Feb 22, 2010

Like the Swallow

I've been debating for a while about this post. Whether I really had the guts to begin to talk about it, even to begin to think about it. Whether I really needed to work it out for myself or just I could let it keep sleeping, hidden under the surface. I think I need to... even though it's not the sort of thing I normally talk about. I mean, who really wants the darker parts of themselves on display? So, if you're looking for a cheerful, ain't life cute post, today ain't the day. (May I suggest LOLCats instead?) But if you don't mind digging in my psyche with me, come on along.

First and foremost, I'm an adrenaline junkie. Most pilots are. Even when I'm in total control of the aircraft, that adrenaline rush of landing, the kiss of tires on tarmac is beyond compare. I like speed - the faster the better. This is not to say I don't have common sense. I understand the need to control that demand for faster, higher, farther for the sake of others.

Living on that kind of edge is not a place for mothers. It's not fair to my children to put myself at risk like that. As long as there are lives that depend on me, it's my responsibility to put them first.

But I crave the danger. And it's not enough to speed or fly. There's a part of me that wants to be dangerous. That is dangerous. This is the part that lives deepest within. The part that screams with the need to express physical rage. The part that blinds that common sense. The calculating cruelty that I cannot seem to excise from my soul. Part demon, part merciless avenging angel.

I have no outlet for that part of me. Neither my vocations nor my avocations allow for violence. I am trapped: by my life, by my love, by myself. I'm fat, clumsy, and middle-aged; when I see my reflection as I exercise, I realize my only danger to others is if I sit on them. I'm hardly going to take up being an assassin or some such at this point in my life yet there is a deep part of me that needs to let that avenging angel soar.

In a few years, when all the kids are in school, I want to learn to sword fight. Yes, it's a useless skill (unless, of course, there's an apocalypse rendering ammunition impossible to come by - then it might be useful) but it calls to me. There are times I wonder whether another lifetime saw me metal-clad and armed. I don't know whether this "pretend" dangerousness will be enough to let the angel rest more quietly, keep the demon locked away.

It scares me, the need. Even as I physically crave the danger, the craving scares me.
Who am I to need that? Logically, it makes no kind of sense. Neither my place in life, nor my faith in God permits it. If I am to trust God, I am where I should be. And where I am distinctly precludes walking the edge.

On a wagon, bound for market
there's a calf that is born to die.
High above him, there's a swallow
winging swiftly through the sky.

How the winds are laughing, they laugh with all their might,
laugh and laugh the whole day through and half the summer's night.

"Stop complaining," said the farmer,
"Who told you a calf to be?
Why don't you have wings to fly with
like the swallow so proud and free."

How the winds are laughing, they laugh with all their might,
laugh and laugh the whole day through and half the summer's night.

Calves are easily bound and slaughtered,
never knowing the reasons why.
But whoever treasures freedom,
like the swallow, must learn to fly.

How the winds are laughing, they laugh with all their might,
laugh and laugh the whole day through and half the summer's night.

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Feb 1, 2010

Taking One For The Team

Ever have to force yourself to do something you really don't want to do but you know it's for the best? Sucks, doesn't it?

Remember that aria I posted last April? In case you don't, the women's choir I sing in (TCC) sang the Pergolesi Stabat Mater last year on Good Friday. We did it with string quartet and organ and it was gorgeous. We had 5 different soloists last year, I think, 3 of whom have moved on - including 2 of the strongest voices.

Our director is also a spectacular alto - just an absolutely stunning voice. As we lost our alto section leader, she's going to have the Music Director (for the church) conduct and she's going to sing with the choir and do the alto solos. I was a little disappointed as I'd hoped to sing another solo but compared to her, hell no. She asked my voice teacher to have me work up a couple of the soprano arias for audition. Now, the woman that sang these solos last year was Eastman undergrad and Julliard grad (2 of the 3 top music schools in the country). I have a decent voice but there is NO way I can compare with people's memory of this woman singing those solos. There's another problem too: one of the volunteer sopranos who, unfortunately, isn't really suited to it wants a solo.

So, I sent an email to our director tonight with the solution that said, essentially,
  • "There is no way I can compete with people's memories of last year's soprano arias anyway; I don't want people to think TCC is going downhill; nor do I want to be a distracting note (heh, pun intended) for the congregants in a performance that should be seamless. So I'm going to take one for the team here and sit my ass on the sidelines of whatever running there might be."
This will allow her to restrict the solos to the two people (herself and our current soprano section leader who also has a beautiful voice) who are most suited to them. And it will be lovely.

I'm just feeling a bit grumpy about it. But there is no "I" in team, they say, and this is truer even in church singing than in sports. It's about the congregation and helping them worship. Secondarily, it's about what's best for the choir. What it's not about is me.

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