You probably won’t remember me after all you have taught so many students over the years. It has been over 15 years since I last saw you and moved back to my home town. It was a difficult time when I found out I had Crohns disease, got married and moved back from Poole to Wakefield.
Rosemary you never knew this, however I was suffering when I first came to see you. I had spent a couple of years in a deep dark place wondering what was happening to me. I existed as a shell until one day I couldn’t take anymore. I’d thought about ending my life, who would care? No one would miss me. I wasn’t a great person to have around.
I must have a fighting spirit as I decided to quit my fairly well paid full time job without another to go to. I’d had enough. It was at that point Rosemary, that I heard your voice on the radio. As I was driving, wondering how to get myself out of this terrible place I was in, I tuned in. One of the local presenters was having a singing lesson with you over the air. I swear this was a sign for me. It’s funny because all I could think about afterwards was that I would like to sing again.
As a child I sang in my local youth choir, at dance classes and at school. I had a good voice but had never had lessons (not something we had opportunity to back then). Something happened along the way and I stopped singing. I’m not quite sure what. Maybe it was hitting my teenage years or the fact I lost 3 of my grandparents within a few years. Never having singing lessons, that day I decided to take that journey.
Oh my goodness Rosemary, I was a nervous wreck ringing that radio station. I cannot tell you how hard it was to pick up that phone and dial but I did it. Secretly I wished that they didn’t pick up but the radio presenter answered it. Somehow I babbled my way through asking for your phone number. When I hung up I cried. It was such a relief. I had done it!
Singing saved my life
I’m not sure how many days it tool me to actually call you, all I know is now is that singing probably saved my life. As I write this I feel like crying because I remember how it felt to feel so alone, so unhappy, so fragile. When I finally did call and arrange a lesson it felt as if I had to wait for ever. I nearly backed out but something inside me said I shouldn’t. I can’t remember that first lesson, probably because I wasn’t really ‘there’. You see, depression is strange. People don’t often see that you are suffering, we hide it well. Going through everyday motions but with an empty non-existing feeling inside. It is like feeling lost in a great big black cavern that you can never get out of so you give up and sit down, all alone in the dark. After a while you get use to the dark, it’s almost comforting to have it there. Doing anything becomes exhausting!
I’m not sure what you thought when I came however you were an encouraging, calm and patient singing teacher. You made me brave enough to join the local amateur operatics even though I believed I was no good. I started to crawl out of my whole and made a few friends one whom sent me off on the journey that I am still on. today. For the first time I was seeing things around me. An opportunity arose at a local stage school giving refreshments to children. For many weekends I use to watch them in their classes and remembered happy feelings of my time dancing and singing.
Over that time I became braver. The singing teacher left and I put myself forward (I would never have done that!). Do you know what? I loved it! It was hard, children can be noisy and challenging! Yet seeing them have fun and love singing always put a smile on my face. Throughout that time I was also battling a disease. It made me feel incredibly tired and embarrassed. Finally after a year I was diagnosed with Crohns disease. All this time I was still coming to you for lessons. I looked forward to them so much a week seemed like forever! When we had to leave to move back up North I was sad to finish my lessons with you. Finding out I had Crohns disease made me question what I was now going to do with my life. One friend (I met at the amateur group) became a good friend and suggested I start singing with young children. You know what Rosemary, I did and that’s what I have been doing for over 13 years.
It’s been a long journey singing teacher, with ups and downs. Now I run children’s music classes, teach singing, ukulele and recorder which I love every single day. Even when I have bad days singing gets me through. My journey spurred me on to look at singing for mental heath and wellbeing and now I have 3 groups I teach. Next week I start leading a group at the Wakefield Recovery College.which I know will be extremely rewarding.
Taking that first step can be difficult but I did it. Thank you Rosemary for helping me get my life back and I hope that I can be someone else’s special singing teacher.