~ Margaret Mead
|Lifting the Weight||
Image courtesy of akeeris at
“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
~ Margaret Mead
I tried playing the piano today. First I closed all the windows and doors, though, being the considerate neighbor that I am. I was afraid of what deranged sounds might emanate from the keyboard in response to my rusty administrations. It’s been a long time since I last played, and an even greater time since I last played well. Playing the piano is not like riding a bike. You do forget how to do it over time. Or at least I did. I’m really not so sure about the bike riding thing, either, but I’ll test that out some other time.
The first thing I noticed when I sat down at the piano was how all the notes on the music sheets had shrunk in size since the last time I looked. I suppose one could blame that on my eyesight, but that would mean I’m aging or something, heaven forbid.
The second thing I noticed was how doggone many sharps and flats there were in these pieces. And they’re really there for a reason. I tried to ignore them, but somehow the songs just didn’t sound quite right.
And the third thing I noticed was how much I had missed playing. Music has been an integral part of my life from a very young age. My parents pretty much dictated that my siblings and I take piano lessons from the moment we were able to pronounce the word “metronome,” maybe even earlier than that. I didn’t mind so much because, as the youngest child, I wanted to be just like my older brothers and sister. And since they played piano, I wanted to play too. I didn’t realize there was practice involved.
I never got super good at it, but I did get to where I had a certain –albeit it limited – repertoire of songs that I played rather well. Mostly contemporary Christian pieces and Dan Fogelberg tunes. I didn’t exactly conform to the way they were written, though. I apparently felt there weren’t enough notes, so I turned chords into runs, and otherwise mucked up the pieces in a myriad of ways. Whether they sounded better that way or not is highly debatable, but it made the pieces more “mine.” I was able to express something my way.
Self-expression is so important. I commented the other day about writing, but that is only one form of expressing oneself. You can dance or sing or paint or create fly fishing ties or any number of things that let you show who you are, feel who you are, learn who you are. And whether you do so in the darkest corner of your dungeonous basement or perform live at the Met in New York City doesn’t really matter as long as you are doing it for you. (And yes I know, "dungeonous" is not in the dictionary, but hey, I’m expressing myself my way).
Don’t limit yourself by thinking you’re not good enough. If you enjoy it (and it’s safe and it’s legal), I say go for it. You may discover hidden talents or you may discover that you really suck at it. Or you may think you have talent until someone informs you that you suck at it. It’s all good.
I’m off now to practice my latest form of self-expression, photography. I know how to zoom in and zoom out now, and I’ve finally figured out how to turn the camera’s flash off when I want to. Whether I’m producing works of art or just wasting precious pixels, it doesn’t matter. I’m having fun. And that’s part of my new philosophy.
Just a snapshot, you might say.
“I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them.”
― Phyllis Diller
I helped raise two beautiful daughters, and they are the joy of my life. They were very easy to raise. When my youngest daughter wanted a pet, she was easily satisfied with the spider that was hanging out on our back door. When I promised the girls a ten course meal one time, they were thrilled with course number four: a baby carrot with three holes dug into it by a potato peeler into which I inserted three carob chips. Voila! I had created a taste sensation that we named “Three Men in a Boat.” The other 9 courses weren’t much more advanced than course number four, but we had a good time.
At a young age, the girls learned to dress themselves. It didn’t matter to me if they wanted to wear sweat pants in the summer or polka dots with stripes. It was all good. They cringe now when looking at old photos, and accusingly ask me why I ever let them out in public looking like that. Personally, I thought it was cute.
The sad thing about raising my daughters is that there is quite a lot that I just don’t remember. I don’t know if I just naturally have a sieve for a memory, or if I was just in too much of a funk to pay attention a lot of the time. My own childhood is the same for me; very few memories. I truly believe that it was my depression that disabled me from appreciating what was going on in the moment a lot of the time.
For a while, when the girls were young, I wrote a biweekly column for a local newspaper and would tell little stories about the girls and our family life. It was a small paper with a readership of maybe 700. Of course that’s roughly 350% more readers than I have now, but still, no big thing. I saved the articles and have enjoyed rereading them because they help me remember the fun we had. They are my memory. Recently I tried to find the clippings and cannot do so. It will be a great loss to me if I am unable to locate them. I think the need to remember is playing a big part in why I am writing again. I don’t want to lose my memory of my time right now, my time when I am actually happy.
My daughters are still very prominent in my life, and I really don’t think they have much room to talk about how I let them dress as children – not when they, as teenagers, chose to wear Converse sneakers with their prom dresses. (I loved it.) And as adults, I am still very proud of them. How could you not take pride in how you raised your daughters when they grow up to be nicknamed “Mad Dog” and “The Terminator” by their coworkers?
At brain school (outpatient treatment) we were encouraged to journal as part of our therapy. I don’t know that I will ever go back and read those entries. But I think that writing helps us pay attention and be a little more reflective about our lives. It helps us get in touch with ourselves. It doesn’t have to be deep, thank God, and it doesn’t have to be lengthy. It just has to be real. I would encourage anyone and everyone to write. It does the soul good.
For me, it’s been long overdue.
Someone once told me that sound waves don’t diminish in outer space. So if you say something and the sound reaches outer space, it’s just going to go on forever, and a billion years from now someone may be able to hear exactly what you said today. After being told that, I quit talking so much. I didn’t want to interrupt someone’s conversation a billion years from now. Still it was kind of cool to think that I could vocalize a thought that would reverberate throughout space and time ad infinitum.
Then again, there’s that whole quandary about if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it actually make a sound? And in a billion years when all the trees are gone and someone in outer space does hear one falling, will they know what it is?
Do I just sit around and think about these things because I have too much time on my hands? Well, yes and no. What really brought this all to mind was my pondering about the nature of blogging. If I am writing this and no one reads it, does it really matter? And once launched into the universal blogosphere, does it exist ad infinitum? Will someone read this blog a billion years from now and say, “So that’s what that noise was?”
I would like to think that I am writing for someone other than just me. I would like to think that there may be an audience out there that might benefit in some way from what I have to say. If not now, then maybe some time down the road someone will come across this and read about my experiences and my thoughts, and it might make a difference in their life. Or at least amuse them briefly.
In my mind, while this is a personal blog, it’s not totally about me. It’s about living life, at this time, under these conditions. It’s about the experience of it all. It’s not that I think my writing is terribly philosophical and deep (although that whole tree thing was pretty good, I thought). Nor that I think I have – or am conveying – any earthshaking answers to life’s problems. In truth, even my cats walk away when I try to read this stuff to them. I guess there’s just a very human need to be heard.
Okay, so here comes the really sad part. I have it on good authority (Yahoo! Answers) that sound does not travel in empty space. Something about mechanical vibrations of particles and there being no particles in empty space. And “phonons” and “KE of vibrations” and the “root mean square value.” So now my question is this: is empty space and outer space the same thing? And if so, and there are no particles in outer space, does that mean that no one ever needs to dust out there?
Maybe I should stop pondering these things for the time being. I am getting a headache, and now that I’ve thought about dusting I am noticing all the particles that have been collecting around here. If there really is anyone reading this, my cats would like to express their condolences. And if you’re reading this a billion years from now and don’t know what a cat is, it’s a collection of furry particles that likes to sit and pretend it’s pondering deep thoughts, when in reality it’s just ruminating on its next hairball.
Maybe I was a cat in a past life.
About me and this blog:
Having suffered at the hands of my own negativity for far too long, I decided it was time to claim the positive energy that is available to each of us for our own benefit and for the benefit of others. Hence, I've begun the process of "lifting the weight" of depression from my soul and moving into a lighter, freer space. Please join me in finding a way to a more balanced, affirming life.
-- Breaking Glass
-- Drawing Lines
-- Nautilus Shell: Golden or Marvelous?
-- Choosing Colors
-- Creating a Masterpiece
-- Challenge Yourself
-- How I Spent my Winter Vacation
“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” ~Marcus Aurelius