Ago I sang my senior recital at CSUF. 6 YEARS! That day was a wonderful day, a culmination of SO many years of hard work, tears, sacrifice. I don't think I have written my story, about my journey back to school, so here it is, 6 years later, and I don't think I will cry writing it down.
I had gone back to school after a haitus from BYU, I had come home after I had broken off a short engagment and needed to escape all things BYU. I spent a painful summer trying to find myself again, realizing that I would NOT be returning to BYU, and this was a relief, no matter how much I thought I would miss my job, or singing in the choirs there. I started running again, started doing LOTS of things again that I had put on the back burner. I was digging myself out of a dark and scary place. I needed the Lord back in my life.
So, at the end of the summer of 2000, I started getting all kinds of wedding announcements in the mail from friends, 'weird I thought, how did I ever think I was ready to get married'. And I continued to dig. I decided to start attending the single's ward in my stake, and immediately made some great friends and received a calling in the RS Presidency. These things saved me. I found instant friends who liked me for me, who wanted me to be happy, and I met Chris. Chris and I hung out in the same circle of friends, and my initial impression of him was not great, I thought he was pretty arrogant, but he was intriguing. Well, needless to say, we were engaged 5 months later. He and I fell in love quickly, and I knew he was the man to mend my broken heart. It will be nine years this summer, he is a dream come true.
So, Chris and I were married in summer of 2001. I decided to get a job, help pay for LIFE since we were pretty poor. Chris was busy being a fighter pilot saving the world, and I was also attending classes part time at the Community College after being rejected by Fresno State. (Shocked and dismayed I was, how could they reject me??!) Turns out not enough GE requirements. So, I took Health, Speech, and a myriad of other courses to qualify to apply for acceptance to a California State school. I finally was accepted to school and in the Fall of 2002 began taking music courses at Fresno State, however, I was accepted as a SOPHMORE, and so the journey began to finish my degree. This was a blow, I thought, I have completed 5 years at BYU! I have to do two more years? Alright I said, I will. I want this, I want my degree.
I loved it! I LOVED school. I had not loved college at BYU, but this experience was so different! I had two professors in particular that treated me like a collegue, I was the personal assistant for my voice teacher, and had a very close relationship with the director of choral studies. Both women are exceptionally talented and I miss them both. They both treated me like an adult, a musician, someone with insight and talent, they trusted me, and they both believed in my abilities and dreams. I have great memories of these women. They shaped my success in school, and ultimately helped me heal from my prior vocal experiences.
March 14 2004 I sang my recital. I remember feeling elated, fulfilled, accomplished, satisfied. I had never sang as well in my whole life. Two months later I graduated with my degree in Music Education with a Vocal Emphasis.
Life was good. I felt fulfilled, I was also pregnant with my little Ellie Anna, she was my little internal companion while I studied and sang and toured in Mexico with Chamber Singers, she was my little light even before she was born, she drove me forward and helped me complete the last few weeks of college. In May when I accepted my diploma, I knew an important part of my life had come to a close. My journey to obtain my degree was not an easy one, but so worth the effort.
I am writing this now because I feel like anyone should know its not too late to finish, or start over, or accomplish a dream. Singing choral music at BYU was a dream, and I loved it, but their voice program was not for me. I needed a hands on teacher that would teach me technique and guide me, not expect me to know everything already and do it myself. I miss my friends from BYU, and wish I could sing with them again. The music we made was incredible, and I will not ever forget it. I have some fun memories there lots of laughter and joy. But, I had to start over, to be humbled, to feel completely vunerable to succeed. I had to fall, and fall hard to realize that I needed to put my trust in the Lord; that trust helped me and I flourished. My voice grew, my spirit soared, and I have never looked back. Now six years later, I am contemplating masters programs. It's a new journey, one I hope to embrace fully.