Saturday, November 5, 2005

Falling Apart

I have had one extremely not-good week.

After having my entire weekend snatched away from me by Herma Williams, Rich Obenschain, all others in The Administration, and Discovery, I returned Sunday evening and my life promptly began to crumble around me; I wanted to curl up in a ball and cover my head with my arms and sob. The organization and unfailing diligence I've sought so hard to implement is slipping away from me. My whole weekend was taken away from me; I was forced to render it void of any productive activity whatsoever. I returned to homework and practicing and not enough time to do it!

Going to the gym at 6 a.m. every morning? That's so last month now, and I can feel myself getting softer and squishier every day as successive mornings go by and again and again I cannot drag myself out of bed at such an ungodly hour; when I finally do drag myself out of bed at 7, piles of homework and stacks of music await me. Going to the gym is something in my life on which I'm not being graded right now. Therefore, going to the gym has to be the first thing to go. Practicing each morning with zeal, curiosity, and determination. That must be done. But wait, you've got to be kidding. I'm cramming things in here and there, practicing with desperation instead of intelligent objectivity. I spent the week barely clinging by the tips of my fingernails to a semblance of order in my life.

When I thought things couldn't get worse, my senile 70-something-year-old Latin teacher called on Tuesday and said, "Hey lady, you know we have a test on Thursday, right?" Well, no, I don't know, because you're the teacher and you didn't tell me, so how did you expect me to know?!?! It's an independent study and I meet with you independently at a different time than the other students because of stupid Discovery that has to be at the time the other students come, so you have to tell me about tests and those things or how in the world will I know about them?! "A test. Okay. I'll come find you in the library. Thursday. Yeah. No problem." Did I just say no problem?! I'm sinking in a mire of disorganization and disorder and exhaustion and wretched wretched inability to accomplish all that I must do, and I'm not even wasting any time; I'm trying so so so hard to stay on top of things and I'm falling and I'm sinking and I can't crawl out of this hole, and I'm not ready for an exam, and Mr. Spires, your exams are ridiculous because you include information that is at least twenty chapters ahead of where we actually are and then tell us "Oh, you can do that" when we tell you that we have no idea what you're asking us to translate or conjugate. And I know I should be understanding because you're elderly and forgetful and a nice old fellow, but I don't feel very understanding right now. I feel desperate. I feel sick. I have had a perpetual headache all week from the moment I wake up, before I even open my eyes, to the moment I finally fall asleep and stop being aware of the pounding in my head. And now, I feel sick to my stomach too. I can't escape it. I can't manage anymore.

Thursday comes. Latin test. I take it. Four sentences to translate. 40% of the grade. All correct. Two verbs to conjugate. 60% of the grade. One correct, no problem. Now, ago, agere. Conjugate in the pluperfect. What is the third principal part of ago? What is the stem? I know all the endings. I can conjugate it in present active indicative, present active imperative, future indicative active, imperfect indicative active, anything else you want... and I know the endings for perfect, future perfect, and pluperfect... but I can't remember the stem. Ago, agere, agui, actus? Ago, agere, agi, actus? I write out every conjugation I know to try to jog my memory. I am relying on surface tension to hold the tears welling up from actually spilling over, anything to prevent them from escaping and running down my cheeks. What kind of exam is this? Can't he have a little grace? Can't there be room on a test to forget ONE THING and still get a reasonably good grade? But there isn't, and there goes 30% of my grade because my brain is refusing to function and I can see the page in the book in my mind, and I can visualize my flashcards, but there in the middle between laudavi and fui is a big blank, and no one is filling it in for me, not my exhausted mind or memory, and not even God when I ask Him to. I hand the paper in and walk away. Maybe he'll give me partial credit for knowing the endings. I'll find out soon enough, I suppose. I'm tired. I want to sleep.

I can't sleep; I have a violin lesson the next day and my teacher wanted to hear the first movement of Tchaikovsky, but who is he kidding, because I can't even play half of it, I can't even play the cadenza yet. It's all too hard - pages upon pages of double stops with no time to relax and play something manageable and collect my thoughts and focus on creating a sound like fine mahogany furniture instead of a sound like cheap furniture with hidden imperfections everywhere when you really examine it. The next day arrives. I wake up with a headache and a sore throat and a stomachache. I call my teacher and cancel my lesson. I feel vaguely guilty. I'm sure his students at NEC never falter and fail as I do. I'm sure that they don't just have good intentions, but they also possess superhuman abilities to follow through on those intentions and prepare dazzlingly difficult new pieces each week for each lesson and play them with superhuman perfection. I feel like a failure.

Friday afternoon. I drive to Boston and play a gig for four hours. $70.00. That's good. Only one hour of productive practice all day. That's no good, oh, no. I come back and attend the senior recital of my wonderful friend and tenor extraordinaire, Wesley Lawrence. His German songs make me cry. His talent and success and beautifully soaring voice make me cry. All around me I see people with everything neatly together and in place. They have what it takes to achieve success and they're going after it. I feel left behind. I can't even play the Tchaikovsky concerto. I won't go to grad school. I'll graduate and get a job waitressing, and I'm already wondering why I majored in music. I'm so worried about playing difficult things accurately that I don't even remember how to shut my eyes and love the music.

I'm realizing how sad I'll be to graduate, and how much I'll miss my wonderful violin teacher and our orchestra and my music department friends, and I don't want to graduate yet, but it's inevitable, and the future doesn't look shiny or enticing, but just scary and overwhelming, and I don't feel big enough to walk into it yet. I suddenly miss my Mommy and Daddy so much, and I haven't felt this way in a long time, not really since FavoriteBoy entered my life, but he's still here, and he's still wonderful, but it doesn't change the fact that I want to go home and walk into my own bedroom and see that Mom has washed the sheets for me for my homecoming, and I want to crawl into my bed and pull the sheets over my head and cry and cry because I have no idea what to do and I feel so inadequate in every aspect of my life. I feel unworthy and unspecial and unremarkable and life is going to completely pass me by, and God, I keep asking You, what is the point and what do you want me to do and why am I such an awful failure at everything? I'm scared. I'm scared of screwing up the rest of my life. I tell myself that in a few years I'll look back and wonder why I wasted so much energy worrying. I tell myself that I'm making myself sick and I need to trust God. I tell myself to swallow the lump in my throat and just keep trudging on, day after day, doing my best. I did so well for the first half of the semester. I hung in there. I'm exhausted now, exhausted and scared and inadequate and bad at the violin and I feel like I'm about 13 years old all over again and all the progress I thought I had made in my life over the past few years has just been an illusion. When I first came here to study with my teacher I felt like a little pool of untapped potential and ability, like now that I had a teacher to kick me in the seat of the pants and make me work carefully and intelligently and diligently everything would fall into place and I could do anything. But I can't. I'm not that good. I'm nothing special. I'm probably my teacher's only student who can't play the Tchaikovsky concerto. He's probably glad I'm graduating, glad to be rid of me and my awful stagnancy and inability to make any progress whatsoever. I need energy and strength and control and more hours in each day. There are no more hours, and I feel like I'm falling apart.

But now it is the weekend, and I am slightly optimistic. Optimistic because I have hours and hours lying before me, still pristine and untainted by my imperfect attempts at using them resourcefully. They shimmer; they await me. And I shall away to use them, like, NOW. Goodbye.


  1. aw, sweetie. It's okay. It'll all be okay. I know I don't know you that well, but I wish I was there to give you a hug.
    "All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well."
    St. Julian was a smart woman.- Jess

  2. It wouldn't, by any chance, be "the middle of the semester when all good things fall apart and every good practice is replaced by lack of sleep and blood shot eyes" is it? I remember that a great deal of my good habits always disappeared right around the middle of the semester.

  3. *HUGS* I hear you. Stress, worry and crying with the covers over your head. yep. That's me. Just know that I have been and I will be praying for you. *HUGS*