My singing lesson is well underway. I’m singing “I See the Light” but start thinking of another song.
“Stay focused,” says the teacher calmly, but firmly. I wonder how she knows that my mind went somewhere else. But my eyes have glazed over and I’ve tripped off key. I come back and get on track.
I remember all the times in my life I’ve let someone critique me. How wanting to be an actress and taking singing lessons and wanting to write, have opened me up to criticism. Reviews in the news paper, silent whispers of friends all the mistakes I made, pointed out. The time I said shit after coming off stage and they hadn’t turned my MIC off yet.
The times I’ve been told to stand up straight and say my A like an A and also like an O.
The singing teacher apologized for pointing these things out, and I gratefully admitted that it is what I paid her for.
I sat alone that night and just let it all sink in. The mistakes I make when I’m not focused, the words I say and notes I sing. All being listened to by other people and then judged. The poems I write and send away being read over and judged. It’s a lot to take in when you realize this is happening. And so I sleep it off and have nightmares; That no one shows up, no one likes it, no one hears it, reads it, and there are fires and tears.
Was I aware of this as a child? Did it affect my depression in university. Was I ready emotionally and logically for what was about to happen. When I went from all the teachers saying “well that’s Frosty, she’s awesome” to “Who the hell are you and your writing stinks.”
Can I handle it now, can I handle being one who critiques in my job and getting it back when I come home. How does this affect how I look at the world, how I see other people, how other people, who aren’t used to the artist way, react to me. How does it affect how I look at my own work, my confidence?