Sometimes the best things in our lives are the ones we don’t ever expect. I’ve written about the choir I’m in a few times before when I was fairly new to it, in some ways I still am, still learning the songs they’d done before, still figuring out why I seem to be one of the tallest when we stand to perform when actually I’m not that tall but I’ve been there a bit longer now.
Back when I wrote before it was all very new and exciting, my enthusiasm comes across in those earlier posts. Now I’ve been there a bit longer I guess I have a different view on those two hours once a week I spend practicing with the rest of the choir, in just the last few months I’ve grown as a person and learnt a hell of alot about myself and about what I want.
Let’s wind it back to the beginning, my mum and her friend were in the choir and I always thought I’d hate it, I hadn’t sung since being in school and I’ll be honest I kind of saw the songs I’d heard as being quite old-fashioned so I didn’t think it was for me at all. I finally agreed to go a taster evening to see what it was like around Christmas time and I surprised myself because I loved it, everything about it was warm, friendly and fun.
The first concert I did with them was really good fun, it felt like we’d worked really hard towards something and we were sharing the product of our hard work together. Back in June I left my job and I think I lost some of my confidence too, it didn’t feel the same anymore when I went to choir. I wasn’t as sure of what I sounded like or that I could remember the tune to anything and it threw me, it was more a confidence thing than anything else…I’ve never been the loudest of people and I did have little confidence after I’d had cancer but I’ve always been sure of myself and happy in who I am I’m just not one to shout it from the rooftops. That changed a little bit because I wasn’t sure what I was doing anymore. What I wanted to do or what I even enjoyed, on top of that I was having three and four day migraines which drove me insane so I didn’t enjoy it anymore. I didn’t feel like I had a place there anymore and wasn’t sure I ever did.
I threw myself into volunteering and job hunting.I still went to choir, I wanted so badly to love it again like I used to and I’m not one to give up because I hit a block…I wasn’t working and was applying to ten and twenty jobs every day, anything to give me some sort of structure again. It’s depressing; really hard when you have no reason to get up and leave the house in a morning…it drives me mad. That’s where going to choir found its place in my life.
After a few weeks of going when I didn’t want to, of pushing myself to enjoy it, even discussing with a friend that I was going to leave…I didn’t feel like I was good enough, fun enough or loud enough to be there. My friend, ever the one to be honest with me said, “Have you actually lost your mind? You love choir, you can’t leave!” she certainly wasn’t impressed with my train of thought.
Then one day I went by myself because the people I go with weren’t around and it was lovely, I was a part of it, not just sitting in the background, that’s when my thinking changed…it was friendly even though I was there by myself and after a few minutes I wasn’t on my own. I felt how I did back when I first started, like a part of something. It’s become my constant, in a time where I have no idea what my plans are and I’m just hoping to get that perfect job interview…to have something to do, it has been kind of like my anchor. I was so down about not having a job, not really knowing what I was doing and definitely not feeling like it was in my control but it changed after that night, from the singing which I love to the pep talks from some of the members of the choir with a little more life experience than me it’s good to have those times and be around those people that make you laugh.
I was recently told that I seem much happier and much more like myself than I did a few months ago and I am, I don’t have a clear plan yet but I know I’ll get there and it’s not the end of the world if I do something temporary in the meantime. What I do know is that had I left choir it would have been the worst thing I could do so I’m proud that I pushed through those weeks and I’m grateful to be a part of something that does have a special place in my life. There are people of all ages there and it’s lovely to all come together during those few hours and have a laugh. It’s definitely brightened my weeks when there wasn’t much light.
I’ve learnt it’s all about how you think about something; it’s about not beating yourself up because you hit a block or a stumble, the best of us make mistakes, have a rough time sometimes and that’s ok. Having something to put a smile on your face during that time is so important, for me the biggest thing that did that is being part of a Choir, don’t get me wrong I still have my moment of nerves and I’m not always super confident when I go there sometimes but I know that’s because it means so much to me and the people there do to.
It’s not all about the singing, although it’s the reason we are there you don’t have to be the next Whitney to be welcomed or to enjoy it, you just have to be willing to try and you’ll find your feet along the way. I believe it’s the atmosphere and the people you surround yourself with that makes any experience and what I know is that whether I’m not there for one week or six it’ll still be welcoming and friendly when I return. It helps that we have a lovely, talented choir director who is extremely encouraging and patient, she is at the heart of it.
Laughing, singing and just chatting with the people there all gave me my confidence back and gave me grounding, a starting point for what it was I enjoyed. I’ve had some of the best times I’ve ever had there and I think I finally found my space in a group of wonderful women who have big hearts and big voices.