Jukebox Hero


CC0 Public Domain blitzmaerker

On the matter of gifts.

Some of us have been given a wide variety of gifts. You might say we are blessed. In my case I was singing since I was a young child. I had sisters who were better performers, but I had one of the highest sweetest voices in my elementary school.

Still my parents told me at a young age that my talent was music appreciation rather than singing. I believed them. Even when I went to college and worked hard to get a degree in music, in the back of my mind there was a voice saying that I wasn’t good enough. I just wasn’t quite good enough. So I turned my back on music and used other gifts of intelligence and memory.

What I have learned in a very hard way is that if you don’t use a gift, then you will eventually lose it. I might lose my voice or at least my singing voice. But, I would rather live than die, which seems to be the way all my decisions go lately. So I will have the surgery and I will let my throat and voice heal.

A year or so ago I decided to join a choir. Because I could read music, I was put in the alto section as a high alto. My voice was rusty because it had been so long since I had reached the high notes. Starting as an alto was fun and reminded my voice that it could soar. I didn’t understand why my partner was so excited. She kept telling the choir manager, who was two seats away from me that they needed to keep me. Then before I started this search into why I was feeling so ill, my voice began to croak at inconvenient times.

What I didn’t know was the croaking was a symptom of a thyroid problem.

Believe me I had no idea that my voice was had that clear quality that pleased other ears. I am over fifty and I could still hear my father say that my voice would never amount to anything so I needed to be grateful that I had an ear for music.

I have other gifts I have developed. I used to be quite intelligent. I am not bragging. It is just another gift like being able to draw or write. I do envy people who have the talent of organization or leadership. It has been quite a shock to find out that my native intelligence is contingent on the healthiness of my body. When I am on certain chemicals to keep my body from relapsing, I lose much of that intelligence. The body is quite a marvelous piece of engineering.

I have always been a poet, but I didn’t start developing my gifts in writing until I went to college the second time. This time I went into English Literature with a minor in German History. Every semester I would end up writing two term papers for each class and various writing projects. It was academic writing. The sheer volume of writing made me grow and learn.

I admit that Creative Writing is a different beast altogether. When I decided to move from poetry to short stories and novels, I didn’t realize that I was going through a new apprenticeship. I have to admit it has been fun and continues to be a learning experience.

If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

Singing is the one talent that I haven’t been able to use. Now I am facing the end of it. As a teenager, I desired to sing. It was a burning in my chest and throat. Everything around me was sound and I loved it. Even with the crippling stage fright that now I know was generated by my parents, I wanted to sing.

In my mind I see myself in a long red dress in front of a small intimate jazz band. I sing the blues. Maybe in another dimension and another time–another me sings.

10 thoughts on “Jukebox Hero

  1. It is difficult to realize that your parents did not support your desire to sing. My brother my have laughed at my writing, my parents never. Mama pushed me to sing and perform. The allergies in Iowa took my voice as I coughed hard enough that my throat bled. I went from a soprano to a tenor in less than a year and I was all of fourteen. Yes, a thyroid condition can create a gray world where one’s brain does not function. I pray your throat will heal enough for you to sing again.

    • Dang– that sounds more than painful Mari– and even my voice doesn’t come back the same, then I can sing. My grandmother was tone deaf and still sang at home in the shower, and when she rocked babies.

  2. This resonates deeply with me. My father was on of those one-in-two-hundred with natural perfect pitch. I always loved singing but he told my I couldn’t carry a tune in a basket (among other sever abuse) It is only in recent years that I decided to join a really good choir. I have since learned that I have a better than adequate voice – high soprano – and love the choir. But I still long to find the confidence to sing a solo. It’s on my bucket list. I’m 68 now. Time is running out. I now believe, that had I had the support and training as a child I would have become a singer, possibly even an opera singer. That dream is gone, but I WILL one day sing that solo.

    So I feel your pain at losing your singing voice. You are not alone.

    • I understand your feeling. I feel the same. Still we are now who we are. Plus I hope you gain the confidence and practice to sing a solo. Does your choir have small solos? You can start there 🙂 Sending good thoughts.

    • Thank you. I don’t advocate growing up this way. It did force me to be stronger … in that I work harder for what I want to achieve. I do break on the same scars… sadly. I am working on that.

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