I played piano for eleven years, most of them begrudgingly.
I never practiced, and often showed up to my lessons unprepared, fumbling and sweating over the notes.
I’d practice extra hard the day after my lesson and then blow it off the rest of the six days. Rinse and repeat.
It was a shame too, since I had a really great teacher, who saw potential in me, but could hardly hide her disappointment in my lack of effort.
She entered me into contests and organized recitals.
I’d win a blue ribbon here and there. I’d get through a recital with only minor slips.
But I just didn’t see the point. I never cared all that much about the music or even about getting better. Until what turned out to be my very last recital.
The order in which we played was based on ability. Meaning the very best went last. I was towards the end, but there were maybe two or three kids after me.
A girl younger than me approached the stage, the final performer. She played a perfect rendition of Edvard Grieg’s “Wedding Day At Troldhaugen”. I was blown away. So much so, I insisted on learning it myself.
My teacher, rightfully doubtful, got me the sheet music. But again, my motivation quickly evaporated.
I quit piano when I was sixteen.
About twelve years later, suddenly single and camping out on a bare twin mattress in my brother’s old bedroom, I decided I’d take it up again.
The piano my parents had purchased when I was four years old still sat in our living room. It had been given away and returned to us a couple of times.
I found a teacher at a shop in the town next to us and quickly became one of her best students. I chose the music and for the first time realized I actually enjoyed playing piano…and I was good at it.
It didn’t last, though. I moved out of my parents’ house a few weeks later, much to my teacher’s dismay, and left the piano behind. I’ve never lived in a place long enough or owned something to have it moved with me.
I suppose I could buy a keyboard and start again. Hobbies cost money, though, and right now it’ll have to wait.
There are a lot of things I used to do, used to be good at. Those things don’t always crossover or translate once you become an adult.
It’s weird to no longer associate who you are with what you do. I’m no longer a president, captain, MVP, honor student, or “anchor”. I am not a winner. I am not a champion.
There is no school or club, sports team or music performance that defines and shapes me.
And sometimes I feel a little lost without all of it.
“Wedding Day At Troldhaugen” haunts me to this day, as something I failed at, something I could have tried harder at. I hope for more moments like that to motivate me and perhaps this time, actually see them through.