March 2, 2012

I'm a ginger with a fin.

Call me a paranoid delusional schizophrenic, but I am a 16 year old red-headed mer-princess with a voice like an angel.  Call me what you want, but I have reasons to believe this shocking allegation.  Let me start from the beginning.  

First I shall say that pretty much any octo-footed life forms I can think of are scary and disgusting.  'Tentacles' is a word I find as uncomfortable as 'moist' and 'supple.'

I don't believe in coincidences so it should be no surprise that the Disney villain, Ursula, is an octopus that steals voices.  (It should also be noted that any word with 'pus' in it tends to eek me out as well.)  I have lost my voice in the past.  And, this is the clincher, I'm losing it again.  

Da, da, DAAHH!  

No?  Not funny?  

No kidding.  At least Ariel's life's dream was granted in exchange for her voice.  I got jack crap.  I would have even settled for a talking pet crab named Sebastian...   Who am I kidding, that would have been AWESOME.

All hilarity aside, I have a history with some pretty major vocal issues, not the least of which involves two surgeries trying to remove bi-lateral cysts that compromised all of my hopes of singing or talking normally ever again.

I was 'giving concerts' as a toddler and preferred to do so through high school.  It was in the end of high school and into college that laryngitis became a consistent ailment until it became the norm.  I didn't talk comfortably for over four years.  If I was out one night, my voice would be gone for the next three days or more.  I waited till after college to do the surgeries because I was scared shitless of the potential outcomes.  It was either success, no change or no voice.  But years of this forced silence and pain can make anyone crazy, especially me whose tolerance of bullshit is always at an all time low.  I went in for one surgery and came out having the doctors say they could only do half because the cysts were so huge that they couldn't risk the amount of scar tissue doing both sides at once.  After the first surgery, my result was no change.  I had one cyst still in there and my symptoms were the same.  So the next year, I went in again.  But this time the results were beautiful.  

I had no vibrato/head voice.  My vocal control of the alto range was at a point where it seemed like I never trained vocally in my life.  But I had something!  And I could speak clearly and without pain.  I was so relieved and felt so blessed especially because over time, I could sing again.  The coolest part that I hadn't even bargained for was that my ear- the ability to hear harmonies and assess pitch- was vastly improved.  I had to completely relearn my range and how to sing with my new voice so I was forced to look for notes and sounds that I could work with.  It was like doing scales with my ears.

The second surgery was in 2007.  And, after last year and this winter I'm paranoid that I'll be going in for one again in the next year or two.  Singing Itsy Bitsy Spider is a long shot for me lately and there is nothing more depressing that being alone with Vienna and having to click my tongue or snap my figures to communicate with her when I'm on vocal rest.  She looks at me like I'm a total moron and then proceeds to compensate for my lack of sound by adding her own loud sound effects.  I'm so worried for her that this problem is genetic.  Every time she yells like any toddler would, I have a minor panic that she's overworking her vocal chords.  The thought of her having to go to a otolaryngologist to have a scope inserted into her nose and down her throat makes me want to cry.  And then I remember I actually do have to go and do that and I really have a lump in my throat- no pun intended.

I have to admit that I've been a bit in the dumps these past few months cause my instinct is telling me it's happening again.  I've been on a few short term self-imposed vocal rests, have isolated myself a bit and sometimes have to go into work and teach using white boards and posters.  The kids think it's great and inventive- but all I want to do is go home and hide under my covers.

I hesitate to publish this because it sounds like Miserable Mary's having a pity fest and who wants to evoke all the Lamenting Lucinda's or Salty Sally's of the world?  I prefer to be miserable on my own- the last thing I want to do is be miserable around company.  But this is a fact of the Mama's life no matter how it feels to admit it or how lame it feels to whine via blogger.  Truth is, there is nothing more stifling or feels more like claustrophobia than being five feet tall out at night or around people at anytime without a voice.  I may as well be invisible.  Or stuck unda' da' sea while there is a whole other world of people out there that don't have this to deal with.  I want to be part of that world.  I want to talk and speak and go out like a normal person not scared of the repercussions or without having to remind my husband to tell me to be careful with volume or frequency of vocal use so I can conserve my vocal health.  Where is King Triton to destroy the villainous Ursula so I can get my pipes back again?  They should name a laryngologist office Triton.  What a branding idea.  Whoever uses it has to fix my chords for free.

"Whens it my turn?  Wouldn't I love, love to explore that shore up above, 
Out of the sea, wish I could be, part of that world."     

K.  I have to go play with my gadgets and gismos aplenty.  Bye.


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