Coming to difficult conclusions

Greetings friends!


I write this post to help me process a recent occurrence in my life.

You may or may not know I have a relationship with a choir where I help out with vocal training. This year I branched out into helping with the warmups, to try and set the scene for the voice, as it were. Bringing in a little more vocal technique to help with achieving a better tone, increased breath control and higher notes.

Of course, being the creative soul I am, I couldn't just do the same warmups everyone else has used. I had to invent a whole new system.

So taking inspiration from my yoga class, I decided to incorporate some body work with some breathing and grounding exercises, before we started on the voice.
Then, in order to keep people from just cranking into their voices and to facilitate relaxation, I created stories where people were to put in sound effects and little sung phrases, to create a whole and take people on a journey. Almost like a story meditation but with singing.
It's a little difficult to describe, but it was a lot of fun.

However I had a five week break due to a family holiday, and when I returned the engagement from the choir just wasn't there. I persevered for a couple more weeks and then sent out an email survey to find out what people were thinking about my style.

Half of the respondents were on board and loving it, but half were either on the fence or actively negative. In particular one respondent tried to explain how two other conductors he knew did a similar thing but with much better results. He couldn't see how what I was doing was influencing the choir at all, or changing the sound.

I could have ignored his comment given the greater amount of positive feedback, but something wasn't right, and I was feeling a sense of disengagement from the choir overall.

I should mention this is the first time I've worked with such a large group (60 or 70 voices), and I struggled with my Asperger overload feedback loop in my brain. Whenever people sang my brain shut down for a second, and I lost all capacity to think. To counteract that, I wrote everything down, but this may have caused me to seem less engaging and able to think on my feet.

I'm not sure why I am so attracted to dancing on the edge of my abilities like this.


So I decided to pull out from the warmups, and from helping the choir overall for a while, to lick my wounds and reassess. If I had been paid, I would have pushed through the negativity, but being a volunteer, I didn't feel the need. It requires a lot of energy for someone of my sensitivities to overcome negative feedback, and I delayed issuing my survey knowing this about myself. But in the end I did it, and now have to live with the result. My precarious health and my kids' need of me, require me to be careful how I expend my energy, so I decided the environment was not ideal for me at this stage.

Leaving has been a hard decision because I really thought I might have finally found a place to hang my hat. I have a quirky way of relating to the world, and not every group or organisation can support it, but this choir was different I thought. I thought they might manage to go there with me, and maybe they would have in time, but somehow it didn't work out. I do wonder if we didn't have such a long break whether things would have been different. It has also been hard because this was my only real social outlet in my life.

Since I've left I have received some more emails saying how much they enjoyed my warmups, so that has been nice, but also induced a sense of guilt that I've abandoned people.

I think I am reacting so strongly to this situation because it is pushing buttons from throughout my life where I have been in a similar situation.

I seem to get to places where I can't see my way forward, perhaps I've run out of energy or other priorities arise, or I just can't do it anymore, and so I leave. I am not blessed with the ability to stumble along. This makes it seem like I leave things more than I complete them.

I'm not sure this is true, I have completed many things, including university degree, staying married for 29 years, studying singing for 10 years, many knitted garments etc. But I do struggle in groups when I don't have a direct connection with the people involved. Unfortunately being Aspie/gifted/highly sensitive, this can be many of the groups I attend.

Anyway I ask myself, what is wrong with knowing your own mind and deciding not to continue down a path that isn't suiting you? It is good to be proactive and design your life, even if it means making hard decisions.

I think I need to allow myself this process and not listen to the self critique that follows.

So once again I feel like I have something to share where I can't communicate what I can see, where I'm going deeply or intensely into it, and where many people can't follow.
It seems such a shame.

My Mum says I'm throwing pearls before swine...but then Mum's are notoriously biased. Love you Mum! It's so nice to have a cheer squad, to know you are in my corner!

So, I start again, trying to find a place for my talents. At the moment I am cocooning, and pulling back into my domestic space. I feel like I never want to try to share anything creative again. But of course, in time I won't be able to help myself, and we'll be on the rollercoaster again!

Til next time,
keep on creating,
as I will!
Jazzy Jack


  1. I am so sorry to hear this. With a group that big there are bound to be two or more people who are negative in general and they have the power to influence everyone. It's such a huge pity. I feel certain that you must have brought so much positive energy and creativity to the group. Their loss.

    You haven't abandoned anyone - you have taken care your of yourself. Other social opportunities will come up. Or you could start a side choir of your own. There's a place called meetup dot com where you can put a call-out. Just an idea. But I understand your hurt and frustration.

    1. Yes, a side choir idea has very briefly occurred and been quickly dismissed! Thanks so much for your supportive thoughts. I know you understand creativity and its quirks. Xo Jazzy Jack

  2. I am thinking that in a group so large, you are bound to have a divergence of likes and dislikes and so a variety of comfort levels with the approach any leader might initiate. If half were happy with it, I think that's an amazing number of positive responses! This is not to say your decision should have been different, rather that the actual response was perhaps better than you interpreted it to be. I'm sorry it didn't work out better, though. It's nice to have a group where we feel at home.

    1. Yes I realise it is a good result but decided not to put the energy in to win the others over. Plus I would be fighting my own critical voice, which much as I hate to admit it at this age, is still alive and kicking! Thanks for your words of support. I appreciate it. Xo Jazzy Jack

  3. Taker care of yourself, darling! If what you feel is mostly hurt, it isn't worth it. Stick with the people who you know appreciate you and are grateful for having you, the whole YOU, in their lives. If it's your family, then stick with them! That is my answer to my own, similar in a way, struggle with the society that isn't sensitive or bright enough to recognize a true diamond when they encounter one. Any decision we make is the right one for us. Do what feels natural, what feels easy.

    Lots of love to you!

    1. Thanks for your words, they remind me to go easy on myself. Something I find a little difficult. But my decision was based on conserving energy, so I suppose that amounts to the same thing. Lovely to hear your take on this as I know you feel a similar creative desire. Xo Jazzy Jack

  4. Hi JJ. I understand your situation. Those of us who are quirky have some occasions where people react this way. I'd counsel you not to take it too personally. There will be many more situations where your volunteering efforts will be appreciated. You're probably right that your perspective on this minor event seems larger to you right now because it's triggering memories of earlier events and that is what you're really wrestling with. It's okay to deal with that; just don't take this minor event too seriously because it really isn't important beyond how it makes you feel. Plus, remember we love you!

    1. Aww thanks Ally! Love you too!
      I realise that the same sensitivity that causes me to react so strongly is also the sensitivity that helps me create my art. So it comes with the territory somewhat.
      Thanks so much for your two cents worth. I appreciate it! Xo Jazzy Jack

  5. This is tough.

    Lots of people are sensitive and criticism can just shut them down.

    One thing I've learned in my 51 years is that you can't please everyone all the time no matter what. For a creative person criticizing our art that came from our soul is part of us and therefore it is impossible to take it any other way than personally.

    You are right to step back and reassess. Something better will come along that will suit your needs.


    1. Yes, Suzanne it is part of our soul. You are right. However I really knew something was wrong before the criticisms, so that also coloured my thinking. I just can't put my finger on what and why and how. So frustrating!
      But we move on as you say.
      I feel your understanding in this creative space. Maybe you have developed a thicker skin. I wish!
      But I am better than I used to be.
      Thanks so much for stopping by with your wise words. Xo Jazzy Jack
      PS I adore the embroidered tiger dress!

  6. I found much to relate to in your post, and I'm thinking of you with great empathy as you regroup..or is that de-group? I am certain that recognising when a project should be abandoned is a sigh of intelligence though I have to admit I am no stranger to such maneuvers. Blog friends have left such wonderful comments and advice I think I could just print it all out and pin it up somewhere as it would be bound to help me at some point too. I hate feeling vulnerable and yet I so often am vulnerable. I am so often torn between seeking emotional support and wanting to hide all my vulnerabilities from everyone. Reading about your experiences helps me not to feel so alone with that. Sending you love and hugs.

    1. Helping others not feel so alone is exactly why I posted this.
      Sometimes I have all I need from just writing my thoughts down, When I receive all the feedback it comes as a shock because I have almost moved on already.
      But it is kind of everyone to support me so lovingly.
      Blog friends are so amazing! And you are one of them, so therefore you are...? I won't embarass you!
      Xo Jazzy Jack

  7. I'm so sorry to hear this! It can be so horrid when you give of yourself so much and you have negative feedback. It sounds like a wonderful warmup to me! I love conductors who share imagery. Our orchestra conductor is like that!

    I empathise as I am very sensitive too. The teacher who helps me with my school choir said to me today that two of the year 6 girls asked her if there was choir and she said, "Yes," and they groaned. I know it was a sunny day and all that but it made me feel so bad and disheartened, especially as I only had 10 children today and there are only 14 in it at the moment. I've never had such a small choir and I just feel really gloomy about the complete apathy and lack of committment of year 6 to music ensembles at the moment and worry what I am doing wrong and feel like saying, "Well, I'll just give up then!" but then, there are those who seem to love it, I just don't know why our year 6 are so rubbish at the moment!xx

    1. It must be so hard to teach kids who don't want to learn!
      I resolved never to be a music teacher for this reason.
      I admire your tenacity.
      Each year has its own flavour doesn't it. I know my husband finds that with his Uni students.
      Thanks for all your lovely comments. Made my night!
      Xo Jazzy Jack


If a topic has special significance for you, or touches you in some way, I'd love to hear your story! I will return the favour and we will gently touch hands across the miles...or kilometres :-)