Wherever you are is called Here
And you must treat it
As a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
—“Lost”, by David Wagoner
Today is hard. I do not like where I am on this path of violin-ing. It’s painful–the callouses, long hours, trying to restore what has been lost through the passing of time and a different focus. I am a mother of four and doing violin alongside that is difficult in those baby years. That is for an entirely different post.
For now, I am diligently practicing, knowing that consistency always yields results. I know I have felt moments of victory as elements of my playing return, and are better. The runs and trills have moments of brilliancy; the chords fill out with a rich sound or fiery power. Ah, but mostly? Mostly I feel inadequate and ashamed. What on earth do I think I am doing trying to master my instrument? Who am I to think I can master something so difficult and so expressive? And should I really want to expose myself to so much heartache and difficulty? To what end?
I should go read some Brene Brown.
I want to be one with that violin–she feels pretty distant today. We are supposed to be intimate friends. We used to be. I have felt the need to build on my skill, to add to it, to magnify it so that I can become all that I am supposed to be. I’m talking eternal destiny, divine nature, individual worth. My calling in life. Part of that process is pain and self doubt. And it hurts. It can be crippling.
As I write today, I am trying to recall feeling joy in the level of mastery I used to know. There have been times of utter gratitude for accomplishment and the beauty of being a violinist. My graduate recital comes to mind. I was eight months pregnant with my third child (gasp! seriously), and performed a Beethoven Sonata, Haydn Concerto, and Bach Partita. The stage lights were so bright I couldn’t see the audience and wondered if anyone had come aside from my husband. As I drew the final note, and exhaled, the hall erupted in applause and I was overcome with emotion. It had been so much work, so many lessons, so many hard days to get to that point of being able to express part of my heart. It was an incredible feeling that I needed to get me through my oral exams and dissertation that still awaited me.
I sense that most of the days will be struggles in the violin world. It is a work of the heart and soul. If it really matters, then it will be a struggle. And if it is a struggle, then the vistas, crests, and even plateaus will feel all the more exhilarating.
For now, I am HERE. No matter how painful and full of self doubt today is, this is where I am on this path. Somewhere ahead there will be a victory day. I anticipate there will be many more painful days like this ahead, as there has been in the past, so I need to get comfortable with the discomfort. Solidify my goals and purpose, and carry on.