It seems that I only write on here when I have some heavy thoughts to share. Hmm…not intentional but interesting that it is this way! Thanks for reading and supporting and loving in your way!

Often I have felt like studying classical voice is a soul-digging, empowering, self-truth-seeking, chakra-vibrating, bone-shaking, kick-ass endeavor. Beyond time and money for education, it takes self-examination, passion, digging deep, dedication, patience, self-care, love and lots of time making really weird noises and doing strange movements, often on the ground, bent over, on a chair or up against a wall. Sometimes I feel like through classical voice, I am getting closer to understanding and accepting my own voice (in all meanings) and my own existential truth. Sometimes I feel like the vibrations coming from my body are finally become more and more of my ‘truth,’ that they are what I would describe as my soul bubbling up from my core. (Yeah yeah, sorry for the new age-y descriptions here but I can’t describe it in any other way! It really does feel that way when it’s right!)

Last semester kind of wore me down, to be honest. By the end of the semester, I felt the opposite of what I described above. I ended up feeling stifled by technique and expectations, traditions and the white supremacist, classicist patriarchy that upholds these ideals. I have felt bitter about the pickiness of rights and wrongs, requirements for what I need to have on my repertoire list, which (almost always white male) composers I should be familiar with, which notes I should be singing, which roles in operas I should be singing, typical oppressive language, ideas and words in old texts. I have missed the joyful energy that I know I contain and the jitters of inspiration that I get when I am really excited or moved by something meaningful, someone or a connection I’ve made. I know that there is more to classical singing than this. I just can’t seem to find it right now.

I know that many people can identify in feeling divided – like having complex and fulfilling, yet very different, relationships with two separate ‘things.’ By ‘things’ I mean anything from nationalities to genres to people to artistic expressions to language to cities to causes. Throughout my experiences in higher education, I have formed strong yet very separate relationships to two different passions. One is caring about and wanting to transform the systems we act within (aka our society) and the other is classical voice. As I deepen my relationships with these two ‘things,’ I have struggled with a desire to connect them. Yes, I am a product of a liberal arts education. I can’t really let it go, that I believe that in the end everything is connected, mostly through history and what has come before, even if they seem to be completely independent of each other on the surface.

Maybe I don’t need to understand how to/give what I can to fix the world’s inequalities with classical voice. Maybe they don’t need to be connected, or worse, can’t be connected? But I can’t help feel that my art and my creative process must be strongly bound to my ideals, to what I believe in, to transformation. I just can’t see my artistic process without bringing in the rest of the world and how history affects us all, seeing it all in a larger context. And I find it hard to see how I can pay off my school loans and make a living off of creating what is true to me. I am unsure if I am able to live off of art right now since I simply cannot bring myself to create something I do not believe full-heartedly in. Maybe in 15 years I will be able to find a way to live off of my art, but it is not a possibility right now. I am looking for thoughts and ideas on how classical music and working against inequality, especially racism, sexism, and nationalism so if you have any ideas, holler at me!!! Really!!!

I’m not even going to get started on feeling the burden of making a living and paying off college loans. Feeling tired of being broke and unstable in a different country than the one I grew up in. That has also taken a toll on my inspiration. I’ve fought it off for a long time, but things do shift. And yes, now they have shifted! It makes me wonder what the next shift will be!

So, what this has come to is that I have decided to take a year off of my studies from the Royal College of Music here in Stockholm. Now, for the first time since I was four going on five I will not be a student!!! Ahhh!!! I am making a commitment to myself to take it easy, let my mind, body and soul digest all the stuff that has happened in the last few years. Damn, moving across the world is a little hard sometimes. Ok, maybe sometimes really really hard. But nothing can deny that what I have experienced, learned, uncovered, seen and the people I have met continue to fill me. But now, for real. Time to slow down and digest. Like a snake slowly digesting it’s catch. Long past due.

I have always had five billion things to keep track of in my head and in my agenda, so this is very new to not have a lot of “balls in the air,” as we say in Swedish. Knowing me, I won’t have any issue filling my schedule. But now I am vowing to myself to commit to moving my body (aka exercise…my old track and cross-country runner-self misses having time for hard physical activity on the regs), feeling strong, writing my own music, reading, talking, visiting friends and home.

I will also continue working as a voice teacher two days a week and co-leading a ladies vocal ensemble through my favorite organization ever, Popkollo. I will also probably pick up some extra shifts as a nursing assistant at the nursing home for folks with dementia that I’ve been working at for the past two summers. A tough job that requires a lot of heart, but I am actually finding myself ultimately enjoying the connections that are made with co-workers and the people living there. Jeez, I could write a whole post about the characters that live in the home. It is mind-blowing to imagine what these people have experienced in their full lives yet cannot always tell.

Ok, time to wrap it up. In short summary, I need to unite my ideals and my artistic expression. I am not sure if classical voice is my medium, but I am still determined to examine it. I am not ready to deem it unsuitable for me, but I am desperately seeking ways in which it is right.

I think the reason why I write so infrequently here is because when I write, I feel like I want to write all of the thoughts in my head and how the world is actually just a fascinating and difficult place. Full of shit. Full of inequality and sadness. But also sometimes full of joy and love and inspiration and connection.

Much love!

"All the women who made me" 5/12/2015

“All the women who made me” 5/12/2015