And now, for something completely different.

I know, I know. I haven’t been a very good blogger this past year. But honestly, there’s been so much going on and I’ve been so overwhelmed that I just wanted to retreat and take stock of things before posting again.

So. To the three, maybe four, readers who still follow this blog, hello again.

I’ve been sorting through the photos I took last year trying to choose what to post, so expect a few new items to appear here soon. But for now, as I said above, here’s something completely different.

A few people in my life know that I love to sing. I love music, all kinds and all genres. As long as it resonates with me or has a good melody, I’m all over it. I’ve been known to listen to the same album — heck, even the same song — over and over for weeks on end, which, needless to say, drove the people around me absolutely batshit crazy. But I regret nothing. Ha ha.

My love affair with music took a backseat when my mom was dying in 2006. Mom was a coloratura soprano who would constantly sing around the house; I have many memories of her singing kundiman and arias  with our piano teacher on Saturday afternoons while we kids played in the shadow of a giant duhat tree on a small hill near our house. We didn’t have very many neighbors at the time, and the sound of her voice would carry from the farm almost all the way to the highway, which was a good 10-minute walk from our street.

Mom was so good that she was offered a full scholarship to the UST Conservatory of Music to study voice and music theory, but she declined because she was already pregnant with my sister at the time. Between working full time and taking care of three bratty kids, there wasn’t much time for formal classes, but she always welcomed an opportunity to sing, even if it was just singing along to the radio while she worked from her home office.

She loved to hear me sing, and always encouraged me to do so, but I always felt so awkward and inadequate next to her powerhouse of a voice that I hardly sang in her presence. Dad also sang very well — and still does, to this day — and that did not help to make a painfully shy kid any more confident in her singing abilities. I ended up singing my heart out with friends at my college tambayan, and even performing in public quite a few times during poetry readings, and later, at friends’ weddings. I sang everywhere and anytime, and I loved it.

But still, I never felt comfortable singing for my mom. Even when she was dying in the hospital and begging me to sing for her, I would always hem and haw and find a way to get out of doing it, something that I would later come to bitterly regret. She used to ask me all the time to sing two songs in particular, which I will not name here, and I would oblige her on the rare occasion. Looking back, it was a horrible thing to do to a dying person. Now, ten years after her death, I still wish I’d granted her request more often than I had then, and I still feel a tiny twinge in my heart whenever I perform for a crowd of strangers.

I lost my voice, almost literally, after she died. Music no longer held any appeal. I remember recording a song at 4am on my tiny mp3 player two weeks after we’d lost her. I stopped singing or even deliberately listening to music for a long, long time after that. I lost my voice to guilt and regret and to the treacherous voice inside me that always told me I would never be good enough.

But that was then.

These past few months I’ve found a community of wonderfully strange people online who have become my friends, and they’ve encouraged me to start singing again. I’ve been taking tentative steps towards putting music back into my life, and they’ve witnessed the struggle and the sometimes horribly pitchy recordings that I sent them while I was getting my confidence and my voice back.

Some of those recordings will never make it past that small circle, but now I’m starting to feel confident enough to let the world at large — or, you know, you three or four lovely, lovely weirdos still following me here –hear my voice again.

All this is really just to say, here’s my latest recording, and I hope you’ll like it, and thank you for still being here.

17 thoughts on “And now, for something completely different.

  1. Heeeey!! You sound really nice! I don’t know what I was expecting when I played your recording but your voice came out and I was pleasantly surprised! And I like to think your mum is smiling down on you right now and loving that you’re singing again…

  2. …And now, as all the lights are blinking off
    in every prairie town we’ve ever loved,
    when all the toasts are made and songs are sung,
    when leaving is the only certainty,
    a single voice keeps echoing, along
    each dark, untraveled hallway of the heart.

    (an excerpt from Absences by Mark Vinz)

  3. …jumped in here from “Smallest Forest” link. Your voice is lovely (especially first thing in the morning). Mercy. I am glad that you are back to singing, for God gave you (evidently your entire family) a voice as a gift, and using it is His only requirement for making it grow! The scriptures teach us that When God gives us a gift He expects it to be used, and for our obedience, He will bless us with more of that gift and others – kind of a win win situation with God (always!) – for every command obeyed we are given a blessing. I believe all that stuff they teach us in church, so I believe your mother will hear you, you will feel her presence from time to time, and isn’t that just another gift!

  4. I’m glad you’ve started to use your voice again, and shared this lovely recording with us. If I had a voice like that, I would certainly have fun with it!

  5. I know what it’s like to have that year off. I have been there myself. This is actually the first post I’ve read since deciding to get back to my blogging. And how inspiring; you’ve gotten back to yourself in more than one way, and good for you. On another note, I’d say my one compulsive tendency is listening to any one song I love on repeat for a month straight; so I’m in your club!

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