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  • Schyler Sheltrown

Toxic

A lot has changed since I last posted, May 28, 2020. We were all in the midst of figuring out how in the world to navigate this pandemic and whether or not our careers were ruined forever. This was the hardest time of my life, but it opened my eyes to so much in the world and about myself. It was the beginning of a two-year-long pivot in my mindset and career.


At the time of my last blog post, I had begun applying to business schools. It was clear to me that, as much as I wanted it, attempting a career of singing alone was not going to cut it. I was struck with grief, not only about the state of our country and world, but also of the loss of my dream, my first great love.


But here's the thing - I realized that relationship with my first great love, singing, was the most toxic relationship I'd ever had. (And that's really saying something, considering the losers I've dated in the past). I had poked and prodded my body into the perfect shape, chopped my hair, hardened my heart to its cruelties, begged for it to love me the way I loved it, dedicated my heart and soul to it and put myself into years of debt for it. I'd put it on a pedestal of perfection, and made myself better than ever, only to be responded to with criticism, a disgusting lack of funds (hello, "exposure" and a moldy dorm room for 5 weeks) and empty promises. One thing I know about toxic relationships is that when the neglected and abused finally realize what's happening to them, it's a very short time before they start knowing what their boundaries are


, or even planning their escape.


In the two years since my last post, I finally realized that I don't have to make myself a tiny speck of a human in order to partake in my love of singing. I've said "no" to so many aspects that were draining me and started saying "yes" to what filled me. It felt good to say "yes" to the part of me that wanted and craved success and to embrace that my imperfections were and are exactly what make me UNIQUE.


Where am I at now? In a healthy, loving relationship with singing. I only say yes to opportunities that fulfill me (which has


turned out to get me more opportunities than I was EVER getting before), and I don't need to worry about the pay because I am getting that elsewhere. I've been able to secure a job as the House Manager at a large theater and convention center in Grand Rapids. It has been so rewarding and fun to be on the other side of things to put on shows, and even getting the opportunity to see so many different types of art aside from just opera. I'm now a Master of Business Administration from Grand Valley State University. I have a beautiful baby boy, who is healthy and happy, with my husband and two pups. Because of my two years of grinding like hell to turn away from that toxicity, I am finally able to slow down and enjoy.


My biggest hope for anyone pursuing this career is having the courage to say "no" and to quit what doesn't work OFTEN.

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