Monday, June 20, 2011

Keyboard Lessons

I was playing my keyboard the other day. Playing like I always do. Timidly, carefully. Second guessing myself. Refusing to trust these fingers that had played the same tune so many times before. These fingers that knew exactly where they were meant to be. Instead I held them back, refusing to let myself be in the moment. Refusing to feel the music. To live it. And there I sat, terrified of making a mistake. But my second guessing, my timidness, leads me to miss keys; my fingers slipping and stumbling, tripping over the music. But I’m playing so quietly that it’s impossible to hear anyway.

And so I took a breath. Felt the moment. And realised that I am tired of this timidness. I know what to do. I know where I am supposed to be. But I am so worried about making mistakes that I hold back. I go through everything as quietly as can be, trying not to make too much noise. Because what if I make a mistake, and everyone can hear?

But when I took that breath, I relaxed. And I played. Without worry. Without embarrassment. As loudly as I could. Don’t get me wrong, there were still mistakes. Loud ones. I basked in the cacophony of missed notes and poor timing. Of things not working out exactly the way I had planned. Because the music between those mistakes was worth it. It was perfectly flawed. It soared through the room, filling every corner. My timing was off. I know I missed numerous pauses. I played loudly when it was meant to be soft, and softly when it was meant to be loud. But I played from the heart. I let pieces of myself fill the air, and I wasn’t ashamed that everyone could see them. I wasn’t ashamed of my mistakes.

That’s how I want to live. I want to own my mistakes and the beautifully flawed music between them. The music that no one could replicate, even if the notes were in front of them. Just as I could never replicate theirs.

I don’t want to be timid; slipping and stumbling through life. Trying not be noticed. I want to soar. I want to create. I want to charge through life and follow my heart. I want to play my own tune as loudly as I can, mistakes and all.

And I want the world to hear it.

28 comments:

iris said...

"Managing Yourself: The Paradox of Excellence" from the Harvard Business Review looks like it might be relevant here.

It's difficult to be the best when you're held back by a fear of mistakes.

ellie's desk said...

Well..its all a journey. And I think if you embrace what you enjoy..that's all that matters. So great that you are spending some time with your self and exploring your creativity!

lucy and sarah said...

I've never learned to read music. And I wish I had enough sense to do it. I just have flashbacks of a horrible piano teacher I had. Always slapping my fingers when I hit the wrong key.

So I don't even try to play the keyboard. See, you've taken the first step. Trust yourself. I know you can do it.

SJ said...

I was going to write something else and then realise that it was all very cliche and obvious and you already knew it anyway because you wouldn't be happy to make mistakes if you didn't :)

So, go forth, make lots of mistakes and enjoy the results of learning from them!

The Book Florist said...

I think that I might have reached the exact opposite destination on the scale - where I want people to know what I am, to the extent of even sounding a bit desperate. I suppose, though, that that happens when you're only passionate about one thing (reading), and everyone talks about it without including you. Ah well. It's certainly a long process.

I wish you all the best of luck with your endeavours.

And by the way, I am hugely excited for the start of next year when the movie of The Great Gatsby comes out! It will be great, because it's a Baz Luhrman and Leonardo DiCaprio number, and they could make anything brilliant. Fitzgerald is definitely one of the most wonderful writers I have ever 'met'!

Take care.

Kari said...

Okay, that was seriously the most well-written post I have ever read. And with such a beautiful message. I am in awe.

The Book Florist said...

Thankyou for your offer, but to be completely frank, it's not really one of the books I was planning to read these holidays. I don't usually read modern books, you see, just in general. However, on a much more cheerful note, I would be honoured to write something some time for you, when a book comes up that I've read or would like to read. I will keep an eye on what you're reading and I would just love to share my favourites with you. What do you plan to read next?

Ps. I really apprciate what you said about my writing. Thankyou for your offer and your encouragement.

demie said...

you created a beautiful, really beautiful metaphore... and one can feel the passion. the passion of being extreemly young and powerful. i wish with all my heart that you `ll play your own tune, loud and clear. and i wish the world will hear it : ) love from norway

Katie said...

I had an orchestra director who said that if you're going to make a mistake, make it a loud one! He would also make fun of our faces when we made one. The scrunched up, disgusted kind of face. I think anyone who plays an instrument knows exactly what you're going through!

Magdalena Viktoria said...

"I don’t want to be timid; slipping and stumbling through life. Trying not be noticed. I want to soar. I want to create. I want to charge through life and follow my heart. I want to play my own tune as loudly as I can, mistakes and all.

And I want the world to hear it".

Perfectly said. Beautifully written.

Ann said...

What a nice post...
It is always best to know who we are and what we want in life,
after that it becomes easier to go after what we want or who we want to be.

Have a wonderful week ahead ♥

Lipsy said...

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becky said...

This is one of my favourite posts of yours--it is outstanding. It so perfectly sums up how I feel about--well, about everything. And because I feel the same, I know, wholeheartedly, the perfection of how you've phrased it. You're so wise! xx

Eleanor said...

i want to live like that too. beautiful piece of writing!!! xxxx

Kelly said...

I have learned that, generally, you're the only one who hears the mistakes you make. It applies to so many aspects of life, but music is just a perfect example. I'll stumble through a chorus, apologize, and no one will have even noticed. Play loudly, girl. :)

keishua said...

I agree. There is no reason to go through life slumping. I have learned what will happen will happen and you might as well make it as fun as possible.
The other day, I took out my guitar and started practicing. It was out of tune but felt good.

amy b.s. said...

what a great post. enjoy the journey.

Ashley said...

This is beautifully written :)

I totally can sympathize with this. My friend gave me an IQ test months ago (she's a therapist going to school). I did very well in the verbal area of the test. But when it came to performance (puzzles, blocks, etc.) I did poorly...always because I second-guessed. She said I would build the right puzzle, look at it, then tear it down and build it the wrong way. It brought by whole IQ score to average rather than above average...which is no biggie, but it taught a lesson.

I decided from that moment that I would stop second-guessing so much, and just go with the flow more. And I have been actually :)

Bonnie said...

I have the same experience with Guitar Hero.

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Twitter: @GlamKitten88

kimbirdy said...

yes! i want to live life without being timid too. that was something i was really good at when i was young, but somewhere in my journey to adulthood i lost my fearlessness. i struggle with this in so many areas of my life. lately i've been changing this thinking by reminding myself that i shouldn't be perfect. i should make mistakes and fail, because these are good things, not to be avoided. focusing on what i call "failure" as an important part of life has helped me be more willing to experience it. it's still hard, but i'm slowly getting there. thanks for sharing this!

Anna said...

Totally know what you mean. Is this a thing that lots of women do? I'm always conscious of it when I'm hand writing and I look back at what I've written and I want to rewrite it better, neater. It's such a strong urge that it takes practice to say sod it, that's awesome the way it is.
XXX

christine donee said...

leave the timidness behind and go for it!

AquĆ­ said...

oh I bet it felt good! Really liberating to just play it all out!! I've never stuck with an instrument long enough to actually be able to play it...

Deidre said...

We're listening :)

Deidre said...

Sidenote- this is how I feel about writing. what's grammar and typos when creating the image via words is the important thing?

Ashley said...

I think it's the best resolution anyone can ever make: to not hold themself back out of fear. I'm so happy for you! xx

Krystal said...

i think reading this made me more relaxed..thanks for writing it :)

Jeni said...

What a great post! I love the idea of "charging" through life to your own tune, it's such a positive outlook which I wish was simple to action :)

First time on your blog but I'll be coming back!