Monday, September 9, 2013

♪♪♪ My Voice Broke Through ♪♪♪

By Jenna Ryan

You may not know this, but I am a singer. I've always loved to sing, and I've always had my moments. I did not truly learn to sing, however, until I had lessons with a wonderful coach. This teacher helped my voice "break through" and shimmer like a diamond. He helped me to polish the facets of my voice, pull out its originality and showed me how to dive deep into my own capabilities. He believed in me, and I was ready to sing. A willing student.

When I first started going to Greg, my vocal coach, I had an incredibly strong belt. So strong, in fact, that he had to turn down the sound equipment when it was my turn to sing. I was like a fire hose. My voice was either full-blast or nothing. Looking back, it's quite funny. I wonder how he survived me!

There was one other aspect of my voice that was interesting. I could sing a glass-breaking opera. (Think "Halleluiah Chorus") Seriously, I could opera out the wazoo... Belt or Opera, belt or opera... Two very powerful singing styles that don't work without some middle ground. Practicing at home, I would belt and sing opera. Neither flowed, but both sounded pretty good on its own.

One day sitting on the sofa, singing in my alternate styles, I thought, "I know I have this incredible opera sound... it would be nice if I could take that goodness and spread it out to other areas of my voice. I know it would be terrific, if I could just access it."

I didn't understand how to access the bridge between these two vocal styles. Plus, my opera voice was concentrated... it needed to be pulled out and savored. It was a great sound, all jumbled up in one place. I needed help. The passion and the tones needed work; gentleness, softness and flow.

After several months of working with Greg, something amazing happened. He was shocked, even. My voice began to develop. The two styles melted together in a sound that was all my own. I could go high and I could go low--it was the opera that took me there. It took a lot of work, but with the help of my coach, I was able to pull this beautiful voice through and use it liberally in my songs. I'm thankful to him to this day.

Why am I telling you this story? Because. This story reminds me of my transition from self abandonment to self love. It matches quite well.

Just like my amateur singing abilities before singing lessons, I was once a newbie in love. I simply did not know how to love myself. I had a lot of love within me. I knew that. When I saw a gorgeous man, I could fall in love in two seconds! There was lots of love in me! Lot's of heartache too.

The feelings of love that I had for boyfriends and crushes was immense. I would think about them a lot, and dream about them, and do anything in the world for my love. I could literally feel warmth in my heart and longing and desire ruled my obsession. There was love in my heart, but many times my love was wasted on one who did not have the resources to love me back, or worse... an abuser. Still, I wanted love more than I wanted anything in the world.

As for me, meh. I didn't think very highly of myself. I thought I was boring, not good enough, broken, hopeless. I needed a man to make me feel complete, or so I thought. Just like the singing scenario, I had a lot of love that made me feel amazing, but it was concentrated in all the wrong places.

I knew I had it, just like I knew I had my opera voice. It's just that loving another person more than you love yourself is almost as bad as singing only-opera 24 hours a day. It just doesn't work! You have to love yourself first if you want to be in a happy, equal, fulfilling relationship. Likewise, opera by itself gets old. There has to be a better way.

Thankfully, gratefully, much to my extreme glee, I found the middle ground. I found the bridge for getting the love that I was pouring out on the wrong man onto my own self. It took a lot of soul searching, tons of hard work, but I learned to balance my love, and stop starving my own self of my own time, attention and devotion. I learned to appreciate me as much as I do others. I learned to lavish my internal resources on me instead of wasting my love on a loser. It's true that I already had the answer all along, I just had to learn how to focus my good feelings back onto myself...

I had to learn to hang-on to my good feelings and not give everything away. I had to learn to love high, love low, love softly and be gentle towards myself. I cannot tell you how much better it feels now that I'm generous to me. It's amazing--miraculous even. My life is transformed!

My voice and my love for myself is growing stronger everyday. I hope that YOU too find the places where your love is wasting away, being poured out on one who appreciates it not. I hope that YOU too learn to turn your love inward and begin to love, respect and pay attention to your own heart. There is no greater high note!

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