I started taking singing lessons. The first one was a gift, the second one, yesterday’s, I paid for myself.
I cried and laughed both times.
I wasn’t expecting to do either things. I thought I’d just be singing.
Singing is one of those things I do alone in the car. I sang in church once with a few other people and my mom said something afterwards about me not being a singer, and I took what she said to heart: I wasn’t a singer. I became someone who whisper sang in church or at birthdays. There are many ways to both sing and stay quiet.
Writing this post is not coming easily to me. I feel like a Pez dispenser. I’m squeezing out one word, one candy, at a time. For the last two years or so the words flowed out like water, but then something happened. It might have been the green puking face someone put on Facebook describing my blog posts. It might have been that I’ve emptied the well on what I have to say as an adopted person coming out of the fog of believing that adoption had no effect on me or my life. It might be that, yet again, I feel like I don’t know who I am and so I am getting quieter, feeling the skin tighten on my brain like a snake’s skin does before it splits and falls away.
It’s one thing to say what you are not. Saying who you are is something else entirely.
I realized recently that I don’t have any specific dreams for the future. I have said for years, decades, I did not want to die without having written a book. Well, I did it. I wrote a book and I am proud of it and people write to me and tell me it helped them, so I feel good. I did it. I checked that box.
It’s so weird to not have a box motivating me to get things accomplished. I could create a dream, a goal: I could say, I would like to live in a cute little house on Martha’s Vineyard and have friends close by and have my daughter visit on a regular basis, and I would love that, but it doesn’t feel like a box that my cells need to check. I can die without that dream happening and I wouldn’t feel I had failed my purpose.
Not feeling a sense of purpose is like being a hose not plugged into a water source. It’s like living your life but never having the pleasure of pooping. Why take in all these experiences if you don’t turn them into something else? Poop or art--in some ways they are the same thing: digestion of the human experience.
How do you chase your dreams when you don’t have any?
What if it is not specific things you want, anyway, but a feeling sense in the body? A sense of belonging, a sense of purpose? The feeling of love? I could have those things now; I could have anything I wanted if it all was about feeling. So why am I not doing it?
I think I have fallen into a habit with language. I think I am used to not being completely happy or joyful when I talk or type or even think. Words have become like Legos for me and I’m used to snapping them together in certain configurations. How can you use language to dream of new things when you keep putting words together in old ways?
This is why I am continuing to take singing lessons. I think it may offer crack in the wall of myself. I want to break through language to open my body and to find ways to re-vision life and all that is possible. My body feels stubborn, on lockdown, tight. How can I run love through my cells when my body is fighting with language and habit to stay in the fetal position? When my body thinks discontent and depression are wise choices?
My singing teacher’s name is Heather Houston. She has the most amazing eyes.
I feel safe with her.
The first lesson we concluded by singing Amazing Grace together. I wish my mother could have heard. I think we sounded so beautiful, both of us.