Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On filters and juries

I have to keep going. I must, I must.

I had two ideas about filters today:

The first is that my affective filter is very high right now. I don't want to do anything. Therefore I can't do anything. My body hurts and my brain hurts, and somewhere out there people think I'm great and will pull strings to get me jobs. (My supervisor and mentor teacher told me this today.) Mentally, sure, I think that's possible. But my affective filter is so high right now I really cannot see anything about myself that is good. And then my other brain, the looking-glass self (I really should have been a psyche major) says, "God, you're such a whiner. Nothing is that bad that you have to cry about it. Just get the work done. Not everyone needs to know every problem you have."

My affective filter is so high that I can't be happy about anything having to do with school. Or the music department. All I can think about is how my music life is taking away time that could be spent on school work. And here I am writing a blog.

The other filter idea is that my verbal one is lowered. I am so low emotionally, and so tired physically, that I can't stop myself from saying every negative and ill-representing thing that pops into my brain.

Exhibit A: Today's brass jury.

Professor: What will you be starting with, the orchestral excerpt or the etude.
Me: I'll start with the excerpt, because I'll just get all the crappy out at once.

Why would I say that? These are very nice brass professors who are evaluating my playing. Why would I set that precedent before they even hear me in my jury? I felt bad about it immediately. But it happened. And I couldn't stop it.

I played beautifully, by the way. Except for the very last, most musically interesting line of the etude. I just wanted it to be over. Or I just wanted to play more. I couldn't just let the music happen, I was thinking way too much. So I messed up every single note. I just can't be too good. Gotta mess it all up somehow.

I wonder if the end of my life will be like that. I'll shape up into a beautiful old woman, who enjoyed a fulfilling career where she touched the hearts of thousands of young musicians, and raised a wonderful family with nice kids and lots of pets. And then she realized she was just gonna die anyway, so she started fucking up every way she could. And then it was over, and just like music, all people really remembered were the beginning and the end, except by that time she was old so nobody who was around for the beginning was still around. So everyone remembered the end where she fucked up.

That would be an ironic fate, indeed.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Not gonna lie, I really hate right now. I'm so fucking lonely. I just want all of my hard work to be worth it. I want another person who can appreciate my papers and my lessons. I want financial aid to believe me when I say I swear I don't see any of the money my mom reported on her taxes. I want to have a paycheck and actually feel like I have money until I spend it. I want another music credential candidate to commiserate with and compare unit plans and work together and be my partner in the potluck final project.

I really wish I didn't feel like I were working toward something imaginary. I want to matter in the world. I want to go to parties on the weekends and make friends and maintain my current friendships. I don't even know how to really be someone's friend. I wish I knew how to be in a relationship. I wish someone out there could know what they're missing by missing out on me.

I hate all of the music majors who talk about grad school. Why don't you spend the money you don't have on something that matters? Why don't you study ways you can help to fix the world instead of trying to preserve the incredibly delicate and closed-off elitist bubble that is the academic music world?

I hate that I can't go home. I hate that there is no real home. And I hate how ugly I look for almost an hour after I cry.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Laundry day post

It's Thanksgiving break, finally. My plans? None. What am I doing all day for nine days? I don't know. Yesterday I impulsively decided to play trumpet in the pep band for a basketball game. Apparently I wasn't the only one to make this impulsive decision. One of my friends from brass band, whom I had known before because we'd played in this pep band forever ago together and have both actually been the respective leaders of it once upon a time, showed up as well.

"How long has it been since your last gig?" I asked him at one point, about playing in this particular group. "I don't think I've played one in about a year."

"I don't even know," he said. "Oh wait! I played at a football game a few months ago."

So there we were, playing together like old times. Once upon a time, I had a crush on this guy. My soul would smile a sheepish grin every time he complimented my tone. Then he went to Europe for awhile, and I moved on, and had a slightly more substantial crush on the trumpet player I played next to in brass band last year, the subject of a few posts ago. (Me and trumpet players! I don't know!) Then, this semester, the subject of a few posts ago was occupied in that hour, and this first guy was sitting next to me. At first I was a little disappointed--I'd built up a great friendship with the other guy, and really liked playing next to him because he was nice and we were always in tune.

But then, during the concert, I remembered why I had liked playing with my friend (dude #1) so much in the past. We don't just play in tune. We play in tone. We blend together like no other. And we both appreciate each other for that so much. The other guy, yes, we sounded good together as well. And he appreciated my sound, yes, and I appreciated his. But he didn't need me as much. The first one and I, we complete each other.

I was feeling that last night at the game. And so was he. "I'm so glad I get to play next to you!" he would say. "I'm so glad I get to play next to you!" I would reply.

He told me his mom saw me at the brass band concert and asked, "Who's that pretty girl next to you?" I smiled. He said his mom asks about me when she calls now. Our other friend said, "She's shopping for a daughter-in-law!" I didn't know how to react, because I don't always feel platonically for this guy. I just nervously laughed. I don't know what knowing that someone's mom thinks I'm pretty means. Should I be grateful that someone does? Why does that matter? Why would he choose to share that with me if he didn't agree?

All I want is to share a connection with someone who appreciates my mind and loves me for it. And if they think I'm pretty, that's cool too. I really wish I were closer to this person. We always have a great time together, and appreciate each other's ways of being. And we're so musically connected. How can we ignore that?


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pros and Cons of the Week So Far

  • Got a 30/30 on my ELL student/site profile. That's good. I agree that it was amazing work. I'm glad it paid off.
  • Got a new bed yesterday. It's really high up and comfy. I slept so well last night. It's amazing what raising the elevation of your sleeping area does. And it's so big!
  • I talked to my dad yesterday.
  • I talked to my mom yesterday, too.
  • My friend (subject of last blog) gave me a really nice hug yesterday. He smells like rain. We watched fun French music videos after.
  • I played some amazing brass music (the Pinkham Christmas Cantata).
  • I found out that I still remember how to play trombone, and I led a trombone sectional at my school site.
  • I got a free muffin because my friend works at the bagel place.
  • Got a 1/3 on my first Service Learning log. I was looking at the rubric the whole time I was writing it. I know I had a few things that were a 3. Can't we just have an average? I thought. I cried for hours.
  • My cat still has fleas. I wish it would get better.
  • The reason I talked to both of my parents last night is because my sister tried to commit suicide. Not implied it...not faking. She really tried. I don't know what to think about this.
  • That's also the reason my friend gave me a hug.
  • I was late to the Pinkham cantata rehearsal. I thought it was at 8, and it turns out there was a 7:00 rehearsal for brass only. I ran in, totally confused, totally ashamed and embarrassed that I had gotten the time wrong.
  • Content Area Literacy is a ridiculous class, in which we were just assigned a group project, in groups organized by content area. Too bad I'm the only person in my content area. The sad part is, I know it's an important class. The teacher is just really terrible.
  • I took one bite of the muffin and felt something hard between my teeth. It was really, really hard, so I spit it out. I found bits of glass in my hand. I showed my friend. He said he'll tell the bakers about it. I said he should probably get rid of the other muffin, and he agreed and did so. Good thing I didn't have to pay for it. And good thing I chew my food. This is obviously a sign that I should eat fewer muffins.
It's a beautiful afternoon and I don't really know what to do with myself. I think I'll go for a walk downtown, and think about buying things, but not actually buy anything because I have no money.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Brain, the "What-if" Machine

So, I had a giant crush on this friend of mine for a little less than a year. I don't really want to get super specific, but I met him in the beginning of last year, thought it was weird that we'd been in a similar vicinity for over four years and never met, but we became fast friends. Blah blah, I liked him, blah. One time, relatively recently, he made a comment to me that rubbed me kind of the wrong way about constantly being single. Something about, "I only dated girls that were desperate." Later, when I got home, I called him kind of offended after letting it sink in for a few minutes. "What do you mean by desperate? What does that mean?" I asked. He said that was only when he dated, and he hasn't dated in years, and he tried to last year but the woman ended up having two other boyfriends. (He never actually explained what "desperate" meant, but he may have been embarrassed to elaborate.)

I told him that it really wasn't fair to complain about your lack of a dating life to someone who even more severely lacks a dating life. And, in my mind, I added "to a person who has liked you more intensely and for more substantial reasons than she's ever liked anyone." We talked about our lack of dating life together, and I said something like, "Yeah, the only non-gay, single guy I know is...I think you." He completely ignored this inference I was trying to make. He said, "Well, and I'm an old man anyway." Totally not true. Yes, 13 years is a noticeable age difference. But 40 years ago, a gap like that was normal. I don't see him as too old for me at all.

But something in that comment flipped the switch. He didn't count me as a person eligible for him to be in a relationship with. And suddenly it was over. We talked for a half hour after that, about everything. It was a relief that those feelings were gone. I felt like I could finally be his friend for real.

Over the course of this weekend, though, my switch has been weakening. I think I may be starting to feel things for him again. This is made obvious by the dream I had last night--

I dreamed I was pregnant. (Yes, another pregnant dream...these come and go in phases.) I don't know who was the father of my pregnant dream-baby, but I rushed over to my friend's house, panicked. I started crying. I had no idea what to do.

He took my hand and said, "You know what this means, right?" I said no. "It means, we have to move in together. I will not let you go through this alone." I was stunned. "You would really do that for me?" I asked. He said, "I have to. You're the second most important person in my life" ("Who's the first?" I wondered later. "His cat?") "and your baby needs to have two parents." I agreed. Then the weird part came: "We have to leave here, though. We need to go to Missouri." (What the fuck is in Missouri? That's weird.) I said, "That's fine, I think. I can't believe you're being so nice to me." Then my cat, in real life, howled her 7:00 howl and my dream ended.

Here's the bizarre part. You know when you're really into a dream, and you wake up and kind of consider how different life would be if the dream were real? I would have been okay with those circumstances. If I were somehow made preggo, and my friend offered to take care of me and give my baby an opportunity for a somewhat normal life, I may be happy. As I started my day I thought about how that could work...we could just be friends living together, then fall in love eventually or fall in love with someone else and move elsewhere and still be friends. I like that.

That wouldn't likely be the case, though. I would never let myself get close to that unless I were really close to the guy.

I wonder if he could ever get past the age difference. I don't think it's even nearly as substantial as our friendship.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

On brass and self-esteem

It is so hard to write a paper when my sources are in textbooks, sheets of other paper, notes from lectures, and online. I'm stuck on the type of L1 assessment used with my case study student for my ELD student/site profile. I can't find the sheet that says what kinds were available. Wah. Why is teacher school so hard? The actual work, the papers, the assignments are nothing. The means of doing them is so frustrating. Turn it in online, print it out, you can hand-write this one, e-mail your partner and print it to turn it in. Not everyone has Internet in their friggen house! I am in the library which is usually an amazing place to get work done, but it's freezing in here. Wahhh!

Last night was amazing. The Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra had their split mid-semester concert. After nine semesters of playing in Symphonic Band, it was so nice to just sit in the audience and watch. I remember being so stressed out playing those things, thinking, "I'm out of tune! The section isn't blending! We're all out of tune! The piccolo is flat! Everyone's gonna notice!" But watching the group was amazing. It sounded so good!

I played for three of the six jazz orchestra charts, which I realize now is not a good distribution because I can only make one out of the four hours of rehearsal. That's okay, it was fun. And my trumpet professor finally saw it! He never sees the jazz orchestra concerts! Backstage, he said, "Yay trumpets! What good tones!" It made me happy.

And the after party was the first party I'd been to in a long time where I really had a good time. It's because there were so many trumpet players around, and so many nice band people and friends. It was also a birthday party for the three guys who live in that house, and there was a cake with a happy-looking caterpillar. Some of the younger guys said to me, "Stephy! You make me so happy! You are like that caterpillar--if you were a caterpillar, you'd be that caterpillar!"

Then I turned to an older friend (who I used to kind of have a crush on, who plays trumpet next to me in brass band) and said, "Those guys think I'm that caterpillar. Isn't that silly?" And he shook his head and said, "Stephy. You're a butterfly." I smiled and he said, "You don't give yourself enough credit! You're a fucking woodwind player who plays first cornet with those guys"--he pointed to the top trumpet players at the school--"and me. And you know what? I'm so honored I get to play next to you."

I sure wish I could find my list of the nicest things people have ever said to me, because that would make it. Also, earlier in the day, I was walking to the Farmer's Market and a random guy leaning by a wall said to me, "That's a great smile. You've just made my day better."

Yesterday was a good day for my self-esteem. Now I think I should move out of the library and try to do some of this work on paper. I may just be a successful human being yet.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh My Goodness!

I remembered my password. What do I write about? I'm sleep-deprived.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I'm finally starting to feel okay about myself again. Took me long enough. I was worried about my recital because it was going to be in two weeks and my face hasn't healed all the way yet from getting wisdom teeth out, and there I sat in my clarinet lesson thinking about it and I started crying in front of my teacher. There's no way I can be ready in two weeks, I realized. I didn't think my teeth would take so long to feel normal again. I'd never feel good about my recital unless I knew for sure that it would truly represent how good I can be as a musician.

He went to the office and changed the date to a month later (the last day of finals week), and everything felt better. Everything. Then I realized that there really is so much going right in my life, and I'll be okay. My classwork is going awesome. I just got accepted into the teaching credential program. I'm making really good money for also being a full-time student. My body is super sexy, not in a model way, but just in a healthy and decent-looking in a bikini way. My cat is incredibly sweet, my friends are super nice--and I've met someone who laughs at every joke I make, who makes me feel so good when I'm around him that I just want to be around him all day, every day. I've known him for a few months, and just now is it starting to dawn on me that he might possibly feel just as good when we spend time together as I do.

And guess what. Because my recital is the day before commencement, both of my parents can see me both play my recital and graduate. I am so relieved. I would have probably cried if my mom didn't see me play, or if my dad didn't come to my graduation. I miss them so much. I miss my family being together so much, but having both of my parents with me on my two biggest days will be as good as it can get, and I'm okay with that.

I can't even take it. It's such an intense relief to finally feel like I'm in control again.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

My kitty is missing. I can't believe life won't even let me feel okay for just 24 hours.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Every time I think about who I am or how I am, I start crying. I hate it so much. Nothing in my life is really that bad. I don't deserve to feel this way. The burning loneliness is the only reason for it. I miss having roommates. I wasn't ready for them to just up and leave. I kind of needed them to distract me from me. Now I don't have any distractions, just constant reminders of how I'm not "as good as I should be." I hate that I'm punished for having ability.

I want to go home for spring break and not come back. Except now my house is gone, too. I feel like that's my fault. I feel like every problem I'm having in my life is my fault. Most of them are, I know. What hurts the most is what other people have invested in me. I'm so sorry I failed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sick Today

Dear nose,

Please stop producing a consistent river of snot. And stop hurting because I only brought three tissues to school, used them within the first hour of being there, and had to use toilet paper the rest of the day. And for Pete's sake, just sneeze when you have to! None of this feeling like it might happen, and then having one watery eye instead thing. That's even more awkward. And frustrating. Because I want that snot out.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

I've been pushed pretty close before, but I don't think I've ever felt so buried. So much is on my mind. I wish only a few things were. I felt trapped for a little bit, but I'm working through it. I can see how some things, maybe most things or even everything, won't fail.

Nobody else is in this situation. It's my own damn fault and it's lonely. I can't think of a night I didn't lie in bed for at least an hour, thinking about how to fill the few gaps in my schedule wisely. In the end, I can't be confined to X-amount of hours. I need a day or two, but I don't have very many of those, either.

Most minutes of most days are spent doing useful things, but in the end there are more things to do the next day. I refuse to study at home. I'm doing extra well in my classes, probably because I'm doing extra awful at being a functioning human being. I crave a real, consistent practice regime. It's not there and my playing is suffering for it and it hurts. I hate how ugly I look when I cry. I can't wait for summer. I'd love to someday have some daylight when my day is over. I'm excited for when I can write a cohesive set of thoughts at my leisure.