Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why do I keep from singing?

For those of you who may not know, singing has always been a big part of my life. Huge. Like, 95% of my time was devoted to it. I was choir(s), I sang solos in church, I led worship, I did 'entertainment' for a local festival. I sought out opportunities to sing as much as possible. I LIVED for choir. I LOVED singing for people. I actually started college as a vocal major, and then switched majors half way through mynsophomore year, but still graduated with a music minor.
When I wasn't singing with choir, or some other function, I was walking around the house singing whatever popped in my head. I swore that I had musical tourettes because I would randomly start singing something, or someone would say something that would spur a song cue. When I stepped into the shower, I gave an impromptu thirty minute concert for whoever was within hearing distance. I sang in the car WHEREVER we were going, usually at the top of my voice. I probably spent close to 4-6 hours singing a day.

I haven't sang in two years.

And it has absolutely nothing to do with the baby. Sure, it would be difficult to do much of anything with a 16 month old... but it really isn't her that is preventing me from doing what used to be my passion.

Today, I was blessed with the opportunity to go and see a childhood playmate of mine sing a recital. She did a co-recital actually, but in all honesty, I went with her. The stars were aligned, and somehow, I managed to go without my sweet baby girl (she was down for a nap about 10 minutes before I left).

So I went. I squeezed into a pew in the back as the announcer began talking. I sipped demurely from my water bottle, scanning the crowd. Then she began to sing her first piece "How Can I Keep From Singing?"

And it was gorgeous. Her tone was so crisp and clear, the notes just floated. I sat back in the pew and let the words flow over me. How do I keep from singing? Why do I keep from singing? I started crying as a piece was performed that I had performed before. I miss it.

While in the shower today, I started thinking. I do my best thinking in the shower. But I started thinking about why I don't sing anymore. And it's not just that I don't sing, it's that I will go out of my way to not sing. I've had numerous opportunities within the last two years, and when each one comes up, I conveniently find somewhere else to be, or some excuse to not perform.

My last semester of college, our choir was going to perform in Lincoln Center in NYC. The previous spring we had performed at Carnegie Hall. Carl and I had been engaged at the time, and had both went. It was wonderful. It was glorious. It was something I will forever be able to tell my children and my grandchildren. But the spring semester rolled around in 09 and the fees were due for the Lincoln Center trip.

The problem was, Carl and I were poor. Like, DIRT poor. I had raised the majority of my money the year before by writing letters and taking pledges, but I felt really, really bad about doing the same thing again. We pooled our funds, and had JUST enough money (well, almost just enough, we lacked about $200) for one of us to go.

I made the single most difficult decision of my life that day. I decided to drop out of choir and have Carl (the music major) go. I walked out of the music building knowing that I would never again sing with my college choir. Devastation doesn't begin to describe.

I'm not going to lie. I missed it like crazy that semester. Choir was an everyday class at our college, so Carl would leave to go, and if I were home, I'd just sit there, looking around the room. My entire time at that college, I had NEVER been free from 4-5 or 4:15-5:30. Ever. I had had choir almost every day that I had school.

And sure, it was nice to not be tied down to choir. But I missed it so fiercely. When they loaded up the bus to go to NYC, I was in shock almost that I wasn't going along. I was 13 weeks pregnant by that point, and deathly miserable with morning sickness... so I know that God has a plan, and looking back, I can clearly see that plan at work. But in the moment? I was just devastated.

I think that I have repressed all emotion surrounding that event. Surrounding that day I walked out of the music building, knowing I'd never go back. I know it sounds silly, but my identity was wrapped around being in choir. And when I was still at the college, and only sitting on the sidelines, I think it messed with me.

I realized today that I can't quit singing. Singing speaks to my soul. Whenever I'm down, there are songs that lift me up...regardless of the situation. I want to instill a love of music in my daughter... and I don't think it'll be all that difficult. But I want her to remember arias and showtunes... not because a famous opera singer sang them, or because she saw them on TV... but because she remembers her mommy singing them as she cooked dinner.

How can I keep from singing my song?

(This post is linked up to Serenity Now's Weekly Bloggy Read!


  1. I think you should start singing. :) Maybe start small, but soon, it'll be just like before. :) That's how I feel about art. I want my kids to know art from all mediums: paint, chalk, sculpture, drawing, coloring, whatever it may be. And I want them to experience music (we don't sing really though) through ipods, radio, banging on some drums, tinkering with a guitar, etc. And writing. Those are forms of art too. I love that you sing. So, go, sing your heart out! :)

  2. Good for you Shaina! Try singing to and with Keevia. It helps especially during cranky times :) Now my son walks around the house singing too!

  3. I have missed your singing. Very much.

  4. I'm glad that you've decided to sing again--for God, for your daughter, for yourself.

  5. It sounds like singing is an important part of who God made you to be. Don't let it slip away! Blessings on your journey to regain your voice. I'm visiting with Weekend Bloggy Reading.

  6. Glad you found your voice. :) It's important for moms to have an outlet! Keep it up. :)

    Thanks for joining my Weekend Bloggy Reading party. Have fun finding a a few good reads, and I hope you'll visit Serenity Now again soon. :)

  7. What a nice story! Glad I found your blog. Hopping by from Serenity Now.


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