Tuesday, May 2, 2006

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself

It is 11:55 pm and I am a one-woman Kinko's in my office.

Our major fundraiser is on Thursday and we've brought a lot of our communications in house this year. Within the past month I have done website updates, blog updates, powerpoint presentations, photo archiving, taught myself and others basics of video and audio editing, and created print materials on a rather aggressive deadline.

It's exciting to meet the challenge, but I know that I'm going to need a resty-rest after Thursday. I'm hoping to treat myself to A Prairie Home Companion, the closer to the San Francisco International Film Festival.

I have a thing for Garrison Keillor's storytelling. And fiddles. I'm nuts over the "Powdered Milk Biscuit" theme song.

Today I have been reminded of fears that I need to face, the first of which is getting my deposit back from my previous landlord and the second of which is that I need to let go of my need to play the violin perfectly. My perfectionist can undermine a lot of my efforts.

My teacher yesterday asked me to look at a scale while fingering the notes and bowing long. She asked me if I understood why notes were sharp on the staff and I stood at the music, feeling illiterate. But my 9 year old girl self wanted to have the right answer. She wanted to be right. She wanted her teacher's approval.

And my mind froze.

I drew a sour bow across the strings. My hands tensed and the B note she asked me to stretch my pinky finger to achieve seemed like an impossible yoga asana that can only be achieved via some fancy Photoshop techniques.

She noticed this and reminded me that I am learning and to relax.

I breathed and almost chuckled at myself in the car after feeling a tear reach the corner of my eye. In my mind, in that instant when I couldn't perform, I felt like I had failed.

But I am taking these classes for myself. I want to learn how to create music.
How can that be a failure?

During this morning's conversation I raced into comparison mode, where I felt the woman on the other line is an illustration of strength and endurance. She knows how to speak up for herself and others. And my mind chastised me, questioned my authenticity, because I don't feel that I self-advocate well and therefore I should question how I advocate for others.

In the end the only advocate I have is myself, and while on the phone this morning with a friend I haven't spoken with in a long time, I began to cry.

Hey, man. I've been dealing with my stresses a little better.

Sure, I had shingles and couldn't walk for a few days. I've been making SOME semblance of decisions...deciding what's intolerable and what to do... I just felt during our conversation that I've been really hiking up my pants and digging deep into myself and working my ass off.

Our conversation left me feeling like I wasn't working hard enough. Like I don't value myself enough to just do what I consider so hard.

This mental demon is so funny.

And yet a week ago I thought I advocated pretty well for myself, setting boundaries and such.

So outside of my office there is a drag race happening in the back alley. Wheels are squeaking and even if I was done with my work, I don't know if I would walk outside right now.

The aggressive growl of an engine and the screeches of wheels suddenly jerked in a different direction doesn't seem like safe territory for a pedestrian.

My car is happily parked in the Best Buy parking lot a mere 100 yards away.

Dang. I have to get web access at home, because then I could do this layout and stuff at home.


I have a candle lit and am listening to Richard Souther's "The Music of Hildegard von Bingen". It came out on the heels of all that Gregorian Chant that was uber-cool in the mid-1990s. She was a composer in the 13th century and was reported to have visions all the time. Modern explanation might say she had severe migraines. But, some of her music is just awesome. If you can get past the perhaps over produced beats, the vocals on this album are amazing. I really dig "Vision (O Euchari In Leta Via)."


B said...

A friend of mine is a grad student at the school of Theology in Berkeley. Her focus is mysticism, and the mystic that her thesis is on is Hildegaard Von Bingen.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend just wrote a paper on Hildegard for his music history class.
-Rachel K.

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