A line in the sand

I didn’t have a particularly good weekend. I’m having mobility issues at the moment (at least I’ve now got a hospital appointment scheduled) and was in quite a lot of pain. Which probably didn’t help my mood much.

I was supposed to be playing in a concert on Sunday. And I did play – but for the first time I can remember, I didn’t enjoy it.

Music is normally my escape. When everything is right, I can lose myself in the sound and physical sensations and forget about the stresses and strains of my everyday life.

I’d quite like to keep it that way.

But this time, I couldn’t.

I have some problems with my fine and gross motor skills anyway. Despite this, I’ve managed to get to a good standard on the cello. It’s taken a while for the muscle memory to come back but it’s pretty much there now.

What I’m not so good at, particularly when my hands are a bit stiff and painful through the joint issue, is turning the pages of the music. I have tried everything. The issue is that there is quite a narrow window for the pages to be turned. But sometimes, I still can’t be quick enough. And other times, the pages stick together without me noticing.

Which all seemed to really annoy the person sitting next to me. And his criticism was not constructive, it was just critical.

“This really isn’t good enough. We really can’t have this in the concert.”

No idea what else I was supposed to do. I’d been practising with my set of music, but we couldn’t use that one. I couldn’t magic up skills that I don’t have. But no solution was offered, only criticism.

So I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening increasingly anxious in case anything else went wrong with the page-turning. And, of course, it did – probably because I was anxious. I couldn’t concentrate on the music and enjoy playing; all I could think of was the practicalities of turning a sheet of paper over.

I don’t think I want to go back. I am embarrassed that I was told off and angry about being spoken to like that for something that I cannot help.

I’m rarely angry. So I think that anger shows me the line in the sand that I need to take.

I will not tolerate being spoken to like a child, particularly in situations where I am not doing anything deliberately wrong and where there is nothing that I can do to make things better.

I will not tolerate people falsely acting as though they have authority over me. I will do what is asked, to the best of my ability. If that is not good enough, I won’t continue.

For too long I have accepted whatever words people choose to throw at me. No more.

I thought that was what I needed to do in order to get people to like me; in order to be accepted. But people don’t like me. They don’t accept me. And taking hurtful words from them won’t change that.

Now to find somewhere else to play…


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