There is much debate concerning the quote, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.” One of the most popular being tied to Wagner’s Opera Götterdämmerung, where the traditionally large Brunnhilde sings a 10 minute solo, signaling the end of a very long opera. Today, it is more commonly used in close sports events when the fate hangs in the unknown. Sometimes in life, I think it is just better to bring the fat lady on stage and give her the microphone.
I drove the rental car from Birmingham to the Atlanta airport. Christian was returning to Paris one full month ahead of me. As I maneuvered through, (and talked to) the other passing (or rather not passing, i.e. blocking the path) vehicles that played out different scenarios alongside us, Christian happily scrolled through Spotify, playing navigator DJ. Bouncing between a remake of “Old Black Betty” which had us car dancing and playing air drums to a sultry female voice singing “Beat it” so slowly I could understand every word for the first time, we rocked down I-20.
It was a distraction tactic. An effort to keep the fat lady offstage; to delay the impending dread of airport good byes.
It almost worked.
… until that is, the music was muted in favor of Zelda’s directional wisdom in helping me locate the parking garage. Inside the airport, we bustled hand in hand through the obligatory chores necessary for an international flight, ignoring the inevitable. But, as Christian glanced at his watch and over to the lengthening security line I nodded my head in acceptance. He came closer, squeezed my hand tighter. We kissed. We held onto each other, reluctant to let go, as if this were forever, like the scene from “Cassablanca” or “Gone with the Wind”, where you don’t know if they ever see each other again. It did not feel like just 35 days. It felt much more eternal.
Intellectually I knew the days would pass and I would be back. Back in Paris, back to the wonderful apartment in the 17th Arrondisement, back to Christian and the life we share there. But emotionally the parting felt very different. And that is the rub.
Cause, you see, we’re kinda like that, us humans. We fight against the unsurpassable odds of defeating the circumstance, instead of battling to recognize, understand or control our thoughts. We let go too soon, or hang on too long, sure that if “it” changed we would be okay. We waste precious moments in suspension, waiting for something to happen; or worse, in dread of its arrival.
Why Can’t we just let the fat lady sing and enjoy the events until she does?
Well, we have these truly wondrous brains.
They keep us in check.
They keep us safe.
Or maybe they just
When we are presented with a situation, a challenge, a threat, a perceived loss, our brain goes on high alert. It rifles through files pulling out pre-recorded messages from a place in time, an experience, an overheard conversation, a flash of insight, or perhaps an admonishment from well-meaning loved ones. Then it’s delivered to us, reminding us, reeling us back in, looping through our efforts with sub conscious utterances like:
“But that isn’t fair”, or one of my favorites, “why can’t I have it my way?”
Sometimes we pause, hanging back because we are sure, or our brain is anyway, of things like:
“I don’t know, it looks pretty risky”
“What if you end up alone?”
“What if they don’t like you/your book/your ideas, etc.?”
“Why rock the boat?
“What do you mean you never take risks? Remember last holiday season when you drove a completely new way to Aunt Betty’s and made it through the snow blizzard?”
“You could fail you know.”
“Don’t let go. You may never get it back.”
As a matter of fact, our brain is SO freaking good at whispering in our ear, to keep us safe that we don’t even hear it. The much encountered stream of thought sails right past our consciousness into the land of “BELIEFS”
The fat lady never even makes it on stage. We go from, “Wow, that sounds so cool. I want to do/have/be that.” To “Who am I kidding? I can’t possibly do/have/be THAT…” without a clue about how we arrived at those beliefs.
Beliefs, born on the wings of thought, fortified by emotions the thoughts evoke, create our lives. And then we carefully construct our worlds to fit them.
Until one day we wonder what happened to our dreams, our talents, our gifts.
The good news is we don’t have to wonder, or grieve, or dread the fat lady at all. We can rebuild, remodel, rework or any “re” thing we want.
If you want to find out how, check in tomorrow, or hop over to my website (if you aren’t there already).
Tomorrow in part two of “Time for the Fat Lady to Sing” we will play a little game that will have a huge impact on how you create new beliefs.
And in parting I will leave you with a bit of inspiration: