By Beverly Grafton
This week saw me through a fair amount of pain. A lot of it was personal and I struggled with it a little by myself, as I always find it a chore to explain to anyone else that isn't involved about what's going on. It's just logical to me to find the least troublesome way to get through my issues. Gone are the days when my answer each time I faced a problem was to get dressed up and drink myself into stupidity. That itself was stupidity and it wasn't a solution. It was my great escape. Which meant, that my problem would still be there when I woke up.
These days, I opt for a healthier view on my mental health. I am heavily involved in arts and crafts, speaking of which, I'm in the midsts of completing a tapestry piece for a cushion, sewing a cross-stitch piece for the wall, knitting a throw and filling up a 1.8m long 5D diamond drill painting, all at the same time. I guess my hands need something to do that will require minute attention to detail and extreme dexterity. And I love needles.
I am blessed to have this blog to write. It really gives me something to look forward to each day as I curate the videos based on how my day went. I get to redirect any feelings into something constructive and send positive stuff out instead. At the same time, I'm also kept busy with household chores like mountains of laundry (two females, two beds, two closets worth - it's a freaking mountain), vacuuming, mopping, pruning the plants on the roof, dusting, groceries and more that I'm getting exhausted by just thinking of it. Doing all that gets me tired so I sleep well. But I don't do it all at the same time. I spread them over the week because you see, I still conduct vocal technique sessions through the week. And it was through these sessions that I would find joy.
When a voice comes to me with its individual set of difficulties and seeks my expertise in helping them overcome them, I painstakingly formulate each class around their vocal needs and wants. Bespoked, so to speak. I work together with them to find and articulate the most authentic expression of their hearts and souls. There's magic in each one of them. From the gifted, to the hardworking to the ones that society has deemed tone deaf, I have seen marked improvement in each one. To hear the difference in their voices, to hear the confidence slowly unfold as they learn to channel the color of their souls with the gift of song, this is the biggest joy that I derive in my daily life.
It is also how I manage to find a reason to smile before I go to bed every night.
Doing work and activities that resonate with my soul brings a most needed energy boost to my aura and my life. Almost an upgrade, if you will. Sure, I was singing and gigging before and I had fun doing that but it wasn't real happiness. It wasn't the kind that pulsed from the depths of my soul. I was just taking my pay and calling it a day. I wasn't using the best of my talents to make changes in the world. I was thankfully putting food on my table and paying rent on time (mostly early!) but my soul felt numb. I had stories to tell but they weren't authentic. They weren't mine, and mine were begging to be shared. I got to share my stories on Wednesday the 30th together with one of the closest members in my musical family, Wayne Sandz. Our paths don't cross often on the scene but we go way back and he's forever etched in my history. The music magic we made has convinced us that we need to keep this going, especially now that we are in a time where it's a blank slate and anything goes.
Anyways, this is my reality now and I will tell you, there will always be reasons to cry. Some will be good and some will be bad but for every reason to cry, 5 more reasons to smile pop back up at me and I'm never down for long. If you're a musician reading this and you're not doing something that resonates with you right now, don't let it get you down. If you're in a boring corporate job that has you questioning if this is all there is in life, don't let that get you down either. Everything we are going through is transitory. Make time for yourselves next week to try something new and pick up meditation. Fill your schedule outside of work with things you want to look forward to. It's ok to give yourself time to grieve over what sucks in your life but at some point, you need to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that it's time to take action and start showing yourself some love.
Like I've been telling you guys, find a reason to smile before going to bed and as always, remember to celebrate yourselves!