Debunking the Myth Within Myself

 A reflection follows. Originally posted to FB November 19, 2023

This memory popped up today.  At the time of this post I was working as a CNA in an assisted living facility in which we lived for "free" in exchange for 20-hours/week of honestly horrible work. (For those in this industry, GOD BLESS YOU!)  We did this to save money, pay off a mountain of debt, and allow me to be an "at home" mom, assuming there would be more children.  I had sold my bassoon, and performed only in the 23rd Army Band UTARNG.  I really believed my "career" was over and tried fervently to find peace and joy in the work of motherhood.  Ken was working full-time, nights and weekends, while completing his degree in auto mechanics.  It was an interesting time in our lives.  Morgan made a ton of developmental progress.  In retrospect, that one fact made the rest worth it.  This period of full-time motherhood/domesticity lasted about two years for me.  

Towards the end of this chapter of my life, I connected with Lori Wike in the process of preparing for an audition - because we were slowly realizing that domesticity was not a long-term plan for me.  Lori agreed to help me prepare for an audition I wanted to take (which I did not win) and spent 2+ hours with me in our first lesson.  At the end of that lesson she asked me what I was doing, a bit unclear.  "Oh, I'm working as a CNA...I was in Army bands...thought I was done with bassoon...but I want to try again.." or something like that. She just looked at me (I will always remember this moment...we were standing at her apartment door, she was holding it open as I went to leave, mumbling about my convoluted activities and hazy goals) and said "You should just be a bassoonist."

No one had EVER said that to me. Certainly not with any conviction or clarity.  When Lori said it, it was as if nothing else could be so obvious: be a bassoonist.  

Have I achieved "fame and fortune" as I ask in the memory?  I mean...kind of...LOL! 😉 More importantly, I have achieved my goals (which change a lot on the path).  Whatever I have achieved, it's because Lori and the network of people (very often women but certainly many others as well) I collected from that point on stood by me as I dug into the work of going after this career.

To anyone (especially my students) who has kept reading this post, keep doing the work! Walk through the open doors! Most importantly, build your network with people who believe in you.  (And do the work, do the work, do the work...)  

Don't accept scarcity.  

Don't believe people who tell you:

- to quit by a certain age

- you have to win an audition by a certain time or in a certain amount of attempts    

- you have to have a certain degree by a certain age

- you have to study with a certain teacher

- only some jobs = success

My friends Robyn Watson Rachel Frederiksen Cassandra Bendickson Haley Houk and I will be presenting on these ideas at the She Festival University of Arkansas in March.  We represent the WIDE spectrum of viable careers in music (but certainly not all) and we're excited to BUST THE MYTHS that continue to perpetuate in our field! Thanks to our network of gal pals (and partners, friends, colleagues) who have allowed us the space to explore these ideas and live these truths.  


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