Challenging week fighting my inner critics

It’s Thanksgiving Sunday, Canadian Thanksgiving that is. I’m lying awake in bed at 4 am unable to sleep as a million thoughts run through my head about my current situation and what is to come over the next year.

This has been a challenging week… I’ve been really down and I don’t fully understand why. But I’m trying to process it, let it out and learn from it.

In one of my classes right now, we are talking about our inner critics as performers. I feel like my negative voice has taken the driver’s seat this week as reality creeps back into my thoughts on why I’m pursuing something that feels so completely out of reach. Opera singing, that is. It’s hard – the technique, the languages, the acting, the pressure, the having to have ‘a look/size’ for your voice type and the flood of talented singers and lack of places to get experience at my age/stage. I will always be a singer, but a tiny part of me wants to give up on the opera dream right now and admit defeat, even though in theory I know that is often when we want to give up that a breakthrough happens.

I overthink things and sometimes I wish I could throw the practical/logical part of myself away, but I can’t because it’s part of who I am. I absolutely love what I’m doing right now with my opera studies because it is challenging and I feel like I’m engaging my whole mind/body in a way that I never have, but emotionally it has been a challenging few years with many ups and downs – I’ve tried to focus on the good, but the bad has been there too. Putting yourself out there to be rejected often is tough. Being vulnerable and having people take advantage of you isn’t cool. Trying to obtain experience in a field that takes *years* to master when you’re older and competing with young brains/bodies/talent can be really frustrating.

I guess perhaps I’m losing patience with myself and I’m upset with the nerves I had this week in two particular classes I sang in. I want to succeed and do well but I feel like I’m constantly in my own way, that I don’t belong in such an elite group of brilliant people or deserve to be doing this, like I’m a fraud and someone is going to call me out on it soon. Sometimes I wish I had a ‘older singer in training’ sticker I could slap on my forehead like they have for the cars in Drivers Ed, although I’m sure it’s pretty obvious that I’m still learning. Some days are better than others, but I feel this week that I’ve lost my sense of positivity and I’m letting others negativity and frustration get to me. And I don’t know how to get back to just being myself and persevering forward. I mean, I’m sure I’ll figure it out because it’s part of who I am and these feelings and thoughts will eventually pass, but right now it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. If that makes any sense whatsoever.

So back to Thanksgiving. I’m thankful to so many people in my life, and for the support from so many who believe in me. It’s the teachers, coaches, mentors, friends, singing colleagues, family, my husband and all of the amazing people I’ve met on my journey who keep me going cause….. sometimes I feel like a bit of a crazy person! I think there might be some truth to the ‘high notes make you crazy’ concept. I’ve been singing a lot of them lately.

So yeah, I’m sharing this to get these thoughts out of my head in hopes of moving forward. I don’t want to let myself or those who believe in me down by giving up. I was thinking last night how many things I would change in my life if I could do this over again. And one of them would have been listening to my desire to be an opera singer much earlier and throwing practicality aside for the love of art and doing something I’m truly passionate about. Although I believe everything happens for a reason, some days I wish I had a rewind button. I’m sure we all do.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends near and far! Thanks to all of you for being part of my life and for being your awesome selves. Sending you tons of love and best wishes for an awesome fall season!

About Melanie Anderson

Singer, basketball player, scotch enthusiast, Canadian. http://www.MelanieIAnderson.com
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5 Responses to Challenging week fighting my inner critics

  1. Elaine Graham says:

    I’ve heard the ‘I feel like a fraud’ comment from some amazingly accomplished people. So many of us feel like this; especially women, sadly. You are a bright, vivacious and talented lady, Mel. Sending optimistic, loving thoughts (and prayers) your way. Happy Thanksgiving. ❤️

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  2. Larry Jamieson says:

    Melanie, you have always been an extremely talented and personable young lady who could do anything you set your mind and interests to. Although I have not seen you in many years, these traits don’t change! Believe in yourself, continue to follow your interests, and always be the best person you can be. We all have self doubts at times (normal) – I enjoy following your adventures, continue to enjoy them yourself!

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  3. Kerrie says:

    Hi Mel. Thank you for sharing such heartfelt feelings so beautifully. Two things that you said stand out for me: (1) “I don’t want to let myself or those who believe in me down” and (2) “…get back to just being myself.” First, my dear, incredibly talented friend, simply embarking on this journey, with all its many physical, emotional and logistical challenges, has been enough to earn the admiration of those who care for you. Regardless of the outcome, that admiration is already sustained for life! And secondly, if all of those challenges (and they are huge!) wear you down to a point that you are losing yourself, it’s okay to do some reconsidering. Really, it’s okay. Remember your original thinking when you first started out? Your goal was to give it a go. I think you said something like “If I don’t do it now, I’ll always wonder whether I could have.” Well, Mel, you have, and you have nothing to prove that you haven’t proved already. You have met some wonderful people, experienced things that have helped you grow musically and spiritually, taught and shared your talent – and nothing, ever, ever, will take that away. Music and singing will always be at the core of your soul. So take a breath, smile that amazing smile, and open your heart to what the universe is asking of you. And know that you are loved.

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