Friday, July 6, 2012

Lost Time

It's so easy for me to put things on the back burner in my life. Even if they are important to me.

It's what I've done with playing the piano. Off and on lessons since I was six, a whole year of lessons in college, some months in grad school... and now I'm in group lessons. Am I any good? I wouldn't say so. Which is what frustrated me. And why it is easy for me to put practicing on the back burner. I mean, I'm never going to be a prodigy pianist and I'll probably never wow anyone with my skills with Tchaikovsky. But... I miss playing. Which is why I'm taking lessons again. And while my longing to play might stem from nostalgic memories of Mrs. Potter's home recitals, that longing is still there. Now that I'm taking classes again, I still probably don't practice as much as I should though. Having a roommate made me nervous to play and make mistakes in her presence. And even making mistakes on my own is frustrating and I feel angry and ashamed that I'm not doing better, that I'm not further along. Which is silly, considering if I didn't practice, I'd have to face the rest of my class and be ashamed that I'm the only one who is still making mistakes. If I don't practice today, I'll be just as ashamed, if not more, tomorrow.

I miss singing, too. Growing up with my dad as my pastor meant that my siblings and I were pretty involved in the church. Our biggest contribution was probably through music. My sisters and I sang a lot in church. And at some point led the children's choir and youth choir. We once were a part of a "group" and we'd perform at summer camp, or for every graduation, anniversary, or holiday party thrown. Outside of church, I was in choir. Definitely wasn't the star in the classical trained world of high school choir. But it was fun. I loved it. In college, I went for gospel choir... which was interesting since African and African-American are not synonymous and I was culturally a fish out of water. Again, no star, but had a blast. The biggest problem, I realized, was that I'm painfully self-conscious. With church, I was a shoo-in. I wasn't being judged or compared to others. I felt no pressure to impress. Outside of church that pressure crushed me. I remember Todrick forcing me to audition for Sound of Music and Godspell in high school. My name wouldn't have been on the audition list without him. And post-college, having to audition for praise teams at churches scared the crap out of me. I just wanted to worship... and even though I know I'm good, having to prove it suddenly makes me doubt that. So within the last few years, I've more or less stopped singing. Which is silly. And which sucks. Cause sometimes it actually hurts to listen to other people pour their hearts in song, while I stay mute and hiding.

Writing is another thing I've put on the back burner. Stories have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. From the paper dolls my oldest sister used to draw out for us so we could play our very elaborate version of "Life," to my cousins, sisters and I acting as "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago?"-esque detectives as we sought to capture Mad Mr. Moody-Doody. We'd type up stories on the computer, and once we even wrote out a fairytale that my sister illustrated. I've begun countless stories on my own, and unless they were for class, they have almost all been left unfinished. Which isn't necessarily a problem... until I began hiding behind school and being "too busy" to write. Not busy enough to edit other people's work and provide detail feedback, but somehow too busy to give my own stuff a chance. As much as I love reading and love editing... I used to love writing just as much, if not more. And that's a love I've definitely placed on the back burner. I'll be the first to admit that I don't write out of fear. But as one of my cousins once told me... if I never put myself out there, how will anyone be be able to tell me if I'm any good or not?

I may have wasted a lot of time on both of these things. And that time will forever be lost. But that doesn't mean the talent, the drive, the desire has to be lost. Or, at least, I've decided I won't let it.

I plan to make up for all that lost time.

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