn’t ever take it back. I am a better mother, a better wife, a better friend and daughter…….because I chose fear. Had I taken the easy way, and just told my great-grandchildren “what could have been………” I could have spared myself over a year of tumult. But I KNOW now that it wasn’t meant to be. I have no regrets. I chose fear, and it was a crazy ride….but I made it through. I know that the path I’m on now is the right one.

Since today is the Helmar and May Arts Blog hop, I’m going to share just one photo of the page I created. I’ll take some better ones in the morning, and let you enjoy the cover pages of my Thoughtsgiving album, and a few others, in the blog hop post.

THANK YOU to all of you. Thank you for your comments, for your time in reading my crazy, over dramatic stories. Thank you for being here to know me a little better. Getting to know some of you has been amazing. Big hugs. (Free ones).
~A

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One Comment on “Thoughtsgiving Day Five~ Choosing Fear”

  1. Scarlett says:

    I’m so glad you took the chance to tryout and poo poo to the man who was so cold hearted when talking with you. I’m sorry you had to go through this avenue to get where you are but again its the bumps and potholes that bring us to where we are. Gosh I can’t wait til’ my hands stop shakin’ so badly from what I’m bravely facing so I can get totally going. I am started!!! YAY me, right?! You’re an inspiration and a new friend I’m glad to have. 🙂 xo


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