my voice (part 1)

I've lost my voice.

I've been putting off this post for months, trying to figure out how to say that. But that's it right there.

It's a chronic throat condition, and it's forced me to stop performing indefinitely. As a singer, as a talker, my heart is broken. But also, I am deeply grateful.

This thing happened over a period of two years, slowly at first. Most of the time I was in denial, and I was still functional enough to perform, record, and converse for about an hour at a time before the pain would start.

But on tour this June, I got scared that I was doing myself permanent damage. I didn't perform for most of July and by August I couldn't have short conversations without intense pain.

Not being able to sing, or, often, speak, brought an anger I've never felt before. I couldn't tour and perform and make a living as a singer, and some weeks, I couldn't say please, or thank you, or I love you. I didn't even tell most of my friends this had happened—I hermited away in silence.

When I canceled this fall's tour, I started renting outside the city—a lovely house where I could concentrate on recovering. And so here I am, and I've done a lot of thinking. The anger is gone—it left when I realized that I could shift my outlook from one of entitlement to one of gratitude.

And this is what I've learned: I am profoundly free. Things happen to me every day; I have the freedom to choose my response to those things. In the past few weeks, I've chosen to be thankful.

I am thankful:

for my loved-ones and family, and the extent of love and care that I wouldn't have noticed if this hadn't happened

for the great health of my fingers, legs, eyeballs, ears, teeth, beard, skin, heart, brain---they all work so well!

for all the singing and talking I've been able to do in these 25-odd years, and that I'm now learning to listen more

for the three albums I've been able to record, and for the creative new ways I'm finding to manifest my art

for the savings I had which allowed me to try all sorts of treatments, even though I'm uninsured

for all the ways this time has focused my life priorities

for the realization that our voice is something more than the vibrations from our vocal chords

for hope! I think I will sing again sometime in my life! And I'll appreciate every bit of it when I do!

I have so much, and I see that now.