November 19, 2014

After finding out I have vocal cord nodules, and then seeing a Speech Therapist, I was told to try not to talk! I was told to talk as little as possible, and not talk over noise. Not only has my job for the last 8 years been to talk over noise, bartending at live music venues and loud bars, but my entire life since I was old enough to know what I liked, has been about my love of music. The things I love doing are going to see bands play and going to clubs to listen to music, dance and be social. All of a sudden, I cannot make a living at what I’m great at and have been doing for a long time, and I am also not even supposed to go out and talk? I’m also not supposed to talk on the phone! I am basically supposed to stay isolated and not speak. It’s crazy. What job can someone do if they can’t speak? The only thing I can come up with that I am immediately qualified for without further education is nude figure modeling! I thought about it and I am just too shy to do that in front of a whole class of art students.

I tried to keep my 2 nights at Elbo Room, by not talking for 2 days before or after, so that I could still work there and rest my voice in between days. But when I realized how much it was hurting me, I had to take a leave of absence at least until next year. I’m not sure if my voice will heal to the point I can go back. I’ve had to do a lot of sitting home alone. I immediately started looking into other jobs that might be at least quieter than where I’d been. I quickly got a new job at an art gallery doing happy hours and corporate parties, and I thought by moving jobs to the quieter gallery, I could still make a living as a bartender. I worked two shifts and after learning an entire new computer system, drink menu and prices, I realized I was straining my voice over their music too. I was in pain and just couldn’t do it. I had to tell the manager that although I love it there and really want to be there, my voice simply will not allow me to do it right now.

I then got another new job at a wine bar. Even though I knew I’d be making less money, and working longer hours on my feet, I took it anyway so I would be working. I knew I would basically have to quickly learn everything I could about wine, working side by side with master sommeliers… it would be a lot of work. Because some of the shifts were daytime and the place was small, it didn’t seem like it would be very loud. I trained 7 hours there this week. After I arrived, they told me I wasn’t getting paid. Since I was already there and thought training was a necessary first step, I stayed and worked hard all day, even carrying 15 cases of beer up the steps just to help out. At the end of the day, they told me one of their existing employees asked for the shifts that were offered to me (the night before!), so there was not a position for me at this time. I wish they would have let me know not to come in and work for free for 7 hours, where I wasted my voice for no money or job!

At the moment, I’ve been still speaking to people when necessary and then taking breaks for a day or two to be silent. I am not yet feeling improvement. I’m not sure how I can support myself exactly. I know I will figure it out though. This is just a really challenging time right now. I’m starting to clean friend’s houses for cash, but that is a temporary and not very lucrative endeavor. If anyone reading this has ideas or suggestions that could help me out in my immediate situation, please tell me. I am taking online marketing classes to learn some new updated skills, but it will take some time before I am able to finish that education. This is a weird time for me, and I miss my regular life and talking to friends. I am trying to keep a very positive outlook and look to the unknown future with excitement instead of fear. I hope my friends all know that I miss them and wish we could talk more. I can’t sit home and miss everything, so I will be out from time to time, but I am not talking next to a speaker or during a band! In a social situation, if my voice can’t take it, I can just leave. At work, I’m stuck there until we close! I’m open to ideas, advice and job opportunities, however big or small… I’m wracking my brain as to if there are jobs that talking minimally or being silent are assets. All I can think of are “Buddhist Monk” or “English Bobbie”, which are not applicable. haha… And no one else tell me to go work at the Library, please. People ask questions all day, so you may as well be a bartender.


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