A sad, dusty little friend in my closet is going to get a cleaning, polish, brand new high quality strings, and some personal attention. I sold some art supplies and bought some professional strings.
|Me: age 17 (not a flattering photo, but I don't have many).|
Those callouses protected my heart and fed my soul. I played because I had to. Because I needed it to survive. That need was almost biological. I raged, I cried, I celebrated. This all sounds so hackneyed and cheesy, but it's also very true. I lived for those strings and that cheap little violin. I still don't understand why I put it down. I got a scholarship to play in the Orchestra at Arizona State University. Not an easy feat. Not at all. Instead of being proud of accomplishing something pretty big at a pretty young age, in spite of everything, I despised myself when I wasn't able to make it past 5th chair.
The one thing that helped me survive my life and brought me so much peace and happiness became a huge source of self hatred. I thought my violin was my future but that dream began to die and I fought hard to protect that dream. I practiced and practiced and practiced, never advancing past 5th chair no matter how hard I tried. I just wasn't good enough. I couldn't meet my self imposed standards. I began to play less and less, eventually putting it away for good. Why? I have absolutely no idea. I really don't. A college scholarship for playing the violin is awesome. Why couldn't I see that? 5th chair in an orchestra full of musicians far more privileged and experienced than me is pretty awesome too. Why couldn't I see that? I threw away an incredibly good thing for nothing.
I yearn to feel those vibrations under my chin again, but I am so afraid too. It doesn't take much to feed my self hatred. If I am not sublime at something, I become painfully obsessed with it, throwing all of myself into learning and improving. I work desperately hard, attacking myself when I can't meet my impossible standards. I beat the crap out of myself. I tear myself down so much it becomes nearly impossible to get back up again. It becomes too arduous and exhausting and I am eventually defeated. Defeated and heartbroken. I hate this about myself. I don't know how to change it. I talk about it in therapy a lot. It deprives me of quite a lot in life. It is paralyzing. It keeps me from things I love. It keeps me from accomplishing anything in life.
I am taking that little black case off the top shelf in the back of my closet, cracking it open and saying hello to a long lost friend. Hopefully it doesn't kill me when I can barely squeak out Mary Had a Little Lamb or worse-- Hot Crust Buns.