Its time to get real again my loves. I will preface this by saying this is another post for my single sisters out there. (Put your hands up!- okay super corny I know, but I wouldn't want to miss a Beyonce quote moment...would you?)
I've had a lot of time this summer to be really introspective. I've really been taking time to look at my life and discover one blatant truth that I have been avoiding...
My name is Brittany Ann Winberg, and I have stopped being honest with myself.
I don't think it was a change that magically happened overnight, I think it came as I continued my quest in working on acquiring some of that virtue known as patience. My single sisters know what I'm talking about.
I turn 27 this year...and lets just say I am definitely not anywhere near where I thought I would be by this point in my life. I think we all have those moments, even those of you who aren't my single sisters, but sometimes it feels like I'm the only one who struggles with the knowledge that my life isn't what I thought it would be at all...but as I think about my life and wonder about the things I don't have, I have to look at the things that I do have, and I realize how blessed I truly am...but more on that later....
As I was saying, I realized that I am not where I thought I would be, and, I, being who I am, (have I used enough commas in this sentence yet?) think that perhaps my single state is meant to teach me a lesson in patience and trusting God's plan rather than trying to force my plan upon the universe.
So, that is how I've spent the last few years...trying to learn to be patient...someday I'll get it right.
This is where the not being honest with myself part comes into play:
I had the awesome opportunity to go to Oregon and focus a little more on myself. I rarely ever do focus on myself. Most people who know me well know that I'm always on the run trying to help someone in my family or trying to save a friend from the world or themselves. I think (and I'm being honest with myself now) I avoid focusing on me because if I do, I get too introspective and it makes me sad. I have so many dreams and often I feel like they are on hold as I wait to find that one last piece of the puzzle that is lost somewhere. In Oregon, I think I found a few more pieces of the puzzle.
I met some of the most amazing people I've ever met in my life. I made some amazing friends (a shout out to all my opera apprentice peeps- especially you Cecily Reverman!) and I got to work with some of the most amazing opera stars and pedagogues around.
The overwhelming response from the faculty for the apprentice program and the awesome people I met was "What the heck are you doing with yourself? Why are you still here, why aren't you back east making a go of this?"
Of course, with people asking that question every day for a month, I couldn't help but really ask myself that question, and think about it, and this is the part where I realized that I wasn't being honest with myself.
WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING? Why am I holding myself back?
When I first came home, the answer that I used as a cover was that I decided that there was more stability in teaching...this is a true and very practical answer, and I began working on my education credentials....but...I kept my baby toe in the "performance" area by asking to continue voice studies with the teacher at ISU that I knew would help me figure out what my voice was doing...
That was another excuse, I mean, answer to what was holding me back...my voice. I went from singing coloratura to singing I don't know what. My voice seemed to get 6 times bigger overnight and I wasn't sure what I should be singing or how to use my new "big girl" voice. Ms. Lane has been a godsend. She is not just my vocal guru, she has become a second mother and if it weren't for her, I wouldn't have been in Oregon and I wouldn't have been forced to focus on me or answering this question that kept coming up.
Well, I found these excuses, I mean answers, slowly slipping away as I spent more and more time in Oregon.
I found myself thinking, "Well, if I went for my doctorate, I would still be able to teach (at the collegiate level) but I would be able to focus more on the performance aspect if I felt that it was what I truly was meant to do and wanted with my life."
This thought terrified me, but the more it terrified me, the more feasible it seemed.
As this thought began to grow in my mind, I began to grow more scared. Of course, I prayed about it. As a member of the LDS church, I fully believe in a personal relationship with God. I know he answers my prayers and that I can receive personal revelation for big steps in my life if I go to him earnestly seeking his opinion on the decisions I am about to make.
Well, the answer to my prayer terrified me even more..."DO it!" HOLY CRAP!...that was my thought... NO I CAN'T! That was my next thought...then came the still small voice, the holy ghost, and the overwhelming message of "Be still, and know that I am God."
I came home with a lot to think about, to say the least, but I knew that I needed to do it. I needed to find out what I needed to do to pursue my doctorate and that oh so crazy dream of singing with an opera company someday.
But first, I needed to think...I needed to figure out why I was so scared.
I mean, I'm a confident person usually. I know that I have the smarts for a doctorate, I know that I have the drive and determination to scrape out a living for myself anywhere I go...I know I'm spunky and sassy and outgoing and that I never have problems making friends...so why? Why couldn't I get past this fear?
I realized that patience was the answer...my patience was holding me back. The more I thought, the more I uncovered the real answers to the question "What the heck are you doing here?"
I decided to move home last summer because I was worried about my mom, I was worried about my family, and to be honest, the education credentials were a way to pass time and be practical. A practical way to stay close to family...a good answer, an honest answer...
The funny thing about self honesty....the minute you start being honest with yourself, you can't stop.
The real answer was deeper than this.
My family was another excuse. I was lonely. My subconscious decided that Idaho Falls, a Mormon Mecca...would be the perfect place to find mister right and get what I really want out of life: husband, family and fulfillment. Why would I need to be in a Mormon Mecca for this to happen? The answer is in the numbers in the dating pool. As a devout member of my religion I feel very strongly about marrying someone who is a) also Mormon and b) can marry me in the temple. Temple marriage is very important because we believe that there, under proper priesthood authority, marriage doesn't last just until death do you part, it lasts for eternity. If you keep your covenants, your spouse and your children will be able to live with you in the next life.
I always joked that there were like six Mormons in Montana. Which isn't far from the truth, there just aren't many people to date up there, or atleast people close to my age...It was a very frustrating place to live, especially after a failed almost engagement (we went ring shopping and were talking wedding dates when he all of a sudden decided he wasn't ready for what I was ready for- there was never a ring on my finger, but the hope was definitely there), it just seemed like I would never find mister right if I didn't surround myself with people who believed what I believed.
I know now that in the back of my mind I felt that if I moved closer to my Mecca and was patient the Lord wouldn't be able to help but give me what I wanted...
So...why was I scared about this new revelation? I was scared because I was scared that it would take me further away from what I want. I was scared that if I moved on and moved forward with another plan, tried to focus on another dream, that I wouldn't be where I needed to be to get what I feel like I'm ready for in my life...
My quest for patience, my waiting for the Lord to magically decide to give in and give me what I wanted, was holding me back from doing what He wanted me to do, from following the path that He really wanted me to follow...
This realization killed me. I thought I had more faith than that! Its always sad when you realize that you are fighting the Lord and he is dragging you kicking and screaming from blessing to blessing. The funny thing is, no matter how much you fight, God always gets his way. If he has a purpose for you (and He does) he will always make sure that you stumble into the right path. I definitely have grown more sure of this fact in the last little bit.
So, I have decided to give up the fight. I am working on trusting the plan, His plan. Besides, He is God. He knows everything, He loves us, we are his children. He loves me, I am his daughter. He wants the best for me and for you. His plan has to be better than anything I could ever dream up.
Does this stop me from wishing I had my way? Does this stop me from wondering every now and again what might have happened had I made a different decision here or there along the path of my life? Absolutely not.
This does help me to realize that things would be a whole lot easier if I would just be honest with myself:
Hello, my name is Brittany Winberg, and I am a control freak. I try to control situations I have no control over (like whether or not a man decides to fall madly in love with me) by sticking a band aid of patience over it and hoping that God will eventually take pity on me. Granted, this isn't always a bad thing, but when it holds me back from being who I need to be, who I should want to be, it then becomes a problem.
but I'm more than a control freak.
I'm a hopeless romantic. I live vicariously through friends and shows like the Bachelorette. It breaks my heart when I hear that people just throw their marriages away because of arguments about money, or because they are afraid to tell the person they love how they really feel.
I want to always be honest with the people I love and care about, friends and family alike. I want to love without fear of losing anything. I look back and I realize that I have never regretted loving someone. Isn't it funny how God puts people in our path, people that need us as much as we need them. Yes, it sucks to have your heart broken, but that heartbreak is another way to learn something important. All I can do is pray that I have left people better than I found them.
My life is pretty awesome. I have amazing talents that I have been blessed to develop. I have met some pretty amazing people because of those talents. I also have the most amazing family on the planet. They love me so much, and while they may not understand my insanity at times, they always get me. (I know that kind of makes no sense to you, but it does to me.) I have been blessed with the most awesome parents on the planet who always care for and look out for my well-being. I had the amazing blessing of having a wonderful biological father for 12 years of my life who always encouraged me to chase my dreams and taught me that if you really want something, you have to be actively working towards it. I know that he is in heaven, or as we Mormons like to say "on the other side" and that he is always watching out for me. There have been so many moments in the last 15 years that I have felt him standing next to me or heard him tell me that everything is going to be okay. I am a lucky lucky girl. I have a dad here on earth (my step father) and two dads in heaven, God and him.
I also have the best friends on the entire planet. I have been able to meet some of the most awesome people on the planet, and I know that there are still plenty more people out there who need a little spark of Brittany in their lives. My friends are as devoted to me as I am to them. They laugh with me, they cry with me, they see me through scary situations, and they still love me even when I do stupid things, and they remind me that its okay to be human. They help me to see the perfection in my imperfections so that I can grow and become better. They show me every day what unconditional love truly is.
So, bottom line...I am going to start being honest with myself. I am going to live my life being 100% me. I am going to chase my dreams and focus on allowing myself to find fulfillment in ways that I can control. I am going to use those early lessons of hard work and determination to make my dreams a reality. I am going to have faith that there is a reason for me to have the talents I have, there is a reason that I am how I am: a crazy, hopeless romantic, with a freakish desire to save and fix people who are hurting- who just happens to sing fairly well (or so I'm told...LOL). There is a reason! There has to be!
Maybe someday God will give me what I want, and maybe I won't get it until the next life...but there is one eternal truth that I have gained a huge testimony of this summer-he always gives me what I need. I have to have faith in that. Who am I to argue with the big man? I am going to have faith in His plan and have fun on the way.
Hugs and loves until next time darlings!