There are few Saturdays that go by without me remembering the Saturday mornings in high school that I woke up early to go to my voice lessons. My instructor was a beautiful woman from the Netherlands named Mariel. I loved her like a parent and have always said she was like my second mother.
On those Saturdays I gladly traded sleeping in late for practicing, putting on my prettiest clothes and going to those hour long lessons. Then usually my mom and I would go grocery shopping in Southridge and proceed to get lost in Target buying a few things here and there we didn’t need and then go to Book’s a Million to read magazines we never intended to pay for.
Though I continued to take voice lessons in college the level of commitment I felt I could afford to give to singing became less and less as I became more critical of my abilities to sing and slipped further and further into depression. There were a lot of lies I started to believe during my time being depressed. Whereas in high school I believed in pushing myself and having high goals, I started to believe in college that if I didn’t conserve energy, if I didn’t limit my activity to the absolutely necessary in order to succeed academically that I would inevitably fail. I stopped exercising, and though I continued to sing, the notes became stuck into my throat not wanting to come out. I concluded simply that I must have never had any talent. I stopped taking it seriously.
Thankfully I never stopped painting during that bleak period because I was curious to see if sadness really did make a better artist. My conclusion is that all of that is irrelevant. Good paintings arise out of thin air when you least expect it. Usually right after you think you’ve made a huge mistake in your work you realize it was the most beautiful mistake you could have made and creates a picture never possible before.
That’s what I hope my life is turning into. It’s difficult to remember the exact causes to my depression because mental illness is complicated and I simply don’t want to remember all that pain, but what I do know is that there were some negative attitudes I had towards myself during this time. I convinced myself that all the talents I thought I had were either unimportant or non-existent. Essentially I gave up everything I had been passionate about in favor of trying to “not be a failure”, an extremely vague concept that the more I think about makes no sense.
The only way I could fail is if I gave up on the things I find important to me, and even though I came close to this for a time, it is never too late to start life back up again. It’s time to realize that there are things I love to do that I need to keep doing for the sake of my own happiness even if they never contribute towards future success. It’s time to realize I have great talents that not only can be enjoyed by myself but hopefully can inspire others.
I’m not saying any of this to brag about myself or try to attract attention. I am writing this because if one depressed person who has given up on their passions can read this and pick themselves back up again, I would be beyond happy. If one person who has lost their voice, can get up early again on a Saturday, put on a nice dress and go out and do whatever puts a smile on their face, I would be even happier than I have come to be now at this stage in my life.