Normalcy, Quirkiness and Authenticity

1E968FE3-C3A9-453F-A50B-9E8E2655128EB03E8F89-DA4A-4256-9357-0E74DF78789A_4_5005_c

As an artist, I have long considered myself as not being “normal.” Not being satisfied with the status quo, not being a person who has a “normal” job or a “normal” life. I’ve thought of myself as eccentric, quirky, and maybe a little weird. And I’ve been okay with that. Mostly.

But I was giving this some thought this morning as I was waking up and I was thinking that being weird for weird’s sake is just as gross as Amy Poehler’s character in Mean Girls:

Cool Mom meme

Hint: If you have to tell people you’re cool, you’re not. If you have to tell people you’re weird, don’t worry – they already know, and probably not in the way you mean. Both are examples of trying too hard.

If you are making music and your interpretation is different from the standard interpretation and it feels organic to you, then it is authentic and it’s okay.

If you are making music and you decide you’re going to be cutting edge for the sake of being cutting edge so you can get a rise out of someone, it might not be.

Rebellion to prompt an emotional response in order to effect change is good.

Rebellion to prompt an emotional response or provoke outrage without any kind of lasting effect or change is a tantrum. You’re just puking out your emotions and leaving them there for someone else to clean up. (How’s that for an image?)

Going back to my previous blogpost and Alan Alda’s wonderful line, “Unless I’m willing to be changed by you, I’m probably not listening” — if you are taking action without regard for what the outcome will be, then it’s not a process, it’s just a drive-by.

You don’t have to be “quirky” to get things done and feel things deeply. You have what people consider to be a normal life and still be an artist. You can be eccentric and still have your shallow, superficial moments (I do, more often than I want to admit).

As an artist, as a person, as a teacher, the most important thing I can be, for myself, for my family, for my students, is authentic.

[I wrote this on Tuesday and saw this post by Seth Godin one day later.]

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

What do you think?

%d bloggers like this: