This morning I read an article about the firefighters who have come to Alberta from South Africa and wow, did it ever make me want to sing.
Khomt Alucie, one of the firefighters who made the journey, said the group has only known each other for a day and singing is how they bond.
It gives us moral courage, it gives us teamwork,” she said. “If we become tired in the fire we sing.
It’s not something you practice, it’s in the soul.
When I listen to the voices of the 281 firefighters from South Africa, I experience a soul-stirring moment that lingers. They inspire hope in me and not just because they are brave men and women who have come to fight the crazy Fort McMurray fires in a country that isn’t even their own. They are singers. They are my people.
They remind me of why I sing!
Singing is in the soul. It connects me with others and helps me when I get “tired in the fire”.
If you ask me what kind of singer I am, I don’t have an easy answer, I just know that singing is one of my languages. I am fluent in it and it sometimes feels like my mother tongue.
Strangely though, in my later years, I have welcomed a very few but very significant people into my life who not only dislike the fact that I sing all the time, but they have also been openly critical of my voice. And, for the most part, I have stopped singing.
WHY? Why, when I consider myself a very confident and strong-willed woman, have I allowed someone else’s negativity to squash something that is vital to my enjoyment of life? One of the lessons I’ve learned from the school of hard knocks, is that consistent criticism erodes even the most resilient of personalities.
I have recently resolved to walk away from those who consistently criticize me
but the lingering effect of this type of emotional abuse is surprisingly strong. My peace and happiness are precious to me and I am working actively and intentionally to maintain my peace of mind. So, you don’t have to like my song, my voice, or the fact that I sing a lot. I’m okay with that.
What I am not okay with is staying in a toxic environment and have someone pick me apart piece by piece.
I will no longer deny, excuse or tolerate emotional abuse in any form.
I will no longer give anyone the benefit of the doubt, or hold on to hope that things will get better, at the expense of my emotional well-being.
This is about more than my voice, my singing or people’s obviously varied preferences in a myriad of other things. This is about learning, at 40 years old, that I am worthy of kindness. This is about making a declaration that if you don’t appreciate and support me, we don’t need to be friends.
I will gracefully guard against negativity. I will be fierce if necessary.
And, when I become tired in the fire, I will SING!