MomChoir & finding your soulmate

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a partner who supports my creative endeavors and does everything he can to allow me space and time to write weird novels about fertility cults and so I can perform in operas. He’s a mensch.

Sam wins the trifecta at the Nice Hippodrome de la Côte d’Azur as her man looks on in disgust c. 2003

There did come a time in recent years though where I felt myself spread too thin. My girls are young and I wanted to be there for them, and even starting my own proofreading business that allows me flexible hours, the commute to performances on nights and weekends was a step beyond what I could reasonably handle.

I was fortunate that an energetic singer, mom of three, and choir director started a new group in my neighborhood just over a year ago comprised entirely of local mothers. I joined MomChoir in September and it has been a large part of what is proving to be a transformative year for me.

MomChoir director Katy Cadman proving the adage that singers will always be featured in the press with their mouths hanging open. You know, like a carp. (Andy Prest / North Shore News)

Let me back up by saying I have always been internally opposed to sororities as a concept. When I attended Emerson College I was strongly encouraged by gorgeous young friends to join their professional sorority Kappa Gamma Chi and even ended up an “honorary” member as I lived with so many of them. But I never officially pledged. I was working a full-time job to afford the steep tuition and I didn’t think I could give them the time and money their Greek life appeared to require.

How funny now to find myself in a group of nearly sixty women I cherish. We have frequent social gatherings and I find nothing but support and mutual admiration. Unlike so many past experiences in groups of women where neuroticism and back-handed compliments seemed to rule the day (oh, Egg Pictures and the PTA, I’m looking at you right now), this crew has been nothing but delightful.

Soprano II Francesca Smilgin-Box made a cake for a casual gathering that proves the adage no one parties better than a mom on a babysitter deadline.

We’re busy professional moms who had ovaries of steel enough to audition for a choir. Many had not sung in public since high school, if ever. Many had to be lovingly bullied by their family into attending the audition. “Honey, I love you, but if I have to watch Singin’ in the Rain with you again I will smash the television with my left shoe.”

Many — if not most — have suffered loss. Perhaps it’s simply that no one gets through life unscathed, but this is a group that has known personal, physical, emotional life tragedies. They’re women who faced down demons and it made them kinder not harder.

Compassion is not an attribute I would have attached to a university sorority, but I’m learning that there is one overarching definition to sisterhood: Mutual Support. When done correctly? There is a bottomless well of love and admiration in a room full of women who’ve suffered.

I need to digress for a moment and talk about (of all things) soulmates.

Many years ago, in Yosemite National Park, I had a fella declare that I was his one and only soulmate. I kissed him in response, but in my brain? Y’all. I felt like he had just told me with all sincerity that he believed in The Tooth Fairy.

Yosemite in the ’00s is a timeless beauty.
The author in Yosemite in the ’00s is a timeless asshole.

This was not merely me being a cynical unromatic jerkface, I swear. Nor was it my basic requirement for evidence that a thing exists. Is soulmate a thing beyond zinging brain chemistry and compatible sexuality?

It actually took me many years to realize why I felt so much pity for him and only recent events that reminded me of a core basis for happiness. If you don’t know this already then let me shout it:
WE GET MORE THAN ONE SOULMATE

This is a reality that many people learn when they become parents.

That there are broken-hearted darlings out there believing that their one and only true love is gone and thus they may never be cherished again pains me. I know it might feel like a truth because western culture and the Romantic Ideal is a lie that we’re peddled by most of our pop culture from a very young age. You must choose between — you are not permitted to love multiple people. And I’m not talking about the ever-trendy polyamory here, although there is a space for that discussion another time.

It was a few weeks ago when I was awash in a Yosemite-sized cataract of emotion for my Mastery crew and thus pondering this truth anew. I was reflecting on how fortunate I feel to love a plethora of people all over this planet when this visual popped up for Pi Day. I don’t know who made it but it is wonderful.

This is what I’m trying to say right here.

I love a lot of people. Truly and deeply and for everything that they are. All of their broken parts and their scars.

One of my MomChoir sisters posted a behind-the-scenes video to a fight song we’re slaying with in an upcoming concert, and Sagan help me, I am done. If I make it through this song without tears down my face it’ll be a minor secular miracle.

So this is what artists do. We put our whole hearts into the world and we give you permission to break them because we won’t ever stop loving you even if you hate us. And we’ve hearts big enough to nurture the world.

Local fans can attend Sweet Scarlet‘s upcoming fundraiser for the Pacific Post-partum Support Society, It Takes a Village, with MomChoir.

Buy tickets here
for the 11 May concert, but it will sell out soon because we’re ADORABLE.

Members of MomChoir proving the old adage that there’s always that one.


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