Rejoining the West Virginia Symphony Chorus

Yesterday evening after an ACT tutoring session, I drove down to First Presbyterian Church and added my name to the sign up sheet for the West Virginia Symphony Chorus, a group I used to sing with for a few years in high school. I couldn’t remember whether I used to sing alto 1 or 2 so I just wrote: “A1?” . The lights in the chapel were turned on high; I entered as the choir was singing the entrance to John Rutter’s Magnificat in more or less perfect harmony. (I’m not saying it was bad or something. I’m just pointing out the comical fact that there’s only so much a choir can do learning a difficult piece of music for the first time. Don’t get me wrong, it was the loveliest sound I’d heard in a long while.)

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WV Symphony Chorus Christmas concert December 2011

Since I’d arrived late and missed a couple previous rehearsals, a woman was kind enough to share her music with me, whispering to me about parts she found difficult or things that the director David told us to keep in mind. Members I had known previously were turning around in their seats between movements to wave to me. I felt like I was coming home again. I’ve been in Charleston again for a few months now and have been making the efforts to re-integrate, to make future plans for myself, but last night was the first time I’d really felt settled. I’m looking forward to upcoming rehearsals 🙂

Bruges, Belgium

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Bruges town square

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Belgium has a knack for combining historic architecture with modern touches.

 

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If they say it’s the best it must be right? Didn’t end up trying it though.

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These windows!

If you are in Bruges, you should go see a harp concert that takes place almost daily at this address: Congresscentre Oud St Jan, Mariastraat 38,Bruges 8750, Belgium

The harpist’s name is Luc Vanleare, and you can only hear him live or on CD’s that he sells after his concerts. The concert is free but be prepared to feel very moved (and relaxed). You’ll probably end up donating for this beautiful harp performance. We ended up buying a CD “Sounds around the Harp” which I still listen to these days.

Here’s his official website.

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What a cute door. I wonder who lives here.

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I’ve never seen a house painted this shade of purple before.

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Café Vlissinghe, the oldest pub in Bruges

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I think I’ll have to come back someday.

Memories of Saturday Mornings Past: Reflections on Moving Past Depression

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.

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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.

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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.