This Small Room


When I was growing up, I lived in a small 3 bedroom ranch house. We had one bathroom, two good sized bedrooms (although neither was particularly large) and a third bedroom which we called the small room.

Until I went to college, I had one of the bigger bedrooms and my sister (who was 8 years younger) had the small room. I commuted to college the first year and then moved to the dorms for my second and third year, coming home most weekends to work, since school was only five miles down the road.

One day during summer break, I came home from going to the Wisconsin State Fair with my friends to find that my sister had moved into my room and that all my things had been put into the small room. I wasn’t informed this would be happening, even though I still had three more weeks before school started, and as much as I protested, I was relegated to the small room for the remainder of the time I would be a resident of that house. Even when I moved back home for my senior year of college. With my stuff crammed into a small dresser that wasn’t mine, my clothes crammed into a too-small closet, and my body up against a wall in a too-small bed.

And for much of my life, I felt contained by my surroundings. I felt that I was too much for my space, for those I grew up with, and even for my family.

Once, long after I’d moved out, I had learned a new aria and was eager to sing it for my mother. After I finished it, she said, “I don’t know. Maybe it’s too loud for this small room.

She didn’t like opera. But I don’t think any room would have been big enough for her to enjoy my singing.

So many of us feel or have felt constrained by rooms that have been too small, whether it’s the actual physical space or the room in our heads, whether it’s through our own perception or that of another person. I haven’t felt that way for a long time now, thank goodness. And if you feel that way ….

Blow off the doors. Knock down the walls.

Personal Best (this time around)

I am in Winchester, VA, right now, where I am taking a post-certification course in Somatic Voicework™ the LoVetri Method. This is a vocal pedagogy program for contemporary commercial music, and the subject of my post-cert course is Speaking and Singing with the Same Voice. 

Today I decided, after two weeks off from running (it’s been hot, I had a hand injury, I’ve been catching up on sleep, blah blah blah) that it was time. I’d made it to week 8 of c25K and hadn’t noticed any particular increase in my speed. I was still moving at around 15 minutes/mile, which is honestly not much faster than I can walk. It was discouraging.

I woke up early and it was actually under 80 degrees, so I thought that today was the day to get back into it. I elected NOT to use the c25k app, just cardiotrainer to keep track of my pace/time/distance. I walked 3 minutes (basically from the hotel to the campus across the street) and then ran another 27 minutes, stopping to walk only for a few minutes to try to figure out how to get Spotify to play music (it didn’t work). 

I ran 2.5 miles in 30 minutes. This is huge for me. I actually ran significantly faster than I walked. I’m not sure why.

I’m starting to gain perspective on why this is The Year I Ran Redux. There are some changes going on in my life – partly due to relocating, but some other things on the horizon. I’m feeling good about this, and I think I can start thinking about another 5K somewhere down the road.