Usually around this time of year, I am teaching non-stop or rehearsing for a holiday show. In either case, the physical sensation is the same: fatigue. All I end up wanting is a cosy night at home to rest. Fortunately, I have decided, in the interest of my little boy, to keep a fairly light schedule this season. Little did I know that the gift I had intended for my child was really for myself. As December hits, my stress level is fairly low and most importantly, my voice doesn't feel warn out.
However; at the moment, I have a student and a co-worker who have speech pathology appointments to examine their vocal folds. Both of them are either teaching or rehearsing for long hours and complain of tired voices and sore throats.
"What did the speech pathologist say?" I ask my friend after his appointment.
"She told me to get some rest. Say no to a job, if I need." he replied.
"But we're the 24/7 workers." I tell him. "This is what we know."
We both laugh, and then there is a silence. Somewhere there is the knowledge that we can't keep this pace up. Our voices are our work, and without them, we lose our ability to express our passion and keep food on the table for our families.
We pour a cup of tea and sit down on the couch, listening to the rain.
"You know,I read a story in the news about a Japanese woman whose husband had died while working for Toyota. She sued the company for contributing to her husband's death." he tells me.
"Did he win?" I ask, thinking of the poor man.
"No, he lost. But his wife won the lawsuit." my friend replied before he headed off to the other room to rest his throat and contemplate working a little less.