Archive for August, 2013

Pressure

by on Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

It happens to everyone eventually. Some life event comes along and makes you question the direction you are going. Recently, a dear friend of mine found out he has cancer. That’s a big one. Its the kind of thing that directs you backwards. “What have I done? Was it enough? Was I good or bad? What really matters.” And then it directs you forwards too. “What do I need to do? Do I need to make changes? Have I done everything I want to do? What would make me happy? What really matters?”

It’s so funny how my life has “played” out. (ref. playing music)  I cannot compare the recent development in my life to finding out you have cancer. Obviously. Check previous posts: In ‘Recital Season’ I wrote about my anxiety as a performer, I suppose in several others, I’ve written about it even more. The theme to my life is and always has been, “Performance Anxiety”. And yet…

If this works out, if I do get the pianos, I am receiving the most wonderful gift in the world. I will cherish them always. What does it mean? This is the event that has me questioning where I’ve come from and where I’m going. “What have I done?” and “What will become of me?”

The question that has been bothering me the most is “How do I live up to it? How do I live up to her standards? how do I honor her back with this gift?” I was telling a friend about the pianos and the sad reasons why they are coming to me now, and he said that he thought I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. I guess I am. Pressure to be my best. Pressure to do my best at the piano and in life. But what does that mean? Does it mean that all the work I’ve been doing over the last year to drop all that stuff and negativity about who I thought I was is worth nothing? All the work I’ve been doing to become the person I want to be (writing novels, Bujinkan training) is it negated now? Do I have to become something else? Do I want to become someone else?

Perhaps the universe is rewarding me? Or perhaps it is punishing me. Either are likely, I just wish I could go back to the person I was becoming last week and stay with her for a while longer. But change is the nature of life. I think I can live with this new me and still become the person I was trying to become. And something more. Someone greater. It will be a process of course. Am I putting pressure on myself? Yes. Because I want to live up to those expectations. Change is never easy. But I want to become someone greater. And I will. The pressure is on.

Humility

by on Monday, August 12th, 2013

Be careful what you wish for…A lesson I’ve seen and heard about. Some times the results are humerus, or God forbid, painful.  The lesson for me this time was an honor, bestowed heavily on my conscience. A responsibility so great that I fear I will never live up to it.

For many years I have burned with jealousy and bitterness that my grandmother didn’t have enough faith in me to pass along her pianos to me. She willed them to an institution which has in the past few years shown her so little respect after she has gifted them hundreds of thousands of dollars, and supported their programs for Choirs and Symphony with donations like a concert grand Steinway piano: a gift which they thanked her for by scheduling the grand unveiling of it while she was away on vacation.  The way they treated her, showing so little respect, has made me very angry. I could not believe that she still held out hope that they would honor her gift, a rare pair of matched Steinway Grand Pianos, and treat them with any kind of respect that honored her last wishes.

Finally this summer, she has had it with them and their disrespect. They refused to let the APA program director use a room with a piano to celebrate her 95th birthday. They wanted to charge $1500 to her. My mom and her sister were irate over this. After all my grandmother had done for them, they refused this one small concession, a room for two hours.

No one wanted them to receive that gift any more. Not my mom, not my aunt, and especially not me.

I was shocked and stunned at how quickly she changed her mind over it. With the speed and quickness that had me reeling on the floor, my grandmother told me that I would be inheriting those two pianos. Shock followed. Gratefulness. Tears. I had always thought I wanted them. I can’t remember not wanting them, and I can’t even remember not feeling bitter. That she didn’t think I could handle them or take care of them the way she wanted. That she didn’t want me to have them. That I didn’t live up to her standards.

Since they can’t really be separated, she wants them to go to one person. Now, that person is me.

I am honored. I am grateful. I’m humbled into speechlessness.  I can only hope that I live up to it. Be careful what you ask for…