Last April, I sang Cherubino in my school's production of my favorite opera ever, Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. It utterly changed my life, and if you know me at all, you've heard me talk about it a lot. I also wrote about it here and here. The night I sang the role, I wrote the following sentence on Facebook:
This semester has been stupid hard for me, but it is at the opera that I am healed.
The previous month, I had been rejected from almost all the graduate programs I had applied to.
Truthfully, the only thing that kept me going during that month was my opera rehearsals. And lessons and coachings and choir and singing.
It is at the opera that I am healed.
It's still true, y'all.
During February and March and April, I was aching in ways I didn't even know I could ache. School was insane. I was unhappy with my body. I was preparing a senior recital, and I felt like I had failed in the biggest way I could fail.
But there was rehearsal.
And the chance to step into someone else's body.
And the chance to open my mouth and sing.
To sing is to fly, y'all.
It's the wind whistling through your hair and in your ears and adrenaline pumping into the tips of your fingernails and everything beautiful the world ever gave.
I lived for opera rehearsal. I had several conversations with my mom on the phone that went like this: "Yeah, today was kinda sucky, but I had Figaro rehearsal tonight, so that made it better."
And one morning I woke up and found that some of the pieces of my heart had been knit back together by the power of God and the music of Mozart (also known as The Man Himself).
The day I was rejected from one of my top choice schools was the third day of spring break.
I know this because I was driving back to Lubbock from my parents' house to have a coaching.
I read the email when I was in my car.
Before you sing, it's not a good idea to start crying. It messes with the mechanism of the vocal folds. If you are practicing and start crying, it's usually a good idea to stop practicing for the rest of the day.
So I couldn't cry, because I had a coaching.
My well-beloved voice coach asked me when I got there if I had heard back from any graduate schools. And that's when I told him: all nos.
His eyes widened. Mine watered.
"I told myself I wasn't gonna cry," I said, to myself as much as to him.
My coach isn't a sentimental person, which is why it meant the whole wide world to me when his next words were quiet and sweet. "We don't have to talk about it right now, if you don't want to. We can talk about it next week."
Sniffles. Silence. Then:
"... You wanna sing?"
It was the first day I was singing through an entire cycle of songs in Catalan. The songs are incredibly moving. They simmer under the surface with emotion that flows off of the vocal line in blue waves. It sounds like something more than weeping, deeper than grief.
I thought I was going to lose it and dissolve into sobs in front of my voice coach.
But I didn't cry.
As I sang, I found that something in me settled.
Clicked into place.
Felt like home.
Something righted itself, and I felt whole.
I'm involved in a show right now, too. Just when I thought I couldn't possibly be in a show right now, when I thought it would kill my heart to be in a show but not in school -- I find that it is healing me.
To be on stage?
To sing gorgeous music?
This is my medicine.
This is my catharsis.
This is my healing process.
I can say it no other way than that the opera has made me whole.
Every day that I have been afraid to feel, the singing makes it okay.
Something in me is made right again, by the power of God and by depth of feeling and the music.
You see, just as it's always ever been Jesus, it's always been singing for me, too.
Get me on a stage and I've come home.
Get me to sing something, and I can feel in my bones and my core that it's going to be okay.
That I'm going to be alright.
It is at the opera that I am healed.
I have nothing else to say to that except Praise God.
Look at Him, knitting us back together with the strength of His arm and the love of His heart and the things He's hard-wired into our souls.
It is at the opera that I am healed, because the presence of God is there, too.