Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wrong note.

It is funny. More than 30 years after high school, I can still feel the shame and humiliation of being the least popular person in the school.  I really wish that certain situations were as quick to bring back good feelings as bad experiences are able to bring back feelings of loneliness, unworthiness, friendlessness..........

It is amazing to me how I allow myself to feel like an outsider.  I am an outsider.  I'm odd. I definitely don't fit in with most people.  But church?  I play the piano.  I'm not good at it but in a pinch, if I mess up, I'm able to pick out a recognizable tune with one finger.  Enough so that every one can keep singing because for some reason, even when I have my foot on the damper, you can oftn hear the piano over the organ.

It is true that sometimes I sit a little off on the bench and my fingers don't exactly line up where I am accustomed to them being and as a result, hit the wrong notes.  Because I can't see from the book to the keys, I play by feel.  My son and his buddy sit very, very close to where the piano is.  AndI can hear them laughing.  It is like my worst nightmare come true.  Flashback to nearly 40 years ago when I totally messed up playing the piano for a Christmas concert at our church and the humiliation I've felt ever since.  People don't think that it hurts when they laugh but it does.  I can't laugh it off. I can't shrug it off.  I feel like a failure.  Just because I'm an adult and should know better, I can't really make myself not let it bother me.  And it does bother me, which compounds my nervousness for the next time I have to play.

And then I remember the time that I laughed at a friend who sang in front of our church.  I was 16 at the time.  And she was incredibly off key.  And I laughed to myself but thank goodness I got up and left before anyone else could have guessed that I was laughing.  So I guess I deserve it.  But thinking back, I was really nervous for her. I was mortified that someone else was going to notice which really made me laugh.  I think she was incredibly brave for offering that part of herself.

So I'm a little bit sensitive.  But it hurts.  I don't want to be seen as someone who can't hit a right note.  Because at home I am able to play the piano.


Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

OMG good for you for offering your music to your church! I used to do this, now I am too uncomfortable around crowds of people to even GO to church. I have to say, thank goodness I always had a few people around to compliment me and calm my nerves, because like you I never felt "good enough". What kept me going for years was the notion that I was really playing for Him... hope you feel that way too!

Lesa said...

You may be "odd" (like me) but we're also very interesting, don't you think? May I compare embarrassing public moments as kids? I played the violin in elementary school and, when it was time of the annual concert, I was so nervous I don't think my bow hit the instrument all the way through. I thought I was doing well at pretending to play but, after the concert, the principal said to me, "I don't believe I heard you play tonight." The principal! Oh, the humiliation! And you don't even want to know how badly I messed up my part in the senior class play. Now I can laugh, o.k., chuckle slightly, smile wanly, but it's taken eons!

Lisa said...

I read this and hear myself! Different is good we are unique individuals! I have never went to a reunion because I have nothing in common with most of them. I graduated early and when they were walking across a stage I was in Navy Boot Camp!