Saturday, June 26, 2010

Me Against the World

Today, my aunt, sister, and I were sitting, eating lunch and talking. My sister said she doesn't see why we've gone through everything we have in our lives, and I replied that it's because it made us who we are. My sister disagreed and said, "Who says I want to be this person?" "Well," I said, "what if our lives were different? What if our father wasn't who he is and we had lived our whole lives in Chicago in a home and gone to school? We might not have cared about school, we might have dropped out at sixteen."

I then went on to say how I believe everything in life ties in, something I'd been thinking of just a few days ago. "Like, God had you move here," I said to my aunt. "Then we moved here because you lived here and now we go to our high school because of that. And if we hadn't gone to GHS, I might not have become a choir teacher, because the choir program there is amazing."

However, I have not received much encouragement on wanting to become a teacher. I'm told that I need to get scholarships. Nobody really asks me where I'd like to go to college, what I'd like to do with my life, and why. If I talk about my wanting to teach, I don't get much of a response. What is so wrong with doing something I love and am good at?

I seriously feel like crying sometimes. I wish I had someone to say, "You'd make a great choir teacher, Elizabeth. I know how much you love music." I do have one person who encourages me and will, I believe, no matter what I choose to do (as long as it's right, that is). She loves music as much as I do, so I've got someone who understands me and I know she knows how it feels not to be understood. Musicians often aren't, anyway. I just wish that encouragement came from more than one source. But non-artistic people have a hard time understanding artistic people, and I get that. It's just so frustrating.

I've always wanted to marry a chef, but I think I need to marry someone musically inclined, like me. That way, we'll always have each other.

After all, what's wrong with music?

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Current Frustration

Remember when you were sixteen and you had your whole life ahead of you, but you wanted it to be here now? That is my current frustration. I'm so incredibly excited to graduate from high school and go on to college. I want to start studying music theory and join a college choir and learn what it is I have to learn. There is so much out there that I don't know and I'm yearning to learn it and discover whole new (for the lack of a better word) things in the world of music. My choir teacher says music theory is hard, but I look forward to the challenge. I want to know everything there is to know. And it's so frustrating because I've got two long years ahead of me. I've been trying to get my hands on materials-I reserved a book on music theory and another on music's psychological effects on the brain, among others-but never got a notice so I was unable to actually read them.

Which leads me to another frustration. I know I'm meant to teach music, but it seems like the world is against me, as it often is. My mother doesn't want me to be a choir teacher; she says I'm too smart for that. Does she not understand how much it takes to read and compose music, sightread, play piano, teach parts, etc, etc? Things my incredibly smart choir teacher does every day? Teaching choir isn't nearly as easy as it looks and on days when I am frustrated with the way my choir or another choir is sounding, I can only imagine how it is for our teacher. Music is much more complex than anyone gives it credit for.
And again, with the books. I was so excited when I reserved them, thinking that finally, in just a few weeks, I could delve into the complicated paragraphs and lessons. But it was to no avail.

I just wish I could begin the next chapter of my life. It's coming, but not fast enough.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Surgery Post Two

I woke up hungry after I had a dream about cake, but unfortunately couldn't eat. I'd been worried about not drinking anything - over the past couple of days, if I didn't have anything to drink for more than an hour, I would start to feel nauseated. I did feel a little queasy, but nothing too serious.

After picking up my mom from her apartment, we headed up to the surgery center and checked me in. I was a little nervous, but I still had the feeling that the surgery wasn't actually happening.

Not too much later, we were taken across the courtyard to the actual surgery center. I had to change into a gown-hairnet, socks, and all-and other SOPs. In another, smaller waiting room, a woman gave me an IV and it hurt, even when I wasn't moving my hand. Dr. Osborne and the anethesiologist both came and talked to us and I raised the question of them being careful since I sing. My choir teacher had advised me to tell them this, as had researching online. I asked them to use the smallest tube possible when intubating me and they did.
Finally, it was time to go back and as soon as the woman walked me through the door back to the operating room I started to cry. I was just really nervous about what was about to happen, and a little scared. I laid down on the table and started humming to calm myself down, alongside praying to God that everything would go smoothly.
The same woman who gave me the IV put something in it to make me relax; at the same time, Dr. Osborne put the anesthesia mask over my face and told me to 'breathe deeply'. I did, and after a few breaths, my brain, my whole face and throat, and IV arm felt like they were on fire. I'd stopped crying by that point, but I started again from the pain, and I drifted off.

When I came to, the nurse was telling me I needed to wake up. I sat up, got dressed, then was taken out to the car via wheelchair. At home, my mom set me up in bed where I pretty much was-or on the couch-for the next three days.
I had a Chuck marathon with my mom, who was over all week, which was nice because I got caught up on some episodes I'd missed. I also learned more about my father, who has never been present in my life.

It's been ten days now and I've been feeling fantastic since Wednesday, except for one incident that involved me and an empty stomach. It's a little strange not having my tonsils anymore because I've always been able to say 'I still have my tonsils', but not anymore. It's like when I turn a new year, but I keep wanting to say I'm my old age.

I'm just happy to say that my first surgery was a success and I hopefully won't be having any more for a long time.

Monday, June 7, 2010


Today is the fourth consecutive day of posting and although I plan on posting something every day, I know it will eventually taper off as I know not every day will be post-worthy.

Having always had extremely large tonsils, I've dealt with a host of complications in my lifetime, including tonsil stones and sleep apnea. The latter caused me to be chronically tired for years - I could sleep for 8 hours, be awake for two, then sleep for another three hours. Additionally, I was diagnosed with asthma in February and I'm hoping (although I don't know that the two are even connected) that it is a result of air flow being constricted by the large size of my tonsils.

But tomorrow, all my problems are being solved. I should have had it done years ago, but I'm getting a tonsillectomy. I'm due to arrive at nine, which means surgery probably won't even begin until ten. I'm not to eat or drink anything after midnight, so I'll definitely be up at 11:30, eating a sandwich and having some water. I know that's cutting it close, but I know I won't want to eat after surgery.

I'm nervous, though. I've never had surgery before and I know with every use of anesthesia, there is a chance of the patient not waking up. The odds are 1:500,000 but someone has to be that one. There's also the chance of waking up during surgery, about 0.1%.
I also am scared I'm going to be loopy all day and say things I would never dream of saying in a lucid state. I should bring duct tape and tape my mouth shut.
However, my most extreme fear is that I'll wake up and not be able to sing. I don't care how ridiculous this fear is. If I ended up like Julie Andrews, I would probably die. Just think of the thing you love most, then imagine never being able to do that again.
I think I need to restate myself. I'm not nervous.

I'm terrified.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

With God, There's No Such Thing As Coincidence

For a long time now, my first response to almost anything that didn't happen the way I wanted it to was anger. I got angry out of frustration and sadness, but many times I just got plain angry.
When I was younger, it used to be a lot worse. I'd scream at people at the top of my lungs, I would slam doors, kick things, tear up posters and cards. It was really bad and I got into a lot of trouble for it.
Over the years, it's calmed down to where I get angry, but it's not as intense. Sometimes, I will have an episode where I just get so intensely angry I feel like I could explode and my throat is sore from screaming.
But it was suggested that I get prayed for and today I did. These two nice women prayed for me that I wouldn't be so quick to get angry and that when I did, it would be a righteous anger. When we were finished, the one woman gave me a Bible verse to look up when I got home-Zephaniah 3:17. This is what it says in the King James Version:
The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
I proceeded to look this verse up in the NIV version and more easily translated, 'he will rest in his love' became 'he will quiet you in his love'. For me, what I think this is saying is that God will use his love to quiet my anger, so that I am no longer controlled by it.
Because I don't want to be controlled by it. I don't want to get angry all the time because I know it's not right, nor is it healthy. I want to be free from this emotion that people I know have been damned by. I will not let anger hinder my relationship with my future children like it did with my mother and I.
With God, it's possible. I just pray that he would make this change happen soon.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Why America Is Really No Different

This morning, I watched a documentary called Waco: The Rules of Engagement. Being a fan of documentaries, I know that unless it's Mr. Happy Man, you're more likely to frown than you are to smile. However, what I learned and saw from watching this documentary brought tears to my eyes and stirred up anger at the people responsible for the deaths of so many people.

For those who don't know what Waco was:

The Waco siege began on Febraury 28th and ended violently 51 days later on April 19th, 1993. The siege began when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located nine miles east-northeast of Waco, Texas. The search warrant was served under accusations that the leader David Koresh (formerly named Vernon Wayne Howell) was stockpiling weapons, sexually abusing minors, and misconducting himself sexually. On February 28th, shortly after attempting to serve the warrant, an intense gun battle erupted, lasting nearly two hours. In the aftermath of this armed exchange, four agents and six followers of David Koresh were found to have been killed. Upon the ATF's failure to execute the search warrant, a siege was begun by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This siege ended when a second assault on the compound was made. Fire engulfed the compound and 76 people (24 of them British Nationals) died in the fire, including more than 20 children, two pregnant women, and Koresh himself.

The Branch Davidians were different from everyone around them and because of this, they were unlawfully murdered. As one court official stated in the documentary, the allegations built up against Koresh-especially the sexual allegations-go hand in hand with 'cults' and groups of different beliefs. I don't know what was happening in that compound, or if any of the allegations were true, but what I do know is that the 76 people that died suffered horrible deaths they didn't deserve. Lives were cut short, two before they even really began.

I am deeply saddened that our government has taken such a severe turn away from what is just, and lawful, and right and has viciously murdered innocent people. Usually, you hear about governments murdering people in Communist North Korea or in Africa because of their beliefs. But people right here in America are dying for the exact same reason, which is why America is really no different.

America is not the land of opportunity, nor the land of plenty.

What It's About

The Musician's Soul is a book by James Jordan based on the thought that if one desires 'the highest level of music making from your classes and ensembles, you must take the [spiritual] journey; you must walk the walk.'
Jordan's book has become the focal point from which I examine myself and all other material. As a person who will stand 'at the front of that group of persons', I need to fully understand myself and why I am on the path I have chosen. 'A person's commitment to life, his awareness of the world around him, and his understanding of the beauty of the world and his own life are the foundation of a musician's center.'
I wish to embody what Jordan states in his book, for it is my desire to bring to my future students the myriad of feelings music envokes and to develop the musician within them as much as possible so that they, too, can experince how wonderful life can be with music.
But my wish to embody what Jordan states is also because I want to know myself better. I want to know what in me is so drawn to music, why it has always been a major part of my life. Aside from God, my life centers around music and I don't know exactly how or when that came about, but I am hoping that the journey through "A Musician's Soul"-both the book and the blog-will help me to answer those questions and others that, for now, lay dormant inside me. The soul is the most crucial part of a human being. Without one, we would not exist, and it is my desire to fully understand what I cannot live without.