02 February 2010

Tiny Bubble

I just want....

...my space. You know? I just put up with all kinds of people all day long and I have to chock away the urge to internalize it all--the general increase in societal rudeness, the general public disregard (whatever happened to the simple joy of human interaction?), my personal judgments (analyses) of where 'those' comments come from, 'those' attitudes. Then I try to prioritize, stay focused, positive, even upbeat, and be the comic relief so that there is some distraction from the daily mundane. I realize that I am being critical and try to "just not think" about any of it, go out for my break, have a smoke, and clear my head. But then a coworker's comment or passing misunderstanding will agitate something new and I'm left to battle a part of who I am to overcome my pettiness.

The fact is, I'm just a critical person. And it, for a lack of a better word, wounds me to admit it as much as it does to be it. For whatever optimism I am trying to impart on my daughters and pull for the world, it's almost as if it is lost on myself and I don't know how to just... change it. To just be different, as in, better. I bank on trying to bring my daughters up to be better than me. But it doesn't say much for where I'm at in the game. And so then I get stuck right there, spinning out on the thought that I need to lead by example, yet struggle with letting go of things, and therefore come up with nothing to get me unstuck. Except for maybe needing to understand why I am so critical, which would require letting go of a WHOLE lot of other shit, and might be something I considering figuring out right after posting this.

At any rate, by the end of the day it seems lately, I am peopled out and I bury myself in my laptop, and I find that what I am motioning through now partly resembles the motions of yore--when I was sitting alone six and seven months pregnant with my oldest in a bare-walled apartment, considering doing my homework and doing something of substantial value, but doing nothing in the end and staring at the antenna TV until I couldn't keep my eyes open. This behavior astonishes me on some level because not only has it been eons since those self-pitying prego moments, but I don't think I even resemble that same girl. The things that happened back then and the circumstances surrounding them are not even remotely the same.

And... I know how to search out my happiness besides there being a whole host of other blissfully good distractions in my life: my kids, my husband, my music. It's just that I can't believe I'm finally acknowledging that I need those moments where I can slip out of the house unnoticed and take a breather on the back deck.

01 February 2010

Never Say Never

You know, some songs just capture that one feeling that is difficult, if not downright impossible, to capture in words or expressions. There are a whole host of these kinds of songs that make up the soundtrack of my life, as I'm sure most other people have, and if anyone knows me, they know that Collective Soul is the majority chunk of that soundtrack.

However, in my adult life, in the true wake of adult pains, pangs, triumphs, and tribulations, there have been few to ever capture the raw, visceral emotions that make up the human experience. The reasons we grow, we learn, smile, or close up, build walls, barriers. It can truly be said that the entire gift of music is that it can tell the story in a way that nothing else can, no matter what side of the scale.

But it isn't just a really emotional hook with empowering chord progressions in a rock song that does it. Many a number of classical pieces and composers have instilled the same raw, visceral, guttural instinct with something as simple as a passing tone in a matching phrase that appeases the cerebellum. Or as multiple layers (polyphony) of perfectly blended sections rise in a crescendo and resolve the aphrodisiac-like dissonance into a brilliantly pleasureful calm. Resolving the tonic from minor to major. The suspense of raised 5th with the sub dominant chord (a characteristically Spanish trait.) Phrases that create mystery and play with dynamic. It all just works together so well in both classical and in rock.

This is why I went into music. Less to teach it--or the technical side of it--than to pass on the vital, integral energy saturated in the soul that only music can bring out. I saw a girl on TV once who masterfully and intensely manipulate the black and white keys of a grand piano as she performed some classical piece (the name of which I wish I knew) on stage. Her stunning evening gown registered nothing in her mind as her wrists and arms were a concentrated flurry of well-executed timing, and she physically moved on the bench as though she were not encumbered by it. I was filled with awe. I remember looking up at my mom, pointing to the Miss America pageant we were watching, and specifically declared that I would "play piano like that some day."

A great many days have come and gone since then, but I recognize that as the moment I knew music was going to be my life. My dad bought my mom an upright piano for their anniversary some time in or around then and I bugged them about lessons almost immediately; and then fought them on having to practice until the plug was almost pulled. If something didn't come easy to me, I didn't want to work on it (a personality trait I would learn to struggle with for the rest of my life.) I changed piano teachers and took lessons for about another two years. All told, I got about three years of lessons in before the last teacher had to quit taking students to run her insurance business. Never took lessons after that, save for the few I'd get at music camp in the summers, never received any formal performing instruction, and along with my limited knowledge of the music world, moved into post-secondary education feeling under qualified and like a small fish in a big pond.

The point is that despite my dismay and reasons for throwing in the towel, by the time I dropped out of school, I got my level 6 proficiency, which would have gotten me into the Upper Division--and qualification to teach instrumental or vocal music--had I stayed, and it did instill, amongst the greater disappointments, a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Since then, my life has changed in epic ways, but I've always had music to lift me up, help me escape, or deal with life. And I will always have those songs, those composers, those pieces to fall back on and be waiting for the next hook.