After my final class in PR - which was analyzing PR situations (Tylenol Scare = good PR cuz we still use Tylenol; 3-Mile Island Nuclear Accident = bad PR cuz we're still quite afraid of nuclear energy); I decided working as a PR professional wasn't for me -- I didn't want to be on the front wave of any crisis... I didn't want to talk to press when the airplane crashed, or in healthcare PR when costs skyrocket & HMO's suck... a friend from Pepperdine had gone on to a small Musical Theatre conservatory in Ft. Worth, I applied and was accepted -- got home to Arizona and didn't know how I was going to  pay for it or  live - I had some relatives in the area but didn't have the nerve to ask them for help. So I stayed at home, started working for American Airlines as a reservation agent, and found barbershop. I had also started working with an independent theater company that helped me form who I am today -- but that is another whole series of posts... it wasn't just a theater company, it is a way of thinking and a way of life, and from the outside looking in it is too close to cult for comfort. But I digress.
I basically flounder around -- not sure what in the world I'm doing for 10 years...
I quit AA to tour the east coast from Boston to Key West with a small musical touring company based in Texas - we performed a Cole Porter Review, a USO style show, an interactive murder mystery show, and a children's 'save the earth' kind of show. That was 3 months and one of the best decisions I have made. ** I came back from that and worked as a receptionist at a local magazine; then I decided I really should have gone for a music degree, auditioned at the University for a vocal scholarship and got a full ride. Had the worst vocal professor on campus and he wouldn't let me jury in the second semester - I wasn't ready and I quit. I shouldn't have quit, yet at the same time the department is extremely political and my situation wouldn't ever have changed (i.e., I wouldn't have been allowed to switch vocal professors) and I didn't want to ruin my voice. ** Then came hell... 4 part time jobs with a two week period in which I had 5... 2 waitress jobs (one at a karaoke place; one an early morning shift at a 24-hour student-y restaurant), retail job in the mall, a morning newspaper route that I did -with my mother- (groan), and temporary receptionist.
I eventually went back to AA, and then I quit the theater company and went back to barbershop (I had quit after a year 1/2 because I was working nights and had no money, and it isn't an inexpensive hobby). I've been back in barbershop ever since - even the 5 years in Scotland.
Low Self-esteem, a number of things I seem to be good at and have a heart for, along with the people-pleasing aspect of my personality combine to have provided me with a severe lack of focus on achieving anything. I'd hear someone say, "You should do XYZ, you'd be great at that." So I'd try it. Whether I wanted to or not, it was at least a direction to travel in... since I didn't know what I wanted. But I did and do know what I want. ** This is huge for me to say this ** I want to be paid to do music. Perform. Teach. Coach. Of course, the lack of self-worth doesn't make a very stable place to live emotionally when in a career that constantly rejects you (auditions, performing...). I didn't possess enough sense of self to be able to do that. I haven't 'fought' for anything that hard. Some things come easy for me, so I stick with that. Yet I know the big dreams take work, and I haven't bothered. Difficult to explain.
I believe God created me with a talent, desire & a passion for singing. It is hard for me as a performer to understand the effect other performers have on other people, as I'm pretty critical when I'm just listening as an audience member. So for a long time I have not believed people when they compliment me -- I am gracious and thank them, but in my head I negate every single nice thing that has been said.
All that is changing -- I'm only 39 -- it's only taken be 18 years or so to admit I've run away from things that are hard and difficult, because there has been an easier path that was just as appealing at the time to follow -- no heavy lifting required ;-)
I basically cried the entire week at Pepperdine -- listening to powerful music. Powerful for me because of who I am and what I believe. Frustrated with myself because I keep seem to be missing opportunities -- but that is really just not sticking with anything long enough to be prepared when the opportunities present themselves.