Friday, October 06, 2006

Musical Theater and Exercises in Futility

My sister is a talented and gifted artist. She sings, dances, acts, draws, sculpts, etc., etc. My friends assure me that she is beautiful (their word is "Hot!", but it doesn't seem quite right to me). She is also very funny. Think Avril Lavigne, Lucille Ball, and Cinderella all rolled up into one with more than a dash of Xena, Warrior Princess, thrown in.

What I've noticed, though, is that wherever my sister goes - there are lots of other pretty girls and very few boys. Thinking that this might make it easier for me to meet girls, I decided to go with her to Musical Theater class. (Plus, I thought it would have the added benefit of getting my mom off my back about learning to dance.) It didn't work out quite that way.

It never occurred to me that Musical Theater class would be difficult for me. I've always loved music and I'm a pretty good singer. First, class was loud. The girls were chatting and they played the same music over and over. Second, I felt out of place. It wasn't that I was a boy. More, they pretty much ignored me. The teacher was friendly, but when I couldn't bring myself to participate fully she went on with the class.

Why couldn't I participate fully? I recently read an article by Temple Grandin about her experience with autism. Dr. Grandin noted that she experiences difficulties with rhythm, timing, and musicality. She and other authors also believe that with autism and Asperger's Syndrome comes a higher degree of anxiety. I do feel anxious a lot. Doctors and teachers (two of my biggest triggers) really make me nervous. I've been having some trouble in my voice lessons with focusing on one song, understanding the timing of the music, and performing. I never thought that these might be symptoms of the Asperger's, but what if they are?

How do I get past these drawbacks and really pursue the things I like? Granted, musical theater is not going to be one of those things. But hopefully, my music, girls (in the future!), and even performing with a band will be things I can pursue without anxiety sooner, rather than later.

Have a great week.