Monday, September 15, 2014

In the Face of Fear

As a child, I took piano lessons.  I always enjoyed playing the piano, but I usually hated my lessons.  I had a couple of different teachers over the years, but none of the issues I had were their fault.  I didn't like the pressure of practicing and performing everything just right.  I knew when it wasn't right, but the more I seemed to know, the more pressure I felt to perform.  All of which added to the whirlpool of destruction in my mind.

As you know, I teach piano part-time and have played for my own entertainment off and on for the past few years.  By design I don't perform much.  Unless I'm 100% prepared, which doesn't happen often, I. get. nervous.  And not just a pit in my stomach beforehand, but do better than I expect-nervous.  I get - make mistakes you never make at home because hands are shaking and everything you try to NOT be nervous only brings more attention to the fact and results in more nerves-nervous.

So, for a few clerical reasons, a free grant paying the bill and Mr. Butler saying, "Do it.  I'll be good for you.", I am taking piano lessons myself for the first time in 12 years.  And, yes, I still get nervous.  Frustratingly nervous.  I mean it's a little (okay, a LOT) humiliating to know what you're doing wrong but appear to be clueless as I stumble around on the piano as though I only looked at the piece once over the past week. It's something that I have to seriously work on.  The main answer is that I need to practice as much as possible.  The complicated answer is that I have to structure my time differently and insist on my own discipline and for others to respect that boundary.   

Regardless, the reason I'm sharing this with you, besides therapeutic purposes, is to say that everyone has areas in their life where they should perform better than what they are.  Their experience and training should put them higher up.  They should know better than to stumble at such a little thing.  They should have gotten their act together by now.  We all have the proverbial 20 lbs of weight we should never have gained or the debt that shouldn't have spun out of control.  We all have something.  And maybe today you should face it, instead of avoiding it.  

I hate feeling like an idiot when I play poorly.  But not playing or running away like the little girl I feel like inside is the worst way to handle it.  It might be a really long road to truly face the skeleton you're avoiding, but I think it's time, don't you?  It won't be easier next year.  That's what you said the past several times and it hasn't exactly panned out.  I'm going to go practice.  What are you going to do? :)

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