Vocal Lessons: A year later

I realized today that I have been taking my vocal lessons slightly over a year now. It’s been an interesting year and has forced me to really look at what stops me in life.

I love to sing, I truly do. It makes me so happy. I just love music in general, music heals me or comforts me. And I’ve always wanted to sing. I’ve already written about my internal battle with that though.

I’m actually still finding my voice, in all ways. I’m still breaking free. It’s been tiny baby steps though, teeny tiny ones. Before I took lessons I thought just walking into them was going to be enough for me to “unleash” and suddenly I was going to be so confident. But the opposite happened, it was HARDER for me to sing in my lessons, because I was in front of someone else.

I’ve wanted to quit MANY times. Especially after my last teacher left me. But my new one has taught me so much, and I feel like my 3 short months with her have yielded a lot of results. But the teachers that came before her each had their hand in teaching me several things too.

I’ve learned what a complex instrument the voice is. I’ve also learned that singing is a very mental thing. In the end my mind is hindering me most, even still. I can belt a song in my car but put me in class and it squeaks out. It’s not because I can’t sing, but just because my brain is freaking out and not letting me. Bridging that gap between fear and ability is HARD for me. But I am laying down those boards one at a time, inching along.

I thought I’d be across the water by now. I thought I’d have at least shared my singing with someone. But no, I sing a tiny bit in front of Adam but that is even very rare. I still don’t practice in my house because I’m shy for my dad to hear.

I don’t practice, another huge problem. I really need to. For abilities sake but mostly for confidences sake. The more you feel like, “Yeah. I GOT THIS” the better you will perform. AT ANYTHING in life. Singing is no different.

Today I did something I hadn’t done in awhile. I picked up my guitar. I started just trying to learn Selena Gomez’s song, “Bad Liar” because it seemed like it’d be super easy to play, (it is!) but then a part of me is like, “You need to be working on a “Million Reasons” Malinda….” so I pulled out the chords I had printed and started to try to play it and sing. (My dad wasn’t here, btw) Then I just felt like practicing singing only.

So I sang it and recorded myself, then did something out of the ordinary. I listened to myself. Then I did it again. I got so emotional the second time through it I almost started crying in the middle of the song. Because I was just singing my heart out, the way I used to when I was 8 when I’d sing along to “The Little Mermaid” or any other disney or Madonna song.

I sang a lot of songs, I sang non-stop. But I never got the one thing I was looking for, approval. Someone to say “You sing pretty good” or “Maybe she should take lessons” no one ever pushed that part of me. I think it was because I was SO shy and SO introverted they probably didn’t connect the dots that I loved singing and performing more then anything.  I don’t know what it is. But my brain always just told me it was cause I wasn’t good at it…and then as I got older and got bullied it was as if I got confirmation of that fact.

And now I have Olivia Thai, winner of Thai Idol and also former contestant on American Idol telling me that’s NOT the case, that I have a gift I need to share…and I don’t believe her. I want to, I want to SO BAD. But my negativity drowns it out and says, “Bitch, you can’t sing.” The battle I am fighting is mental, it’s not ability based.

I think that’s why that moment made me so emotional. Because I hit the chorus in a “Million Reasons” with full force. Usually between the verse and the chorus I will stop, because she goes into the high notes and sings with so much power. I get scared and falter. But Oliva told me to the practice getting through the song, no stops, even if I mess up to keep going. And I smashed the chorus I could just feel it, it was like my real voice came out. And then I started almost crying. Crying and singing don’t mix well. lol

I have moved forward in this year and forward is all I can ask for. I’m excited to know with more confidence and more practice where I will be in another year.  Will I be posting a video for everyone to hear? I hope so.

My problem with self discipline

This week I was determined to A. go the the gym 3x (M,W,F) and B. actually SING at my voice lesson. Ever since I got sick my classes have sucked, I don’t know if it’s my throat or my brain…but my last few lessons were really bad imo.

Sunday night I didn’t sleep good. I work at an NPR station and we are having a pledge drive this week, which is when I’m at my busiest! So I went to work tired, worked my ass off and STILL went to the gym.

Sounds great until you hear that I went to this YUMMY hot dog place in Pasadena called Dog Haus for lunch with my co-worker/buddy Crystal. I ate so BAD but it was so good. So with my workout I’d be lucky if I broke even. :/ #fail

Tuesday was another bad eating day with my BF but I did go to class and sang much better then the previous weeks. So that was a half-win.

Wednesday I had FULL intention of going to the gym. My work is in-between my bf’s and the gym. I park near the gym and take the Metro 10min to work because parking in Pasadena is HORRIBLE. So, when we go places my bf usually picks me up from work. ANYWAY, so he picks me up from work, drops me off at my car, we drive to the gym I get out of my car and pop open my trunk….no gym clothes.

The bag is still sitting on the floor of my room. I completely forgot the grab them in the morning. #fail We had dinner and I went home and did some pilates but it was not the cardio I wanted to do.

I’m really bad when it comes to eating healthy, working out AND practicing my guitar/voice. I get so lazy after work or when I get home. And eating, oh lordy (haha #comeyday..), I eat terrible. I love everything bad for me. WINGS and MARGARITAS especially. Take me to BWW and give me both and I’m in heaven.

But I really want to get back into shape, for a couple reasons. 1. I have a 5k & 10k in September at Disneyland. 2. I BOOKED A DISNEY WORLD VACATION FOR MY BIRTHDAY! Sorry for the bold, all caps, but I’m beyond excited to go. It’s my FIRST time EVER! And I’m going the day before my birthday!!! I’m going to Disney world for the first time on my birthday guys?! How amazing is that?

Oh and I forgot shopping! I’m a Disney-holic/t-shirt holic so now trying to save money for Disney World and not spend money for the trip to Disney world (like shirts and ears..) is another thing I must discipline myself on.

Telling myself “No” and not saying, “Fuck it” are really hard. But I’m trying guys, this also falls in with my last post about becoming the person I want to be. Getting in shape, working on my music and spending money on things that really matter to me (instead of random crap) are all things I need to be doing to be that person…but they’re hard! *whiney voice*

I’d love to end this post with a wisdom filled nugget but meh. I’m just here trying to do my best. Trying to walk a little more towards my goals so when I take those few steps back it doesn’t feel so bad.

Are you good at self discipline? Have you become better at it as time goes on? Tips? Tricks? They’re Always welcome.

Thoughts on everything currently swirling around in my brain

I apologize in advance because this post has no clear cut direction. I have lots of things running through my mind after my voice lesson Thursday, watching Wonder Woman yesterday and watching the livestream of the One Love Manchester benefit concert today.

I am a person who is truly split in two. I feel like two very different people live inside my brain. I watch Gal Gadot portray Wonder Woman and I know that person lives inside of me…the fierce warrior and then there is this other person, a terrified little girl that is afraid to be heard, to be seen. And they are constantly at odds with each other. Most times when I really want to be be brave, the little girl shows up. Terrified, shaking in a corner wanting nothing more then to keep hiding. Go where it’s safe. Maybe there is 3 actually. Because I feel torn in-between them.

I want to cuddle the little girl and scream at her all the same, “WHY CAN’T YOU BE BRAVE?! WHY CAN’T YOU LET SHIT GO?” But obviously that doesn’t help, because the words still wont come out as they should and I don’t shine as I should.

I am an introvert, and I got the message pretty young that I wasn’t supposed to be that way. I got a lot of messages and I built my foundation on a lot of things that weren’t true. So now here I am, a full fledged independent minded adult still believing what I learned decades ago…and still buying into it.

I am the shy introvert but I am a performer too. I want to express so much yet I want to hide. I have tried so hard to make these two sides work together somehow. There is no compromise because the pull of each is so strong. How do I reconcile the past of who I was with the person I want to become in life?

I’ve built too much and come too far with these conflicting houses. There’s a whole city on top of faulty, rocky ground. There is no denying that there is beauty to be found amongst that city. My life has had amazing moments but they seem to be always overshadowed by the bullshit.

There will be no reconciliation of past and present. I’ve tried so hard and its impossible. So I must rebuild.

We need to all start together at the same place and build together, with a love for both of my halves and be reborn like the Phoenix. But leaving behind the bullshit and only taking the best and the good to build with and taking the bad in stride. A new foundation a new city a new me. A person that accepts myself despite everything. I can’t change the past I can simply forgive myself for it and create a better future.

It all sounds good. But we all know change is NOT that easy. Very few people can wake up and become a different person.  But to be honest, I’ve never worked that hard at radical self acceptance. Or my music and my other passions. There’s so much risk in pouring your heart into something isn’t there? Because there is always the possibility of falling flat on your face despite all your best efforts.

My dealings with romantic relationships, however, have always gotten my full attention. Every ounce of me went into situations that were not beneficial or even good for me. For so, so long.

That’s a major difference with my current relationship. He does not deplete me, or take and never give, or require me to worry and wonder and fear. Our bad days are so minimal and small. It’s healthy and happy. I attribute this not only because I’m with a wonderful person but because I have done SO MUCH work to get to where I am today.  But why then do I still let past things bug me? Things that don’t even matter anymore?

I want to walk into my future and I want to become the best versions of every facet of myself. The scared little girl and the warrior both have a place at the table but they need to work together instead of constantly fighting each other.

I don’t know how I’m going to do this. But I am. Because I’m tired of being afraid to be whoever I’m supposed to be.

It’s more then just a concert: My thoughts on Manchester

I just returned from a vacation in New Orleans but writing about that just doesn’t feel right at the moment. Since the tragedy in Manchester happened it hasn’t left my mind.

I love going to concerts, so much so I’d probably list it as a hobby. I love music and there is NOTHING like seeing it performed live. It’s not even just about being in close proximity to the artists, or admiring their talent. Music is expression and going to a concert is the ultimate expression of joy and solidarity.

Once when I saw Beyonce at the Rose Bowl I posted on facebook that it felt like I was going to church. You’re in a building with people filled with pure joy and excitement . No one is worrying about how they are going to be perceived. I dance my ass off and sing my heart out, smile, cry, the songs COME TO LIFE.

Music in itself ALREADY has an element of life and spirit to me. Songs and albums speak my soul, good or bad, they give me an outlet to express everything. Music is EVERYTHING to me. So a concert is the ultimate expression of it. And guess what? You’re with 100’s or 10,000+ people that feel THE EXACT way you do. They’re there to be in a place where you all share this commonality…the joy of the artists, the music and all the life it brings.

EVERY concert I have ever attended has been one of the happiest moments of my life for this exact reason. And it’s why I keep going back, why I go alone to them most times. Because nothing is going to stop me from experiencing that oneness. I never feel more like I belong then in those moments. I am with people that understand just HOW much this means to me, and its a gift.

Which is why I find what happened extra horrifying. A moment of peace and pure joy completely shattered and destroyed and turned into something so ugly I can’t even comprehend it. The media focuses on the teen girls and young people in the place and yes that does make up the majority of her audiences. But I assure you, there were all kinds of people there who were just as happy and joyous to be there. People like me, parents, boys, men…the joy is infectious.

I saw Ariana when she was here last month. My boyfriend happened to go with me to that show. But do you know every other concert I’ve been to in the last 5 or so years has been ALONE. I’ve seen Taylor 3x, Ariana 1x and Beyonce all alone. I’m supposed to see Katy Perry in October…alone. And I’d be a liar if I said I wasn’t scared. Scared of what could have happened, or what could happen. Worried that my moment of peace has been forever shattered along with many other fans out there.

My heart breaks for everyone that had to experience that night and everyone that didn’t make it. I can’t even begin to imagine. It makes me want to help, but I feel helpless and it makes me scared.

But isn’t that the point? To terrorize us into changing who we are and abandon what we love out of fear? They discount the human spirit, they underestimate US. It may not be immediate but they can’t stop our joy and our freedom of expression.

“Be Alright”

Midnight shadows
When finding love is a battle
But daylight is so close
So don’t you worry ’bout a thing

We’re gonna be alright [3x]

Baby, don’t you know
All them tears gon’ come and go
Baby, you just gotta make up your mind
That every little thing is gonna be alright
Baby, don’t you know
All them tears gon’ come and go
Baby, you just gotta make up your mind
We decide it

We’re gonna be alright [3x]

In slow motion
Can’t seem to get where we’re going
But the hard times are golden
Cause they all lead to better days

We’re gonna be alright [3x]

– Ariana Grande

The power of positivity?

I, of all people, am no stranger to the idea that “what we think, we attract”. Or, “that our thoughts create our reality”. And even, “our thoughts have energy and power”. I believe this to certain extents. I don’t believe just sitting there staring at a map of Walt Disney World is going to take me there, however.

I’ve done A LOT of introspection since 2008. Trying to figure out when I think certain things to be true or act certain ways. Trying to pinpoint the exact moment I picked up a false belief system. Reckoning, dissecting, denouncing, fighting, surrendering, lamenting…I feel like I have done it all in the name of “fixing myself”.

I just believed that I was going to have some Oprah worthy a-ha moment and BOOM my life would shift and I would suddenly, “Get it” and go climb Mt. Everest. Well, the Everest part is a lie but the rest is true. I have been wishing for that a-ha moment harder then anything else. Still waiting…

I have had moments of clarity or understanding, but they feel fleeting and then BOOM I am back feeling the way I used to feel, but now even MORE frustrated because I saw the greener side of the grass for awhile.

With one of my Audible credits I purchased Shawn Achor‘s “Before Happiness: The 5 hidden keys to achieving success, spreading happiness and sustaining positive change” And let me tell you I was SKEP-TI-CAL. Martha Beck book about steering by starlight, bring it on! Metaphysical stuff doesn’t make me blink and I love reading it. A book by a Positive Psychology researcher? Uhhh, I felt like I was going to be asking for my Audible credit back.

In the beginning I was half listening…hoo hum, positivity does amazing things, blah blah. At some point I did ACTUALLY start listening. And I was like, “That makes sense…..” I started to think about the things I did a little more, my reactions, my view on the world. Then I ran my 10k and literally used something I heard in the book to stop panicking and get back on track. Maybe you are on to something Shawn-y boy.

This book asks you to do a lot of things, but it DOES NOT make you wrestle with your past. Everything is based on the NOW, the CURRENT MOMENT and your thinking in that moment. And to keep reconciling your brain to stay there. It doesn’t kick up the shit from the past.

Do we need to evaluate and wrestle with our past? Absolutely, without a question! But I’ve been on that island so long, we’ve done the dance and it’s getting stagnant. I think now it’s time to wrestle with my very perception of…well…everything that makes me unhappy.

Is this the author that’s going to change my life? Probably not. I’m the only person that can really do that and this is just another tool and view to help me do it. I’ve been in the “stuck” mud for awhile and I’m hoping this gets me moving again.

RunDisney Tinker Bell 10k

RunDisney Tinker Bell 10k

Prior to the Tink 10k I’d done 2 other RunDisney races. The 2016 Disneyland 5k was my first and the Star Wars lightside 5k was my second. This was my first time attempting the 10k distance.

When I was signing up for the race and realized it was the day before mothers day, that made me pick the 10k vs the 5k. I thought, “I can do it for my Mom!” It sounded like a lovely sentiment and since you register so far in advance I thought I’d have plenty of time to prepare. Right?

Then I had the bright idea to change my job and change my entire schedule. Long story short, I was NOT fully prepared when the day crept up on me. I had started training some but then I got sick the week before and didn’t work out once. . This made me a little nervous.

Friday May 12th I had to go pickup my bib from the Health and Fitness expo at the Disneyland hotel. I’d never picked up my stuff on a Friday and I’ll probably never do it again, there was WAY more traffic then Thursday. It took us forever to get into the Expo and once again I didn’t get to look around much. :/ That seems to always happen!


Cool castle photo op with my bib
I got my bib and then I hit the official merch spot. It wasn’t nearly has crowded as it had been for the Star Wars half weekend. I went a little merch crazy because HELLO I was gonna run my first 10k! (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Aside from the stuff below I also got ANOTHER shirt that said, “I did it!”, a magnet that said the same and a cute bandana that is M.I.A. at the moment.

Official race shirt and cute Tink shirt


I heard someone complaining that they didn’t like the lost boy theme for the 10k but I did. I thought it was perfectly fitting actually, I feel like a lost girl sometimes. Last minute I had ordered a shirt from an Etsy/instagram seller to run in. I love it!

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We had dinner at Tortilla Joe’s, the wait wasn’t too bad for being Friday. They quoted us an hour but it was only 45min. And it got our parking validated. While we were waiting I went to Wonderground Gallery and bought the new HerUniverse tank. I missed the Ashley’s by like 20min! I also bot a postcard by another artist.

Wonderground Gallery purchases

Dinner at Tortilla Joe’s in Downtown Disney


This dog looks like Reggie IMO

Reggie is ready for his race
We got back late and I went to bed even later. Come 3:45am I did not want to get out of bed! If i hadn’t bought all that merch I might not have, lol.

We got there, I got to my corral and off I went. I have to say that the first two miles were the WORST. Because I was having a mild freak out attack that I had to do 6. I literally had to refocus on WHY I was even doing this…my mom. I thought about my mom and my sister and listened to my music and it carried me through the race. I didn’t fly through it but I was at least a minute under the minimum pace. Hey, not bad for someone that was coughing her brains out even days earlier!

Before my corral went

Matterhorn at sunrise

Paradise Pier at sunrise

Note the difference in my face lol

This person in the yellow is chill and I’m ready to pass out, lol

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Crossing that finish line was TRUE accomplishment. I also thought of my mom and it made me super emotional, I almost started crying when they gave me my medal. I had made it through, somehow. I couldn’t have done it without Adam’s love and support. Who else would get up for me at 3:45am on a Saturday?!


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Overall it was a wonderful experience. But I swear next time I’m going to train more. I’m supposed to do the Disneyland 5k AND 10k in September. Please don’t ask me what I was thinking when I signed up…I was reading this motivational book and…things just… happened.

“Every heartbreak makes it hard to keep the faith”

Elizabeth Gilbert describes them as “art scars”. Emotional scars that you got at some point while you were trying to express your creativity. It goes deeper then that for me.

I have loved singing since before I could remember. I did it non-stop as a child. I was born with a clef palate, when they were repairing something happened and low and behold I ended up with a speech impediment.  It shaped who I am as a person and how I express and see myself.

So yeah, despite this, I have always loved singing. But then I became a teenager and I stopped. I had a lot of bullies growing up and in 7th grade I realized that if I was QUIET and INVINCIBLE I was SAFE.

People can’t make fun of your voice if they can’t hear you talk.

So into the shell I went and I’ve been suffocating ever since. I held fast to every negative criticism I had ever received about my voice (and self in general). I told myself over and over again that I was not supposed to sing, i wasn’t even supposed to want to. Funny how your heart and brain just refuse to agree sometimes.

I don’t like driving (ask my bf. that is an understatement) but the ONE THING I always loved about driving was that I got to be ALONE in my car and SING MY ASS OFF.  It was my safe haven, literally the only place I would allow myself to sing.

Then my mom and sister passed away…

Do you sense a theme here?

Yes, their deaths were a HUGE catalyst to the person I am and becoming currently. Nothing wakes your ass up like watching 2 people you love leave this earth. Nothing makes you realize, “Hey….I don’t have all the time in the world..” like that.

It still took me two years to go to a vocal class. I literally agonized over it every week for 2 years, trying to convince myself that it was an utterly insane and stupid thing to do. WHY THE HELL WOULD I DO THAT?! I sing in my car, not in front of other human beings. I used to as a bitty kid but not anymore.

Nag, nag, nag the thought went. I went on Yelp and found a school that was on my way home from work. I read the description by the head of the school, it just spoke to me. That made me want to go there, but, she (Olivia) intimidated me because she had been an American Idol finalist...so I didn’t choose her as my instructor.

My first class was terrifying, I barely made any noise. I got slightly comfy with teacher #1 and then. she left. So a new instructor was given to me, a guy, he was really cool and I was more comfy with him…then he left. Then came the 3rd one, I really liked her a lot and felt myself somewhat progressing…I’ll give you one guess what happened…SHE LEFT.

So about now my brain is telling, “Um, Malinda, yeah…maybe you need to stop this madness. 3 instructors have left and now you’re going for #4.” I had literally just paid for another month of classes when instructor #3 left me, so I had to at least finish out the classes.

They put with me Olivia. I was SO scared and intimidated to have her teach me. The universe makes shit happen for a reason though guys. Because I have progressed more in 4 lessons with Olivia then I did with the months and months and months of all the other instructors. She’s amazing and her energy just meshes with mine. What if I had stopped going when instructor #3 quit?!

(On a good day I can remember this..)

It’s still been pulling teeth for Olivia to get me to sing. I was never able to really go “all the way” and sing like I sing in the car with any of the others. And when I’d say, “I can do it better by myself” I always felt like they were thinking, “Surrreee..”

But TODAY I WAS ABLE TO SING. I got it out, I did it like I do it in the car. Her and I were both so excited. I fight a mental battle against the past when it comes to this and it makes me unable to express myself. Or it tries, now I am actively attempting to combat that.

SAFETY does not make me HAPPY. SAFETY makes me MISERABLE. 

I should get that tattooed on me.

I’m just so proud of myself at the moment. 🙂

BTW the song I’m working on currently is “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga, hence the title.