Friday, June 1, 2007

A Girl I Used to Know

This post will start out kind of depressing, but get better.

Just thought you should be forewarned.

So, since I've been an adult (I don't know when exactly that happened, but I think it has.) I've spent a lot of time thinking about how I royally messed up my adolescence.

Actually, I've tried to just not think about it at all.

I mean, I really, really, made some bad decisions and screwed up some stuff. I have a lot of regrets, and often fall into that "what might have been" sort of angst that can only come from the kind of woman who wrote very dark, very bad poetry as a youth.

When I look back at that girl that I was, I don't really know her very well. I'm completely shocked by some of the things that she thought were A-okay.

Shoot, I don't think I like her much.

But -- (here's where the post gets better) -- last night, I had an urge to sit down at the piano and play for awhile. And not just muddle through some Nora Jones or play "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as loud as possible -- but to get out some of the actual music I played when I seriously studied the piano and see what I could do.

Let me tell you this -- Alice Newman? My old piano teacher? She would be appalled. Many years of not practicing have taken its toll.

Nevertheless, flipping through those dog-eared pages of my Chopin books covered in contact paper, I found some of that girl that I was.

And I remembered that she wasn't really that bad.

I remember, now that I've seen things like "robbing tempo here" and "wait for third beat" written in my own 15-year-old handwriting, what it was like to go to those lessons once a week and play while Ms. Newman knit the most amazing sweaters.

I remember playing scales louder and louder and LOUDER when I was too angry and sad to do anything else.

I remember my Dad being proud of me for doing something he couldn't, and I remember the first time my Mom told someone I was better than she was.

And, although I've lost some technique, occasionally last night my fingers would remember something that my mind had forgotten, and I would fly through a passage and remember what it felt like to do something beautiful.

Maybe THAT's why my parents didn't just lock me out of the house and pretend they didn't know what had happened to me when I was a teenager.

As a bonus, I have figured out that some of the things that were so hard when I was a teenager -- they aren't anymore. Because the woman I am now has just a bit more flair, a bit more NOIVE, as the cowardly Lion would say, than the girl I was.

The woman I am now can trill like the dickens when the mood strikes her, and isn't afraid to sway at her piano bench if the situation calls for it.

That girl I was, and that woman I am -- they've made their peace.

They may even get together for a drink sometime.


Jonathan's Mommy said...

I am intrigued by this post--it just seems like you would have been straight-laced as a teenager. I guess not, but that is just part of what makes you so darn interesting!

Bryan said...

Little girls should NOT be drinking with adults. There is probably a statute to that effect. Look it up. JBF

Marsha Melvin said...

Did you take your piano lessons from Alice Newman in South Gate, California? My sister and I did, and she knitted, too.

Overd0g said...

I took lessons from Alice in South Gate for 8 years.