Friday, September 25, 2015

It's Revels Season!!!

There have been a few times in my life where I've had a proverbial "epiphany." I can't explain the feeling, but it's like an extreme moment of pure clarity and I usually react with goosebumps and tears. It feels as if the universe aligns, things click into place and I know I am on the right "path." Every single time it has happened to me, it has involved music. The first was when I was trying to decide what to major in in college. I had been on the fence all of high school and for almost a year into my time at Fort Lewis. Then I went to a music department concert and I just knew. I know its cheesy to say but...I "knew" that was where I needed to be. I declared my major the next day. 

The next big moment was the first time I went to California Revels. I wrote about it in a previous post here. It was without a doubt one of the best things to ever happen to me and it changed so much about my music career. Not only was I accepted into this amazing family, it has put me in connection with some of the most amazing people and opened up so many other doors. Not just musically, but also personally and professionally.

The third was last spring when I went to the song writing workshops at the Clockwork Alchemy Steampunk Convention. I wrote about that experience here. It was a dawning moment of clarity that felt like it had been buried deep down and burst out with the right prompting at the right moment. 

The most recent, was the first weekend of the Revels run in 2014. As most people know, I had a hell of a time job wise last fall. It's long and complicated and hard to talk about but I will say that because of my previous "job" and it's subsequent stress, my music was pretty much non existent. I had to back out of the 2014 Revel's show after already being cast, as well as two other projects and I was so overwhelmed by the toxicity of the situation I was in, I didn't have any time, or energy when I did have time, to spend writing, practicing or just really singing at all. (It even got to the point where I didn't even sing in the car. Yeah. That bad.) My friends and loved ones noticed a marked change in me and I became a recluse. Cutting myself off from pretty much everyone. My health also began to decline with my deepening depression. Maybe it is melodramatic but I really felt like my soul had started to wither and die and my body was going to follow.

I really started to feel the real sting of not being at Revels around Thanksgiving when I had the clear feeling that I was 'missing' something. I had wanted to go visit the cast during rehearsals at least a couple times and bring them goodies, but I was so engulfed in work drama and pure exhaustion and pain that I didn't make it. I figured I'd see them at the show and then hopefully be able to come back to the Solstice Singers after the Holidays at least for a couple of gigs. But to be honest I wasn't sure if that was going to be able to happen given my current schedule from hell.

My health had already started to decline and I wasn't sleeping. Then on Black Friday I hurt my knee. I ended up having to go on medical leave from work and in that time I started to do some serious soul searching. I knew that I had to find something else but I didn't know how or where. I had been applying to new jobs for months but with no leads and not so much as an interview. I upped the ante while I was out and was applying to at least 5 postings a day. All I got were rejection letters or crickets. Nothing. 

I started to revisit thoughts and desires of going into business for myself with music. Teaching, performing, odd jobs here and there. etc. Societal norms and pure fear have kept me from doing it for a long time. In the greater of society, being a performing musician or private teacher isn't really considered a "real" job. The $ is random and unpredictable so my initial reaction was, "no, I can't make it work. I'll just have deal with it." I needed to think about it some more.

Then I went to opening night at Revels...

Yes, that big dramatic pause was intentional. It was yet another point where this organization changed everything. It really means that much to me. It has come to be one of my central solid foundations that keeps me grounded and keeps me on the right path.

I decided to go backstage to say hi to people and wish them all the expected breaking of legs before the show. What greeted me was amazing. People's faces lit up when I walked in, and they rushed to give me hugs. They all told me how much they missed me. One friend leaned in and said, "Welcome home" as he embraced me in a giant bear hug. I started to cry. Yes...I was home. It was so good to feel so loved and the sting of not being there got a little stronger. But it was buffered by the rush of love I was receiving. I wished everyone luck and went to watch the show.

I watched the show and broke into tears so many times I lost count. The music was amazing. Arrangements of songs that held so dear to my heart from growing up gave me goosebumps and made me think of grandma the most. With it came whispers of her spirit asking "Why are you not there? You need your music. You need your creativity. You can make it work." That "epiphany" feeling started happening again. When I saw Revels the first time it was a feeling of want. This time, it was a need. Even if I wasn't in the show, I needed to be around music. All the time. It's what I'm supposed to do. It's who I am and my true calling.

Two days later I turned in my resignation letter. 

It was terrifying, and freeing. I closed my eyes, put my trust in the universe and made that leap into the unknown. I didn't have another job lined up but I knew that somehow it would work itself out. You know what happened? Not 30 minutes after I turned in my notice, I got an email from a friend (whom I also met in Revels) and she offered me a job! I couldn't believe it. It truly felt as if the universe had everything lined up and all I had to do was take that leap of faith. I helped with make up and ushering for the rest of the run and despite the pain I was in, it felt so good to be home. 

I now have been at that job happily for almost 9 months. It has turned into more than the original part time I was hired for which gave me more stability money wise and yet it has the flexibility I need to be able to do other things like work on cakes and get back to making music. I've started teaching here and there, doing odd jobs, and writing again. And? I'm going to be in this years California Revel's show!!! We start rehearsals tomorrow and I couldn't be more excited! 

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I've always been kind of...scattered. One may chalk it up to my active imagination, or maybe a mild case of ADD.  Maybe it's been the constant struggle to 'fit in' to societal standards. Whether there was an actual pinpointed cause or not, the simple fact remains that my attention is continually torn between several aspects of my personality. And to be honest, I often feel a fraud because of it. I always have felt like I don't really know who I am and I can't truly be happy until I find what that is. I'm beginning to see, however, that all of those aspects ARE me. It doesn't make me less of a person. Or a fraud. It's part of what makes me me.

I'm a Shapeshifter.

"Let me try to explain. No...that is too much. Let me sum up. "

For as long as I can remember, the different aspects of my personality have been kind of at war. Always feeling like I needed to pick one aspect to be complete. To fit in. To be worthy. To be...enough. That in order to be successful, accepted and loved I needed to focus on one. Find that one group of friends, that one perfect career, the one hobby and be done with it. The problem was finding that 'one' thing. In high school, you look at my senior year book and I, hands down, had the largest list of extra curricular activities. A lot of that was dabbling to figure out where I fit in. Where my talents lay and where I could focus more directly. But along the way, I started to realize that I truly liked most of those things. I then started having the problems with trying to pick which one I liked most to pursue as a career etc. Even though I don't regret choosing Music and then Pastry Arts to focus my studies, it took me a long time to figure out that's what I wanted. And I won't lie that there are days I wonder with more than idle curiosity if I should've picked something else.

I often look at those that seem to have their true calling in awe and sometimes jealousy. Pursuing what they have wanted to since they were a child. Knowing exactly where they want to go with their lives, and having the steps to get there in perfect order. I've never been one of those people. Ever.

But as I get older, and life keeps throwing things at me, I'm starting to realize a few things. First, no one really knows what they are doing and the people who seem the most put together, are just better at faking it. Secondly, just because someone seems like they have it put together, doesn't mean they are really happy where they are. I've talked to my fair share of people who wish they had time to pursue other things or feel there's no way they could change course because they were so entrenched in their one thing and feel trapped. And finally, the most interesting and well rounded people I know are those who have interests and hobbies that spread a broad spectrum.

The more I think about it, the more I'm starting to be ok with my shapeshifter personality. I have many interests, hobbies and fandoms. I jump between social circles with ease. Some overlap, some have absolutely nothing to do with each other but for the most part I truly fit in to any of them and am there because I want to be, not because I feel I have to. And my vocational skills are varied enough that my current choice of doing several part time jobs is working out quite well.

So what does all of this have to do with this new blog? Well, for a while I had a couple separate blogs going. One on music, and one on gratitude. And while those are wonderful things that I want to get back to writing about, there are so many other things stewing in my brain that I want to talk about. And they all span across my varied identities. So I'm combining it into one space and will be focusing on a different thing every post. I'm going to try to do once a week (no guarantees) and will be focusing on music, baking/decorating and cooking, self/body love, spirituality, crafting/art, political issues and well....just about anything else that comes to mind. If anyone has ideas I'm open to them.

So. Here's to the launch of Shapeshifting Siren! Thanks for reading!