In early October I landed in the hospital after slipping on the sidewalk and breaking my leg. Apparently, as reported to me by the two gentlemen sitting outside at the café next door to where I fell, I slid and flew high up in the air and landed with a great force on my left side. I was rushing.
When this sort of thing happens, what I mean is literally being stopped in your tracks, it makes people say things like “you don’t know at the moment why this has happened but there is a reason somewhere”. “You must have needed to stop and rest.” I believe that accidents are just that, accidents but in my case I probably did need to “stop and rest”. This fall and subsequent injury came at a very inopportune time. I was rehearsing for a new children’s opera. The set for the show was a combination of a forest with a real mountain, a house for dwarves on the other side who traveled from the top of the stage to the bottom by sliding down slides or climbing up stairs and ladders. My character sashayed around in 6 inch platform heels and was required to also slide down the slide a couple of times for entrances with dramatic impact not to mention the impact it was going to have on my legs landing on those heels. Needless to say it would have been a very physical performance with lots of hazards. Everyone worried that I might fall on the rehearsal stage and break my leg there but instead I managed to do it on the flat sidewalk.
Did it happen for a reason? Rehearsals were difficult and I felt under a lot of stress. I had been working hard for many weeks and was exhausted. As an opera singer I create a new part in a new production using a delicate balance between what the director wants, what the conductor wants and what I want myself. This is in it’s own way a reflection of what we do in life and the tightrope that we walk every day. As a human being and as an artist, we try to protect our individual creativity, to remain open, free and vulnerable and at the same time to honor the desires of the people we are working with. Opera like life is collaborative and within that one can make great art.
Having these last 2 months to rest and heal gave me time to think about what is important to me. I realized that I really love to sing, and that I should cherish every chance that I have to do it. I love to share the joy that I get from the music with whomever is listening to me. I would like to worry less about if I am correct or perfect. Many years ago when I lost someone very special to me I learned that it is the small moments of life that are important, and that they deserve attention and respect. As a performer I try to live in the moment on stage and to fully embrace what I am saying with honesty and commitment.
As the saying goes: “shit happens….” Does it happen for a reason? Probably one can always find one. In the midst of the sadness, relief, frustration and peace of mind that I found in the hospital, I finally accepted that my body did the best it could do under the circumstances. I fell from midair, with my hands full and landed with a great force on my poor leg. Did I need time to rest and come back to myself, probably but it would have been better if I could have done it during my vacation after Christmas.
Life does not always allow us to do things when we want. Life hangs on a very thin thread and some of us have to keep learning this over and over again in order to remember what is important and what is meaningful. Things can change drastically in a split second, so make the most of every second!