Out Of Control

I. Feel. So. Out. Of. Control.

There, I said it.
Not sure what good it will do, but honesty is always a good first step.
And not sure what good it does to air it all in a public forum, but writing for me is cathartic. And so, I will write, and probably hit the PUBLISH POST button.
Fall is always a busy time of year for us. Pushing up towards the holidays (somebody please tell me where October went?) means two birthdays (Daniel will be 14 next week – unbelievable – and Sarah will be 19 in mid-December) with schoolwork ramping up and long-range planning at work and calendaring all sorts of activities – it all equals craziness. Especially for one who is organizationally challenged (as I am).
Side note: I am getting married in five weeks and a few days as well. That brings about its own planning challenges, but the big bonus is that my future spouse is well-gifted in structure and systems. I welcome the balance he brings.
Anyway, what’s prompting this post that reeks of introspection is my current involvement in Christian Youth Theatre – CYT – along with Syd. The weekly dance classes and weekend “Wizard of Oz” rehearsals have proven to be terrific experiences for her. Putting together the shows – they do about four each year – require a ton of commitment and time, and not just for the kids. They ask a lot of the parents.
By default, my contribution has ended up being part of the pit orchestra. On my volunteer sheet, I mentioned that I could serve as a rehearsal pianist as needed. The contracted player for the keyboard coverage of the string parts could not make it, so I got the call.
Because that meant I wouldn’t have to sew anything, I responded gleefully.
That meant nothing more than personal practice time and then giving away my life during tech and show week.
Woo hoo! I love to play, it’s second nature to me, so I was thrilled.
But HELLOOOO!!! Have you seen the music for “Wizard of Oz”? Remember, we are recreating a tornado. And flying witches. And munchkin marches.

This is the most challenging music that’s been in front of me since The Magic Flute at Tarrant County College, when I was pregnant with David.
And it’s eating my lunch.
So I’ve worked HARD – like two hours of practice a day. And I still can barely get by.
And so I go to rehearsal, and meet the conductor – VCU Band Conductor (HELLO???? DO YOU THINK HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING?) and the remaining crew of hired/incredibly talented musicians (with a few parents along for the ride as well) and I am faced with the mind-numbing realization that I am WAY out of my league here.
Hello, humility, and welcome back to my neurotic tendencies!
I can’t keep up. And it’s been excruciating, because it’s not just an issue of, “Go practice harder!” It’s cause to consider just how comfortable I have become in my role as a musician in my job. I’ve been coasting.
And it’s a rude awakening to suddenly realize that this is what my team members feel like when they are not as comfortable with the music or the style of our weekly repertoire, and how they must stress when they don’t have enough time to prepare. Which is my responsibility – to give them time to prepare. Now I know how they feel. And now I realize that I need to make some changes in the way that I do my job.
It’s certainly a good thing to be reminded that the world is a big place. That there are many, many people who are better than you. That you can always – and should – strive to do better, to challenge yourself.
That’s a good thing. It leads to growth.
But it doesn’t feel so good.
This sense of inadequacy really screws with my ability to feel comfortable socially as well, so I’ve spent two rehearsals feeling like I was wearing a t-shirt that said:



Syd said, “Mom, just make some friends. You’ll do fine. That’s how I felt for the first few weeks. It’ll be okay.”
And so it goes. And it is what it is. I have stepped out of my insecurity and spoken to a few folks.
They’re very nice.
Undoubtedly, my daughter is right.
It’s not pleasant to realize that, basically, you suck. On top of all this personal chaos is the literal chaos of my house; it is a complete wreck. I can’t find my keys. I have a million piles of paper stacked all over the house. There are bins of summer clothes that need to find their way to the attic. The leaves are piling up. The vacuum is broken. The un-matched socks are crawling towards my bed, planning to strangle me in the night. My sheets need to be washed. The bathroom is filthy.
It’s overwhelming.
But here’s where my faith sneaks in and brings a surprising comfort.

Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. – Psalm 51.16, The Message

I think Syd’s right.
It’ll be okay.

8 thoughts on “Out Of Control

  1. One other thought — I think you should be prepared for when (get ready for it) things ACTUALLY SLOW DOWN for you. When this wedding happens, and this system-annointed man steps into your life; when you don't have to run so far and so fast to make ends meet.

    I think you should prepare to make slowing down a discipline for you in the next 8 months.

    What a glorious gift it's gonna be!!! But get ready to prepare to receive it…


  2. There's always someone better… I believe every musician struggles with that notion. Shattered pride is a good thing, it lets the light shine in to let us realize that when people command attention they take it off him.

    You rock btw.


  3. Elizabeth……You are working for the approval of people. And God has put His Son in your heart and with that you are validated. You are one of the most gifted musicians I have ever met…not just because you play the piano with passion and brilliance, and not because you sing like I imagine angels sing in heaven but because when you sing and play, The creator of the universe speaks to me…..I am weeping as I write that line. You are a single mom who has 5 kids that are all unbelieveable in their own way, and as a friend you are a sister to me and to many like no other.

    OK Mushy aside you need to learn the phrase “I NEED SOME HELP” and let those who love you serve you.

    Things will get eaiser as you make some minor adjustments and in the meantime don't stop writting about how you feel because it let's me know I am not alone in my struggle with life.

    By the way we are allowed to do songs that we know and that the people love to sing, noone is grading us on how many new songs we can present every month. When I by a CD I play the heck out of the songs I love and feel great when I do…..so how's that girlie!


  4. i went through a process as i was reading your post. first, way out of your league> NO WAY. you are one of the most talented, gifted, and professional piano players i have ever heard. i was sure you were just in a funk cuz you are overwhelmed.

    second, shocked that you would think that you are coasting in your job. i know from experience how much work goes into what you do for services.

    third, surprise that you wouldn't know what we felt like cuz i am sure we told you….(that was said with love) but it probably just sounded like whining.

    finally, alleluhia and prase God! we may get our music earlier!!!!!!!!!!!! YAY!

    BTW, a good day off to regroup with no one else around (which i know is hard for you) but it always helps me.

    thanks for what you do and for sharing


  5. okay…so DITTO for allll of the above lines….especially from the words ANOONYMOUS typed…but I just wanna say this… YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED IN 35 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH


  6. okay…so DITTO for allll of the above lines….especially from the words ANOONYMOUS typed…but I just wanna say this… YOU ARE GETTING MARRIED IN 35 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s