When a singer loses his or her voice it’s like losing a part of your identity. It sounds dramatic but it’s true, there is something always missing from your daily life. When you try to speak to friends, listen to music in the shower or even just give one-word responses to people, there’s always something off when you open your mouth. But singers/performers are athletes; I know this is an uncommon perspective so let me explain.
Let’s dive into the idea that singers are athletes by picturing an athlete just getting a potential long-term injury before a big game, it’s a huge deal. In the time after the injury occurs, there are stages you go through on the road to recovery that make everything far more complicated emotionally than people think. Whether you did something to make the injury happen or someone/something did it to you, you feel the weight of what is about to occur the second it truly hits you.
The first stage is feeling the initial shock and blow of your reality. You try to calm your mental state and remind yourself that these things happen all the time in your profession so you’ll be okay. You try to occupy your mind with more positive things so you start to try and confide with the people around you to ask if they know any tricks to help you get better. And you try all of them, even the strange ones that you swear do not work at all. But even with all this effort, it doesn’t seem to be working.
In comes the next phase where you try do the things that helped you recover in the past with a similar injury. But that is a short-lived period since that doesn’t seem to be working either for what you have.
So the panic and hopelessness start to break in and you transition into the next stage which is desperation. You are looking for any solution to try and get your body out of this dark and helpless spot you are in just so you can start to somewhat feel like you’re getting back to 100% again. You’ll do anything, try any test, drug, and hack that will help you get better but not cause any complications to your long-term health. You feel so defeated and lost, it’s been a long time since the injury happened and you haven’t been there in the best way you can for your team. Due to this, you start to feel guilty that you’re letting all the people that chose you for this team and your teammates down. You feel like you have nowhere else to turn to for help other than someone who works professionally to help with your recovery.
You have to see if there is any hope of getting better before the big game that you’ve been looking forward to for months. The game where all your relatives, best friends, colleagues, and family will be coming to see you shine. You feel the pressure and the pure terror of the possibility that you might not be able to perform. All you have is a tiny bit of hope that you’ll start getting better soon while the anger and frustration continue to fester inside you. Though, the more appointments you go to with this professional the more it helps, but unfortunately you aren’t getting the answer that you want to hear. “You need more time”. “You need to take a bit more time off to recover”. Those heartbreaking words are killing you the more and more they are said to you. You need to get better right now, you have to get better. You can’t bear to feel like this anymore.
But soon after all this chaos, you hit the phase of realization that your body will heal as fast as it wants to heal. You miss the big game and don’t play, but this experience taught you something far more valuable than you could have ever imagined it would. You learn that you will not force your body to heal any faster than it is going to if you are doing all the right things. You cannot fight your body, plain and simple. It will always win. So with that mentality in mind, you stop fighting your body and becoming frustrated with the healing process. You start to be at peace with yourself and realize that you are a human being, just like anyone else. Everyone gets hurt, no one is perfect, and it’s okay to not be superhuman.
Now it seems like you’re getting better and better the more comfortable you are in your mental state with your injury. You start feeling like yourself more and more each day which takes away the emptiness you have had to become somewhat comfortable with for so long. With this refueling of skills coming back to you it also seems to help reignite your passion for what you do the more and more you start to get back to normal. You know now that the battle isn’t over once you’re back to normal, you will have to ease back into it, but at least for now, it feels like you’re finally home again within your own skin.
Just like sport’s athletes, singers go through the same type of healing process. The same kind of emotions and the same kind of setbacks. Because, though this is cliche it’s still true, in the end, we are all human. We are all here trying to do what we love to the best of our abilities. But we are also imperfect and that’s what makes us who we are. Perfectly imperfect human beings in search of a lifetime of joy.