Welcome to my very first blog friends!
While busy writing a Facebook post for you all, I realised I had way too much I wanted to tell you. As you may have heard... it's been a pretty full on month. So instead of packing too much into a post I began creating this blog. I will try not to ramble on now since I have endless space here. But since this is my first blog it’s going to be a bit longer than normal. Please feel free to comment or ask any questions below. I would absolutely love to hear from you.
It has now been an entire month since vocal surgery, and what a tough, long month it's been. Physically, but mostly mentally. Weeks and days of complete silence gives you a ridiculous amount of time to reflect upon life. Chuck my 25th birthday in the mix and you have a recipe for a slightly crazy, over-thinking, emotionally unstable, completely silent mess of a human being. No, look, I'm exaggerating just a bit. But it was certainly not an easy task for bubbly, talkative Kayla.
I strongly believe everything happens for a reason and when I got the news that I had to get surgery on my vocal chords the universe was actually telling me something…. “SLOW DOWN KAYLA!!” For someone who is usually just go go go, work work work, sing sing sing, talk talk talk... this silent experience has certainly been a game changer. For most of my life I have been a person whom, if I wasn't doing something productive to achieve my goals every minute of every day, I would get frustrated at myself and tell myself to work harder. This has been me since as long as I can remember. Even in primary school, if I had completed my homework I would ask the teacher for more or make it more challenging myself just for good measure.
Yet, now, for the first time in my life I was forced to stop, relax and focus on self-care: A concept foreign to me.
Growing up in a family who had a “rub a bit of dirt in it” kind of attitude, this self-love thing was almost wrong in my mind. As if it was a criminal act to love myself! The funny thing is, I pride myself on putting 110% into everything I do. But when it came to looking after “me”; (sleeping, eating, relaxing and exercising etc.) my effort was certainly lacking. Most of the time I was able to chug along through life a little worn out. “Normal” in my eyes. Until eventually the candle would burn out and this became a very familiar cycle. My body would gradually wear down, I consequently got annoyed at myself for not being able to work as hard, I would push myself harder, become physically sick, get frustrated that I couldn't do anything while I was sick, then with involuntary rest I would slowly improve and around I would go again! Ha, what a wonderful way to live!
This surgery was a wakeup call. And it wasn’t the first time either. In 2013 I had vocal surgery on a polyp on my right vocal chord and this time it was a polyp on my left.
So that you can get a bit of an idea of what's actually going on I thought I would share some (bad quality) stills from the videos. (Sorry, they're a tad gross...but hey, these things are like gold to me. haha)
2013 before surgery
2016 before surgery
After surgery (notice how perfectly they are able to close without any polyps in the way...man it's beautiful ;)
You are probably wondering how I managed to get into the same position again. Sometimes with these things you may never know the answer to. All I can guess is that I didn’t take the time to care for myself properly.
The schedule of “my life” at the time (2013) comprised of:
· 4th year Bachelor of Education
· Cert IV Training and Assessment
· Cert IV Disability
· Working for the Country Fire Authority
· Singing teaching (30 students a week)
· Volunteering for the CFA
· Recording my debut album
· Releasing and touring my album
· Gigging approx. 4 times a week
· And other usual activities of band practice, gym, fire training, vocal lessons etc.
Aaaahhhhre you serious Kayla!!! I’m writing this thinking…. What the!? Who was I? Superwoman? How is that even possible!?
Then on top of all that I had vocal surgery in June that year, the day after I recorded my album. I was devastated and anxious about the outcome at the time so made sure I got all the vocals recorded beforehand. In my mind I was not going to let this “minor hiccup” interfere with my life. I reluctantly cancelled the bare minimum of gigs that the surgeon made me cancel and got myself back gigging rather quickly. Looking back, too quickly. Not for one second did I rest. See that list above? I had shit to do! “Rest” was not in my vocabulary.
Three years on and life is rather different.
A move to Melbourne encouraged me to grow as a person and discover that there’s more to life than working 24/7. Society’s norms and expectations don’t rule my life any longer and I am learning that relaxing isn’t a crime. I am a more balanced person (well I’m doing my best to try and be anyway, haha). I certainly don’t regret being a workaholic. I wouldn’t be where I am today or who I am today and I would never have met the thousands of people that I have throughout my journey. Every day I meet people that teach me something new about the world and about myself. It’s those experiences that make me grow as a song-writer.
I am exceptionally grateful that I have a second chance at this at getting these vocal chords right and I am certainly not wasting it. I feel like it’s the beginning of something very special where I can use all that I have learnt to purse my goals while maintaining balance in my life. The art of silence allowed me so much reflection time that I even taught myself to meditate. It’s actually incredible how beneficial it’s been. It was super hard to get at first (my mind wanders a lot!). But I had to clear my mind somehow or else my thoughts were going to drive me wild in all that silence! Haha.
On the physical front progress is good. I have good days and I have bad days. This is expected as the fresh chords will swell very easily with use and complete vocal rest is required periodically. I had the camera back down my throat this week and the surgeon is super happy with how my recovery is going. Slow and steady is key at this point. Making sure I do everything right. I've lost a lot of my vocal strength as the muscles have weakened due to so much rest but they will build back up in time.
Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog and being so supportive throughout these challenging times. As I said before, I feel like it’s all the start of something very special and over the following month I will be letting you know more about my next extremely exciting venture! So stay tuned! :)
Keep well and look after yourselves you beautiful people!
Quote of the month:
You cannot inspire the world until you are more kind with yourself –Brendan Burchard
#reflection #mindsetiseverything #mediation #bekind #selflove #wellbeing