Twenty years ago, my life’s journey took me to Houston . . . again. I lived here briefly when I was 9, but that’s another story entirely. In my thirties, I followed a man to Houston. It’s something silly you do as a young woman . . . follow a dude across the country. I don’t have said man anymore, but what I do have is a 20-year love affair with a city that changed me for the better.
When I moved to Houston from California, it was complete culture shock. I erroneously thought everyone would wear cowboy attire, speak with Southern accents, and be conservative in thought and manner. Well, there are some of those folks here, but, honestly, Houston is one of the most cosmopolitan cities I’ve experienced in the U.S. Literally everyone is here. Between the consulates, oil and gas industry expats, the world-renown medical facilities, and amazing art scene, over 400 languages are spoken here daily. So, when I first moved here, it was a lot to take in.
At first, I didn’t know what to do, where to start. Even finding a job here was difficult for me as compared to California. After floundering for some time, I decided to go back to my roots—singing. I auditioned for the Houston Symphony Chorus . . . and failed miserably. While commiserating with a friend about my failure, she suggested voice lessons. Light bulb. After a few months of lessons, my voice teacher suggested opera chorus. Epiphany! I had literally found my voice.
Opera led to theatre, and theatre led to the LGBTQ+ community. Many of my theatre friends are active in the community. Several fundraise for said community, so it was only a matter of time before they got me involved too.
Fundraising is an interesting activity. On one level, you get to show off your talents. On a completely different level, you can’t help but learn more about the folks for whom your efforts are raising money, especially when a lot of them are in the room with you.
I can remember my first fundraiser very vividly. I was scared out of my mind, but it was completely unwarranted. Everyone accepted me—unconditionally. That acceptance was a real lesson in humility. What else could I learn if I was curious instead of afraid?
Theatre led next to radio. For a period of about four years, the hubster and I had a segment on a local public radio station. We highlighted local artists of all stripes (especially musicians), and we discovered that, in the artist community, everyone knew EVERYONE. It wasn’t six degrees of separation; it was more like TWO.
It also seemed like everyone we met was amazing. They loved their art, and they loved the artist community. They were from all walks of life—all ages, colors, shapes, creeds, etc. It truly was an education.
Theatre ultimately led to my business, The Singing Seamstress. (See my blog Origin Story for more on that.) I love that I make magic for a living, but it’s time to move my magician’s studio to a different locale.
Now, my life’s journey leads me to the care and feeding of a parent. Instead of subjecting her to the dubious ministrations of the elder care industry, I intend to have her be a part of my magician’s workshop in whatever capacity she feels comfortable. In effect, I will be far closer to the North Pole, and she will join me in “elfery” for as long as she is able.
I want to thank the amazing folks of Houston for inviting me into their lives and allowing me to be a part of their stories. You will forever be in my heart, and to quote Elphaba from Wicked, “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
Next time I write will be from North Pole workshop, Washington. Until then, Dear Reader, may your hearts be sated, may you remain curious about one another, and may your bobbins always be full.