"It's sneaking something wonderful about yourself into everyday conversation. Like when I tell people it's hard for me to watch "American Idol" because I have perfect pitch. Now you try."
- Jane Krakowski, as 30 Rock's Jenna Maroney
Over Christmas Eve dinner, Alex told me that I have great pitch.
Rewind, let's say 20 years: my mother, who miraculously did not end up with seriously traumatized and insecure adult children, reminded me on a daily basis that I was no triple threat. I am sure she was right. "A career in musical theatre is not in the cards, sister." she'd (probably) say. OK, I'm paraphrasing; my mother was not that sassy in the late 80's. That came later.
[ papa-paparazzi, 1992 ]
It's probably no secret that my lifelong dream job involves a little acting, dancing and singing. Oh, singing! But repeated reminders about my gangly ungraceful frame, and hopelessly off-key vocal attempts were enough to snuff any girl's hopes of an on-stage existence. I must clarify that I do have wonderfully supportive and talent-nurturing parents. Always with a smile, they watched me drop out of University (despite being a high school honour roll student) in favour of art college, and flip flop in and out of "careers" (not using my graphic arts diploma whatsoever), always with some unfinished creative project on the side, and aimlessly follow wishy-washy goals. They have been cheerleaders for "do what you love", and since performing was a love that I pushed way-way down inside, visual arts took its place. I admit, I am sure I showed more promise in this arena.
[ winning a local library drawing contest, 1990 - hm, not really a "TV face" ]
Occasionally, I wonder if years of dance, voice and acting lessons at a young age might have given me a chance. Nah. Still, I did win La Verendrye Elementary School's Best Actress Award in both 1989 and 1990 for my compelling performances as the Wicked Witch and the Wicked Queen respectively.
[ impromtu sleepover NKOTB, 1995 ]
But, I believe that music is something you're born with. Like art. Alex disagrees; he thinks that anyone (anyone!) can learn to sing or play an instrument. Maybe. But, only technically. And only with a lot of training. A true musician is born. Yet, he says I have good pitch! Me? Me! He's taught me a few bars of "Imagine" (John Lennon. Lyrics by Yoko, however) and "Stand by me" on his electric piano. He encourages shower singing. It's his mission to prove me wrong, I think. I have to admit that I don't feel any more musical; I'm just copying his fingers on the piano with zero understanding. I have always wanted to learn to play piano, actually. Since my bucket list is getting a little lengthy, however, I have vowed to take it up in retirement rather than setting a silly near-future goal. Piano, bird watching, French, photography. Those are my retirement hobbies. I'm a planner.
[ John Lennon ]
While I might be able to achieve "Rising Star" and even "Superstar" scoring playing our PS3 Sing Star game, I know I'm no born talent. My mother tells me now that her "gentle directing" of my goals away from music, was for my own good. I didn't want to end up as one of those seriously delusional people in the American Idol auditions now, did I? No, I suppose I didn't.
[ Andre 3000, Singstar ]
Alex was born with music. He denies it. Humility is very handsome (smiley face). He's writing a song on his new digital piano (a way over-budget Christmas gift) as I type this blog post. He can play the same little piano bit over and over and over without tiring of it. I admire his passion and patience. I only wish I could narrow down my many creative interests and throw myself into just one, like diving into a cold pool. But I always take my time getting into cold water, even though I know it's best to jump. It is perhaps my Achilles Heel.
While at 30, I certainly know that I've missed the musical theatre boat, I think dream #2 is a happy 2nd best, and it's becoming more clear. I guess I can only hope to deeply love and thrive at something, the way that Alex does with music. So my "something" isn't music (or dancing or acting) after all. However a few (best) words (of all time) uttered over dinner do go along way towards soothing my ego.
Too bad my mother wasn't listening. A little in-your-face never hurt anyone.
"Think of all your movements in life as dance movements. Breathe. Watch. Listen. Touch. And move between the earth and the sky." - Yoko Ono twitter.com/yokoono