WHEN I GREW UP

In this picture I am a young girl. Now I’m older, but I hardly feel different.

The first blue link below will play my song as an instrumental arrangement.

The two links below it are recordings of my voice lessons discussing my song’s creation with Peaches Chrenko.

a

PEACHES LESSON EXCERPT 12/8/11

PEACHES LESSON EXCERPT 12/13/11


On the outside looking in, I am an ordinary middle-aged woman. At home, I have two teenagers, an adult son, a husband, a Chihuahua, a Conure parrot, and two cats. My mini-van has over 200,000 miles on it. I play women’s doubles tennis as therapy and for exercise at least once a week. I see both my parents who live separately at a nursing facility at least three times a week. For over thirty years I was an illustrator, and once in a while I still get an occasional job.

 

However, my life is far from ordinary. I live with intense passion and excitement about the musict I am creating.

 

I see my life as a musical.


 

My music causes my life to be joyful, magical and simply delightful. That is amazing considering the fact that I still face many challenges as a “sandwich generation” woman.

 

I can be shopping in a store, sleeping, or driving, when a new song begins to play in my mind. It swells to awaken my soul and soon I am dancing. The melody and words are already written; I must simply write them down.

 

I did not plan to write any more new songs for my book, but songs kept erupting from my soul. I loved how my last song composition “Hang On,”was especially uplifting and expressed my survival of grief by holding onto love. 

 

But a few weeks ago, another new melody started to fill my mind. It was unbelievable how quickly my newest song unfolded. I had been working long hours on my book, and to be perfectly honest, I didn’t feel as joyful as I had before. I had neglected exercise and missed performing since Border’s Bookstore where I used to play went out of business. I had tremendous financial pressure and issues with my parents still loomed for me. It made sense that a song would come to me, because whenever I feel pain, my mind turns it into music to soothe me. 

 

Although my new song is about how I’ve turned my life around, it is especially meaningful because it expresses my clarity. I decided to name my song “Clear,” instead of “I Turned My Life Around.”

 

I have described my former life as “Zombieland” where I lived a plodding existence. There was nothing I looked forward to and I felt like I was sleep-walking through life. Thankfully, my current life is one where I am wide-awake; I see everything clearly now, and am completely in touch with my feelings.

This message I pulled from a fortune cookie tonight sounded great to me!

A week ago, I was very excited to share my new song with my hypnotherapist, Connie. I went to our hypnotherapy session and brought my guitar along. In the quiet of her guesthouse, I fingerpicked my newly discovered chords and sang softly. As I sang the last lyric line of “there’s no reason to wait,” I truly felt peaceful.

 

The room was silent and I could see that Connie was deeply touched. When I first began seeing her three years earlier, I was plagued by many stress-related ailments. My parents were living with me and I was overwhelmed with their care. For many years before that, I had been raising my three children and there were many challenges related to that. My career was fading and I had little income. I was beaten down and felt like I was wounded and broken. Connie could truly see what a difference she had made to my life; she had watched me heal. It was her suggestions and encouragement that paved my journey as I went from being sad to joyful.

 

As I put my guitar away, I said to Connie, “Am I a hypocrite? I say I am joyful, but obviously I am still struggling with many things that are causing me to overeat. Perhaps I am not really a shining example of my joyful message.”

 

Connie said gently, “You are dealing with many things; any one of them might be a lot for most people to deal with.” Then, she began listing all of the challenges I was facing. When she mentioned my mother’s dementia and the resulting loss of closeness that used to sustain me, I began to cry. She said many people in my situation might be so overwhelmed as to not even get out of bed in the morning. Connie also felt that it was simply amazing that I was able to be so productive in spite of my challenges.

 

Hypnosis had certainly enlightened me about the power of my subconscious. Our session that day was filled with so many revelations, that material for my next book was quickly filling pages in my mind. While under hypnosis, I gained great insight about how deeply songwriting and my subconscious were intertwined.

 

I never consciously planned to compose any of my new songs. But the words and melodies interrupted whatever it was I was doing, and looped in my mind. It was always a mystery to me, how many of my youthful songs were prophetic.

A month earlier, I had been amazed when I decided my song “Set You Free” was actually about setting myself free from grief. But now I had even more awareness. I saw my songs as a script to follow in the “musical of my life.”

 

My recent song compositions that I wrote to help other people were actually speaking to me at the same time!

 

“Hang On,” was about reminding me how I needed to “hang on” to face the continuing challenges in my life. With my newest song, I was simply stunned. The last line of “there was no reason to wait” was my subconscious speaking to me about the fear I still carried and how I needed to stop waiting to confront it. Although I was confident that my stories and music would be comforting to many people, I still wrestled with the fear that my book would not change my life in the ways I had hoped.

 

Regardless of how my book sold, I needed to continue to improve my life and heal myself.

 

My song “Clear” is a far more meaningful conclusion to my first book than “Hang On.” Beyond offering hope for surviving and creating a new life after loss, I am a living and breathing example of someone following a dream.

 

I am a real person and my fairytale story is still unfolding.

 

At this moment, I have no idea where my dream will take me. Regardless, of where it takes me, I have found happiness. I want to inspire people that it truly is possible to change your life.

Often, many of my lyric lines can be found within my stories. The line that I love most in “Clear,” is the one about getting up off the ground; that image I see of myself lying there is a very real one and I wrote about it in my story:

 

THERE WAS HOPE FOR ME.

I really was numb from so much scar tissue, and my awakening from that numbness after decades was miraculous.

 

I got up off the ground and marveled at my survival.

 

I celebrated how love had lifted me.

 

And then, I took off.

 

I flew to beautiful destinations I could never have imagined.

I celebrate the beauty of life with one of my paintings (hydrangeas); I love flowers.

My life is shaped by my musical creations. My sadness morphed into a beautiful new song and now my soul has been soothed. Wherever I am, I hear my new song playing and the process of crafting it has encompassed much of my creative energy.

 

Although it diverted me from my book, my song is now a wonderful ending for it. My audio book is about 75% finished, and is coming along beautifully. I am proud of my improvement and certain that it will touch many people. I am not rushing to finish it, because I am giving it my best effort.

 

At this time, I am working with my arranger George and we have been trying some new ways of working together. In the past, I simply have played my guitar first, and then sang along with it before George arranged my song. We are arranging it first with many instruments, and after I got home I began to experiment and add my guitar playing into the arrangement. George and I have not finished the instrumentation; it will most likely be finished by the end of next week. I plan to record many vocals, as I am fine-tuning my lyrics for this song.

I will share a brief update about the other elements in my life; my parents continue to hang in there. Unlike when I first started my blog, my children do not want me to write a single thing about them. I am so tired of the many messy pets running my household that I’m not going to write about them either.

 

I can share some pictures, so here goes!

I surprised my high school choir teacher, Frankie Nobert, on the date of her actual 75th birthday. We had a wonderful lunch.

Last Sunday, I parked my mother’s wheelchair next to my father so they could both watch a show together. Both my parents live separately at a nursing facility and my father hardly talks to my mother because her dementia is very advanced now.

My mother sleeps a lot. One of the greatest gifts in my life is her wonderful caregiver, Miriam. She has made my joyful life possible.

An actual page of my lyrics as I wrote them down.

Okay – I am going to share a picture of my three children here. It makes me cry.

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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