I went to the all day member retreat with the choir I’ve recently been accepted to. It was my first time seeing everyone together and how I was received was so unexpected. Hugs and kisses on the cheek and genuine smiles and excitement. I can tell it was genuine because I spent most of my time trying to maintain one that wasn’t…I’m dealing with stuffy sinuses and a hazy mental feeling from my medication dose increase that’s still not fully complete. And despite having shown up for this outing with the group, I was still testing the waters and undecided if the commitment was one for me. But once the chatting was over with and we finally began rehearsing I felt a little more at home. It brought back memories of years ago in the school chorus. Feeling part of a strong group creating one full and powerful voice.

The women in this choir, or “sisters” as they’ve come to call one another, all have their own stories and I shared a little of mine with touching upon the reasons I decided to join. Keeping myself from isolation, being mindful of how important a sense of belonging is to me and sustaining mental health overall (not these exact words, but the general idea). I had to eventually admit the whole group setting and finding my place within was difficult and very much not what I’m used to. I’m introverted and hardly remember how safe it felt having a good friend to confide in. Opening myself up to others always takes longer than I have patience for, but it’s my task right now.

I’m hoping I can direct my energy toward learning our music and preparing for the fall concerts in November. Monday will be my first of the weekly rehearsals and depending on how it goes, it should be that way for some weeks ahead. With 40hrs of work, with weekly bowling on the league my mother talked me into joining with her every Thursday, and with continuing therapy, my art and my own music…Somehow I’ll find time for it all.

The NYC tour I took was very exhausting, but great for what it costs me. I would never imagine the opportunity to do and see so much for under $1000. I’ll have pictures to share soon. I already miss the routine of getting up and setting out across the bridge from New Jersey into the heart of the city. And the Broadway show of The Phantom of the Opera last Friday was unforgettable. For all the unexpected stress I dealt with those five days, I would do it all over again just to see that show one more time…lol


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