Why I Don’t Date Musicians

Josh GrobanI don’t date musicians. Musicians make me crazy. Sure, they drive me crazy in the good sense, but they also make me a psychotic, emotional roller coaster. The highs are high, the lows are low, and I am generally a basket case.

I swore off dating musicians about three years ago after I realized how much they transformed this normally sane, rational, logical, methodical engineer into a completely unstable crazy lady!!! And tonight, I was reminded of just how potent the combination of me + a musician can be.

Background: My baby brother is getting married in three weeks. Yep, the one who proposed to his girlfriend on the same day that my fiancé broke off our engagement. Since his fiancé lives on the other side of the country and they are getting married in our hometown… and since I just planned a wedding in this city (albeit one that got cancelled last minute on account of the groom’s lack of commitment), my help in planning was requested. I have obliged as gracefully as I can without suffering internal combustion. So far I have selected the photographer (as a photographer myself), done taste testing at their venue (my dream location), given entrée recommendations (with the help of the ever-loyal Ashley) and hand designed their stationary (using my pending second degree in Graphic Design). I am also singing in the wedding, so tonight I drove 45 minutes across town to meet my duet partner, an up-and-coming star who studies at our city’s nationally acclaimed college of music.

Here’s where I get to the part about how musicians drive me crazy. First, Jack – this young star – irritated me. He had already cancelled on me twice, like a typical musician, and then tonight, we were supposed to meet at 7:30 pm, but he sent me a text at 6:30 telling me that 7:00 would actually work better. Since I live 45 minutes away from the university, I wouldn’t have made it by 7:00 even if I had left immediately, so I just ignored his text and decided to arrive at the agreed-upon time of 7:30. I felt guilty for not meeting when he wanted to, but there’s no way I could have made it by 7.

Next, I got angry. The college campus is huge, so I couldn’t find the building, and parking is a nightmare. I’d just spent 45 minutes in rush hour traffic; and then Jack responded to my request for better directions with, “The [music building] is on the back side of campus.” What the heck, Jack. What constitutes the “back side of campus”?! I prompted him further, and he told me, “There is a lot right in front of the building that might cost you 5 dollars but is probably the best option.” Jack. I don’t freaking know where the building is! Try using cardinal directions, son! Fortunately, I’m not above asking for directions, so I eventually found my own way. And paid I don’t even know how much for parking.

Jack called my phone right at 7:30 as I was pulling into a parking spot. I turned off the ignition and looked toward the building, where I saw the silhouette of a man leaning against a door frame as he held the door open with his body. The silhouette put a phone up to his ear just as I answered, so I knew it was him.

“Hey, Jack,” I said, watching his figure as he stood backlit by the building lights.

“Hey, Aurora. Did you get parked?” There was a quiet confidence to his stance, and it came through in his voice. Stop it, Jack. I’m trying to be mad at you. But I couldn’t. He looked so sexy standing there (sorry, Mom), and he was entirely too charming, in a completely unintentionally disarming kind of way.

I almost hugged him when I walked up – I don’t know why – but we shook hands instead. He had a warm grip and friendly smile. I am attracted to this 23-year-old punk. What is wrong with me?

He led me to a rehearsal room in the middle of the building, where a pretty red-haired girl waited at a piano. This Masters student had agreed to accompany us for our run-through. I’d wanted to talk a bit before we jumped right in (I think chemistry is important to singing duets), but she started playing, so we started singing.

Any time people hear me sing – at church, in the car, around the campfire – I inevitably get compliments. I’m not a bad singer. In fact, I’m a very gifted singer. I was a three-time All State Choir member in high school (ranked 2nd in the state my junior year), auditioned with Houston Grand Opera at the age of 18 and could have gone pro if I had chosen that path. But I was practical and decided to be an engineer. So now I work full time at a job I hate, going to school part time for Graphic Design (trying to pursue something that gives me more joy), and my vocal talent is largely being wasted. Tonight when we started singing, my vocal cords weren’t warm, and they’re muscles I don’t exercise much. I hadn’t realized how much of a difference regular rehearsal makes until Jack opened his mouth to join me in our duet.

His voice was rich and deep and warm and… beautiful. Heavenly. He is a young Josh Groban. And I was simultaneously overcome by joy, pleasurelonging and insecurity. No one has made me feel insecure about my voice in years. I have more vocal talent than 99% of the world’s population – purely by God’s grace and generosity. But next to Jack, who is training vocally full time and is in his prime, I felt like a shadow of who I could have been. And I felt regret for not having pursued music. I miss it. Intensely.

We finished our first run through, and it went so well that both Jack and the pianist were ready to call it a night. I was floored. I’d driven nearly an hour in maddening traffic to rehearse, and they were ready to be finished after five minutes? As Jack and the young pianist talked, I saw a rapport and camaraderie – perhaps even attraction? – that suddenly filled me with jealousy. I honestly don’t know if I was jealous for Jack’s attention or for the musical future those two are aspiring to. Either one is ridiculous. Jack is almost five years younger than me, still in school, and – most importantly – I’d met him five minutes earlier. My mom told me once, “You have to be careful with guys like that. You’ll fall in love with his voice and think you’re falling in love with him.”

I convinced them (without much effort) to run through the piece one more time, and it went even better than the first time. Our voices blended well, especially when the song swelled to a crescendo. Jack complimented me on my Italian pronunciation, and I glowed. I realized, then, that I – the ever-confident dragon lady – felt shy around Jack. What is happening?! I am a MESS!

We all looked at each other, agreed that the piece seemed performance-ready and packed up. Jack grabbed his backpack and walked me out to my car. In the chilly darkness, I felt safe next to him. We made small talk – I don’t remember what about – and he made me smile. When we reached my car, he reached out for a hug, even though we’d just met.

He’s a good hugger. It’s probably just a musician thing – kids were always pretty huggy in choir – but I felt peaceful when he hugged me. I told him to call if he thought of any questions about the wedding, and he echoed the same back to me. “Sure, just give me a call.”

Driving home, I felt hopeful.

And confused.

Especially when I realized that over the last hour, I have felt irritated, guilty, angry, disarmed, attracted, joyful, pleased, filled with longing, insecure, regretful, floored, jealous, shy, safe, peaceful and hopeful.

THAT is why I don’t date musicians.

Authentically Aurora

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Help (Not) Wanted

HelpI keep trying to give of my time, talents and resources, but no one seems to want them. As if it wasn’t enough of a blow to my self esteem to be perpetually rejected by men I’ve loved deeply, I can’t even convince nonprofit organizations to take my freely offered help!

Many people have said that one of the best ways to forget your own problems is to start serving others. Norman Vincent Peale said, “The way to happiness… Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others.” Apparently I am doomed to scatter gloom, forget others and think of self.

In April, I signed up to volunteer at our local children’s hospital, but I was turned away. They said that they already have too many volunteers.

In May, I volunteered to mentor high school students in a neighborhood youth group, only to discover that the youth group had disbanded for the summer.

In June and July, I met with three different staff members of YoungLives, an organization that ministers to pregnant teens. I offered to do free maternity photos for their girls, but no one ever followed up, despite the fact that I’m a semi-professional photographer offering free services. It’s not like I’m bad; this is one of my actual photos:

Maternity

I go to a contemporary church with a worship band instead of a traditional choir, so in August, I auditioned to sing harmony with the worship leader. I’ve been blessed with a beautiful voice – I was a three time All State Choir Member, auditioned with Houston Grand Opera when I was 18, and even have an album on iTunes. But the worship leader said that they already have eight female vocalists who rotate through every Sunday and don’t need another.

And then more recently, I offered to tutor at-risk junior high kids in math (I’m an engineer by background). But the kids are only available for tutoring during an after-school program that meets from 3:30p-4:30p, well before I can get off work.

I am (I think, understandably) frustrated. I said at the beginning that no one wants my time, talents or resources. That’s not entirely true. The one thing every organization wants is my money. Just this week, I’ve gotten five pieces of mail from five different charity organizations asking for funding. I went to a charity banquet on Wednesday where they were asking for money, and I got a fundraising phone call from yet another organization yesterday.

Giving financially is all well and good. I give happily. Cheerfully, even. But there’s something powerful about physically, tangibly giving WITH YOUR HANDS for the Kingdom.  I feel so much more invested when I can look people in the eye and personally see my service played out.

I keep telling myself that Jesus didn’t begin his public ministry until he was 30. I guess if that’s good enough for God’s Son, it should be good enough for me. Back to being not-so-silently pruned in preparation for whatever ministry God has prepared for me. All I can say is, it better be epic.

Authentically Aurora