By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I had made a name for my self as that-singer-chick. I was once stopped from crossing the street by some classmates who had heard me sing. They refused to let me cross the street until I sang "Stairway to Heaven" for them. Incidents like this, combined with accolades like being the only freshman and then sophomore from my school to go to All State Choir, and as a junior, being the fourth person ever to go to All State Jazz Choir from my town pretty much made me feel that singing was my destiny. This idea was further affirmed by people coming up to me and telling me that singing was my destiny.
More than that, being considered so good at one thing, people were always surprised to find that I could do other things, and sometimes reluctant to think of me in any other light. This was not always the case, but occurred often enough to make an impression. But after two years of being steered into other people's ideas of what my musical life should look like, I began to lose my taste for the lifestyle.
When I left college, I felt like a failure. I had been put on this earth to sing, and I was turning my back on that. I tried a few paths out (teaching, English, bartending) but nothing really fit. My failures here seemed to confirm for me that I was cursed so long as I abandoned music.
When my dad died, things kind of got put in perspective. My dad made a career of doing what was expected. He, too, had many talents. His academic and career path has more branches than mine. He went to school for teaching...and he taught Spanish for a few years. Then he decided that wasn't what he wanted to do, so he went back to school, this time to pursue a law degree. Half way through, he realized that he really enjoyed his science classes, so he went on to med school instead of law school. He became a psychiatrist and was very well respected in his field. He was also a devoted husband and father.
What is left out of this picture? He was a great poet. And he painted beautifully. He had a lovely singing voice and played several instruments. Everyone told him he was an academic, but I think he was secretly an artist. Maybe suppressing this inner calling contributed to him ending his life. I can't say for sure, but I know that he would have resonated with the idea that you can be good at more than one thing.
So why is this long-winded post titled "Validation?" Because that's what I got this week. Since I moved back home and started back in school, I've chosen a totally different career path. I'm studying mass communications, and I really enjoy it. More than that, though, I've found that I'm pretty good at it!
This past week, one of my professors (who I have only spoken to a couple of times since being in her class last semester) sent me an email saying that she had an internship that would be perfect for me. She said I was the first person she thought of. I was touched and excited.
But it gets better...
I emailed the head of my department to ask if he would support my decision to apply for the internship, and he echoed the sentiment that I would be a perfect fit. Really? TWO of my professors think this highly of me?
No. Three of them do.
Today, while meeting with professor number one, a third professor popped his head in the door and offered his two cents. He said, and I quote, that I am, "awesome-sauce." If I ever write a book, that review is going on the jacket.
Told ya, validation. Three professors think that I am perfect for this job and are excited to see me succeeding. To me, this is proof that I can be good at more than one thing. That is a powerful realization.
The internship in question may not be a perfect fit, but it's a step. And more than that, having the support of my department proves that, even if this isn't the right thing for me, I don't have to be a singer to be successful. This gives me renewed hope that I can and will find my passion! Thanks, Mass Comm. Department for the much needed ego boost!