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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

But, I'm an Alto...

Don't laugh, but I used to sing. I used to sing and loved to sing and harmonize. I sang voluntarily, and not just in the shower or car with the windows rolled up. Not as a soloist mind you, but in a choir. And I miss it. Well, I miss being able to breathe deeply, you know, the deep cleansing breaths that fill your belly...but being able to take that breath and turn it into notes that may or may not be right on key. Hey, I never said I was a pro.

At one point I could sing second soprano, which is a little bit higher on the scale but still not really in the headlining soprano range. I clearly wasn't caught up in the technicalities of singing, I just enjoyed being a part of something that created a nice end product. I used to claim first chair as a trumpeter, which often maintains the melody, but when listening to a band or orchestra or any kind of music, I would focus on hearing the other parts by supporting instruments. I mean, its not like a cello can't do a solo, its just not as common, just like oboes, clarinets, violas, and french horns are usually not featured. However, if they're not there, you might or might not know that they were the instruments missing but you might recognize that the overall sound is not complete.

So one of those times I was not exactly on key. Yeah. That was in front of people. With a microphone. I was doing a super short duet, the intro part to a song called, "Oh, that I were an angel". And the soprano was missing, so the director told me just to sing the part.

It had been ingrained in me to follow the tune of the main instrument, and so I always had. I knew my notes, I knew how to read them, but without a soprano to follow, I couldn't hit the right notes to save my life. I needed a soprano to sing the melody before I could harmonize with the alto part. I embarrassingly voice-fished for my part, bouncing between what I knew was the melody but was ever so slightly too high out of my range and what I should have been singing. It sounded more like yodeling.

Bad yodeling.

My point?

I can function on my own. I know enough to get by. But I'm an alto. I do so much better not taking the lead role, I'm way better at a supporting role. I don't want to take the spotlight. I'm not the flashy bright colors you see at first, I'm more of the undertones-type of person. Part of my problem is that even when there's just a melody, my brain automatically fishes for the harmony.

I'm somewhat of a closeted hopeless romantic. I'm still looking for that great love, my partner in crime in life, someone to share my miseries, accomplishments, and my baked treats. There was a time not that long ago when a man sang, "So you had a bad day" when I had a bad day. I have been serenaded on my answering machine, and still have the answering machine's microcassette to prove it. There was a time when I was bold enough to actually use my pointy finger at a hottie and tell him to introduce himself because I needed to know such good-lookingness. There was a time when I could to dig up a cute date the same day I had to be at a wedding (and he showed up in a flashy new red convertible and a new suit!). I love that a man once burned his finger while melting chocolate to make me homemade brownies from scratch. Once a gentleman answered his phone "Be still my beating heart!!" when I called. I once dated a man who wrote me a handwritten note at least three or four times a week and left them on my pillow or on my car's steering wheel the entire six months we were dating. One man baked tiny cookies and spelled out "I love you". One man I went out with didn't have much money so he would pick me wildflowers. No, I'm NOT making this up. When I was first sick with pulmonary hypertension, there was one who would carry me up the stairs, and give me piggy back rides on demand, and coached me while driving those handicapped carts at Target.

Being alone and being lonely are two different things, I certainly recognize that. And another truth I acknowledge and have ALWAYS proclaimed is that it is better to wish to married than wish to be single. But I have known what it is like to be loved, and miss it. I know what great love is, I know what its like to be treated well. Sometimes I wish I could be one of those women who can claim to be a whole person without a partner and it doesn't matter because they have their job/career/religion/family/friends/money/experiences/hobbies/DVD or DVR collection/pets/knitting needles/crochet hooks and yarn that make up the difference. But I have also experienced falling asleep in someone's arms during one of my favorite action movies not because of exhaustion or the movie was bad but simply because it was my most peaceful place to be and I always feel safe with him. And then waking up after the credits are rolling and just being so happy that having him as a pillow wasn't a dream; just being next to that 'him' made me smile. Not because neither he nor I were perfect, but because I know he was perfect for me. I've been that silly 'sentimental schmuck' that can't stop smiling just knowing there might be an upcoming possibility that I could see him. These glimpses of what I have had makes searching for what I want, well, it certainly sets the bar high. But when you've had a taste of the really REALLY good chocolate straight from Belgium, its hard to go back to the cheaper, drug-store variety. Factor in the, 'gee, when do I tell him I've got this rare terminal disease' part, on the first or second date? and its daunting to think of who's going to want me. Ugh. Don't get me wrong, I am so so SO grateful for the people already in my life, but you know how when a baby falls asleep on your chest and its the best peaceful feeling? Its intoxicating. There's nothing like being with your best friend who can morph to become that great love. I can't settle for less than what I've already experienced. Not that I am ever going to pull the 'you come here, I need to know you' move with my pointy finger again unless I'm uber compelled and feeling bold and just THAT confident again, but that knowledge of, "yes, he IS the love of your life" affirmation that many of you already know.
I'm still looking for my lead singer. (A classic.  Just for fun.)


  1. Miki, you are just TOO freaking awesome, and I love your honesty and humor. Thank you for sharing these things and giving us a glimpse into your heart. You are the most incredible example of a positive attitude no matter what. I appreciated your "alto/soprano" singing experience and totally cracked up as I read it. BTW, you should see my last 2 blog posts because I think you will get a kick out them :)

  2. Miki--I feel like I know you so much better! Love the way you write, and I enjoy the harmonizing analogy--I'm your fellow alto who would NEVER want to do the solo. Look forward to getting to know you better.