I guess some people like to sleep in on Saturday mornings. Well, for me, "sleeping in" equals sleeping in till 7:30, but I usually can't even sleep until then. I rise before the sun, y'all, for the primary reason that I love sunrises. I'm sitting in by bed right now watching a lovely, golden February sunrise that looks like it came straight out of Pride and Prejudice (the amazing movie). I love to watch the world wake up. It's just me and Jesus and as many giant cups of tea as I can fit in my body (so far, three in two hours). I'm convinced there is nothing as beautiful as a sunrise, and I'm so glad that I'm a morning person so that I can enjoy them. So. Patience. Somewhere, my AIMS voice teacher is laughing. This is a concept I struggle with so much. The perfectionist in me wants to be really amazing right now. I can see a glimmer of what I want to be, so I push and push toward that goal with the driving force of a steamroller. Patience is hard for someone like that. If you aren't one of these people, congratulations: you're probably a much more patient individual. As for me, though, if something takes time, I freak out. I feel like less. Like I'm falling down on the job. I feel like I should be much farther than where I am, and I fear that I'm not good enough. Because isn't that the perfectionist's worst nightmare? The idea of not being perfect, not being "enough", is our own personal hell.
This concept has been on my mind this week because of a couple of things that have happened in the last few days. On Thursday, I had a coaching on what is most definitely the hardest thing I've ever sung. It features a lot of coloratura and fireworks, and allow me to be the first to tell you that my voice does not naturally want to move that way. Because I'm a perfectionist and want everything to be just so right now, I learned the piece. My coach hit the nail on the head when he said, "Sara, you are just such a good student that you got this piece and learned it all really fast. And you can definitely sing this aria, but you have to give your body time to absorb it." I have to give this piece the time that it deserves. This concept in itself is not hard for me, but when I get started on this like this, I'm always done in by the waiting in the end. I want the finished product now, and though I'm willing to put in the work to get it, I become frustrated when it doesn't happen as quickly as I think it should.
Yesterday (Friday) morning I was having a conversation with my friend Kim (shoutout to Kim) about repertoire, and we were talking about pieces like that: pieces that take a long time, with which you have to spend long, painful hours -- because they deserve it. Since everyone in the world is more patient than I am, everyone else has a much more rational response to the need to be patient, while Sara is over here hyperventilating because she doesn't think she's good enough. If you think that doesn't happen when I'm on voice rest, then you're kidding yourself. The entire time I was on voice rest for the last couple of weeks (sidebar: my voice is back, and I'm so beyond happy about it), I had to fight my instinct that told me that because I wasn't practicing (couldn't practice), I was somehow less.
I guess this post is a letter to myself that waiting doesn't make you less. It's not an accelerated process, that's true. It won't make you amazing tomorrow. But it will make you better in the end. Be wiling to wait for healing. Be willing to wait till you're older. If you don't, you will be hurt now. If you can wait, you will see why it's all worth it in the end.
And I know for a fact that this is a life principle -- doesn't that just suck? Patience is crap if you can't get peace about it. So my advice is to get some peace about it. It kind of goes back to what I posted about last time: learn to be content with where you are. Stop longing for where you aren't right now: if it's meant for you, it'll come; if not, you'll be better for not having it. So much of the grace of God comes in the form of keeping from us where we don't know we don't need to be.
So tell your inner perfectionist that it's okay. If you need to slow your roll, then slowing your roll is the best thing. It's alright to take your time while you work on the things that matter. Big dreams are realized through patience. You know, I'm a big believer in hard work, but even I have to admit to myself that the only way I'll realize my dream is if I work hard and am patient with myself. Some things just naturally take time. They just do. And it's okay. Because those are the things that matter.
I can't really think of a good way to close this except by telling you what I have to tell myself every day: be patient with yourself. Do your best, work hard, be insanely driven -- I truly believe that without that, we don't get what we want. But when, in the natural process of the thing you're working for, you have to take some time, don't be ashamed of it. Patience is not shameful (says the perfectionist). It just shows that you have enough love for that Thing that you want that you're willing to work and wait for it.
Perfection doesn't happen in this life, anyway. You don't have to be perfect right now. I don't have to be perfect right now (I'm trying to own it). Work and wait, and don't be ashamed of the process. The process is really about spending time with what you love -- and isn't that the point?