Sep 14, 2010

Letter to my ex Voice Teacher, part II

I don't know if anybody remembers when I posted a while ago about my experiences at Rick's college and the letter I eventually wrote to the voice teacher I had while attending school there.

I haven't posted about this since because I don't really feel like this is a therapy blog. It's a blog about day-to-day life, sometimes about venting or politics or emotional topics, but is hardly ever about my own personal traumas and healing.

Well, I feel like I should post the sort-of-conclusion of this whole saga that has been one of a two-pronged trauma in my life. It's odd, how trauma can happen all at once. I had this trauma, and then everything happened two years later with my ex husband, which was about when I started singing again.

Anyway, it was about two years ago that I received this surprising communication in my email inbox (names have been changed, of course):


I have held this e-mail for two years now; I am sure you do not remember sending it. At any rate, I have long meant to respond and hope you will forgive me for the unforgiveable delay.

I remember you well—your face, your voice, even the repertoire you sang. First may I say thank you for choosing to share your feelings with me. Your critiques are well-stated and well deserved I think. I take no offense; rather, I am grateful that you respect me at least enough to share your thoughts with me. I am grateful that you are able to sing again and that you have found a teacher with whom you can have a good relationship. I am sure that you and your talents are a blessing to your family and your community.

Believe it or not, I have reflected often on our experience together in voice lessons—every time I see your e-mail—and felt badly that I could not help you more. It was a difficult experience for me as well. It was my first teaching experience on the college level, and I had much to learn. Though many of my students did well, I am sure now it was not largely due to my ability as a teacher. I say this not by way of self-defense, but as an admission of my own lack of experience. I am truly sorry that our time together was such a negative experience. I think I have learned much since then—both about teaching and about people. After my experience with you, I never wanted to come up short again with a student, either as a teacher or as a counselor. I have worked to become more sensitive and supporting to my students, while still being able to help them understand and reach the standards required of them as potential music professionals. I may not always succeed, but I am trying. I have been blessed with great colleagues and students from whom I learn something every day.

Thank you again for your candor, and for what you have done to help me understand my teaching and improve upon it. It is my hope that one day we might meet again and be friends. I would enjoy meeting your family and hearing you sing. Perhaps that will not happen until the next life; in the meantime, however, I wish you the best in all your endeavors, musical and otherwise.

[Brother Snorfelbluss]

It's odd, because Skywalker and I applied for a job out at BYU Idaho just a few months ago. Ultimately someone else won out over Skywalker for the position. But throughout the whole process, I was thinking about Ricks (as I knew it then) and how it seemed kind of a harbinger in my life. The music thing crushed me. I was going to be a music teacher before all that. And didn't sing for two years after the experiences there.

But also I was engaged to my ex husband the whole time I was there. He was the center of my life. We wrote emails daily, and talked on the phone weekly, and he visited me twice while i was there, and I came back home twice, and we met in Salt Lake City once.

It was the year I left home. My mom brought me to school 2 weeks early because it fit her schedule better. She unloaded all my stuff, and then we stood there and looked at each other akwardly for a moment, said bye, and she drove off.

And then my life proceeded to change forever.

This was a trial-by-fire year, one that I thought would end with marriage and happiness and companionship and a full, long life planned with a certain person.

And then that quickly spiraled downward, too.

Ricks has a strange sort of hold over me. So in a way, I'm glad we're staying right here.

But in another way, I feel left behind. My little brother is there now. My little sisters in law will be going there soon. All the girls from my home ward are going to BYU Idaho, when, ten years ago, they'd all be squealing over BYU provo.

Have I been left in the dust?

Am I settled here?

Am I glad?

Is Skywalker doing what he's supposed to be doing?

Should I have stayed at BYU Idaho and not gotten married? Would I have pushed through and become a music teacher like I wanted?

So many questions. But none of them are important enough to answer.

My life is here now, it is what it is and I do love it, and I love my husband, and I've spent the last 10 years recovering and now I think I'm pretty much recovered enough to say I'm normal.

Anyway, Brother Snorfelbluss, I appreciated your note and will recommend you to my brother, who is now studying music up there in Rexburg. And maybe I"ll have to come up and listen to one of his concerts, and maybe you'll be directing. And it's quite possible that won't be a problem at all... in fact, maybe there's a little affection for you creeping into my heart now.

Love, NSG


Putz said...

i hope recovering isn/t contagious????????my dil wrote to me on a blog i deleted that karma{my wife } was tooo good for me to have her as a wife, which is true i admit, but it still came as a blow

Linda said...

What an amazing story! I'm sorry you had to go through those difficult times, but I think you are richer for it. I'm always inspired by things you have accomplished and what a wonderful woman you've become. I also enjoy hearing you sing.

Jayne said...

Wow. Your heart really went into this one. So much pondering, so many unanswered questions. As a sister blogger with just little glimpses into your life, it seems to me that your life is rich and full and that you're doing the most important job in the world: that of a mother. At the same time, I know that you know how to get some more definitive answers: Pray! As the Primary song says, "Pray, He is there; Speak, He is listening."

Anonymous said...

I have to post as "anonymous", because I'm too dumb to remember how to post as myself. As I was reading the part about me dropping you off two weeks early at Ricks because it would fit my schedule better, I thought "Man, that doesn't sound like something I would do." On reflection, I remembered that that was what I SAID, but what was really going on was kind of worse. I had misgivings about the fiancee. He was on a trip to Asia that summer. I wanted to get you away and in Idaho before he got back. I felt guilty because I sort of set you up with him, or at least encouraged the relationship at the beginning, and then as it actually progressed...I was apprehensive. So I lied about getting you there two weeks early. And my plan did not work anyway. And I feel badly now that my machiavellian plot actually may have caused you to feel as though you were unimportant, and my schedule was more valuable than your needs. I'm sorry.

NoSurfGirl said...

OH don't feel bad, mom.

It wasn't casting blame at all. Just... that's what it's like, leaving home for the first time. It kind of encapsulated the helplessness I felt at the time. If it hadn't been getting there two weeks early, it would have been getting there teh DAY before school started and feeling crazy and overwhelmed. No... I don't blame you. And I also Knew, in a lot of ways, what you were doing. Gosh I was so confused during that time.

NoSurfGirl said...

Thanks, Aunt Linda.

Singing is great. I enjoy hearing you sing, too. I love how there's so much musical enthusiasm in our family, which tends to lead to talent, too.

THank you for saying that about my becoming a good person. I'm still working on that one, I think!!!