Changing My Story

Today’s post was supposed to be about the word “multivocal,” which was a Word of the Day that popped up into my email a month or so ago. I’m not sure what I was going to write about, but it would’ve been something important, I’m sure.

And then Monday happened.

I sang a funeral in the morning and then came home and helped my husband put away stuff in the TV room (basement). We had put new floors in and had had to empty out our wine fridge to be able to move it for the flooring guys. Since I’d noticed a few discrepancies when I would check the inventory, I thought we should do a thorough overview of what exactly we had. When we were done, I had found some changes that needed to be made, so, while my lunch was heating up, I ran upstairs to get my laptop so I could access the database before I started teaching in an hour and a half.

I walked into the office and I tripped up on the rug. It was a trip from which you can’t recover – I flew through the air and landed, chin first, on the back of my desk chair. There was blood everywhere. I was spitting out blood (and hoping there wouldn’t be teeth coming out with it), and it was gushing out of my mouth and chin. And it turned out, my right index finger had been gashed open as well (no idea how that happened). I have stitches in my chin, in my mouth right at the juncture of my lip and gum, and in my index finger.

Oh, and I broke my right kneecap. Which didn’t even hurt at the time.

No teaching this week. I’m resting, eating soft foods, and I’m just generally cranky. I’m really not in a lot of pain, except my lower lip looks like shredded meat and I seem to be in a perpetual pout.

Well, it’s no wonder that I’m pouting. I’m angry that I’m so clumsy.

Wait.

I also started Alexander Technique training via Total Vocal Freedom and today, something was said that made me re-think my definition of myself as being “so clumsy.” Which is a term used about me by myself and others as far back as I can remember.

Alexander Technique is about wholeness and awareness. It is about addressing use, rather than specifically intervening in order to address function. And use of your body informs your function.

Today one of the teachers said that the story you tell yourself informs your use, which then informs your function.

As a singer, this could mean:

  • “I can’t sing high notes” (story)
  • When I approach a high note, my larynx rises and cuts me off (story)
  • “I can’t sing high notes” (function)

You might also call this a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”

I realized my story is: “I am a clumsy person” (i.e., “I trip, therefore I am”). My use of my body is less than mindful, which means that I trip on rugs, my feet, dogs, air. My function is then affected because I am not using my body mindfully and I injure myself (in this particular case, having to slurp soup because my mouth is compromised).

I need to change my story. Here’s the new one.

  • I am a mindful person (story)
  • I enter rooms aware of my surroundings (use)
  • I remain upright (function)

“The Alexander Technique is a way of learning to move mindfully through life.” I’m ready to adopt this way of learning and stop falling downThe Alexander technique | SOUNDSORY | SOUNDSORY

What is your story? How is it informing your use? How is that, in turn, informing your function? Tell me about it in the comments.

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I’ll be back in the studio on Monday (hopefully less swollen!) and I have a few openings if you’d like to talk about
telling your story, and using your voice and body more efficiently in order to function effortlessly and efficiently.
Contact me here if you have any questions.

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.

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