Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Like Mother, Like Sons

Ei has been going to cello with us. Last week their cello teacher asked him if he wanted a turn playing, and he said no. I was so surprised. He plays at home all the time. He talks about cello lessons all week. He tells everyone about "his" teacher. I just couldn't understand why he wouldn't play for her.

Fast forward a week. Jackson asked me to take my cello to his lesson (as he does every week). As I do every week, I put it in the car with no intention of actually taking it in to the lesson. I usually get away with this, but this week Jackson insisted that I take it inside. We had talked about it before we left the house, and I knew this was what he wanted. We have been playing a duet to a song he's working on, and he wanted to play it for his teacher. I wasn't so sure about this, but I went along hoping he would forget or change his mind. Once inside, I figured I was trapped into playing. Now, I have to explain that I was actually looking forward to this. I really do enjoy playing with Jackson, and I knew how happy it would make him. When I went inside, however, his teacher asked, "Do you want to play today?" and I took the out. No. I didn't. I actually didn't. I took the huge instrument into her house, put it in the entranceway, and left it there for the entire lesson, then picked it up and took it home when it was time to go. How silly. So, I guess I really can understand Ei's behavior last week.

I know. It doesn't make any sense. I guess the underlying fear is being judged--of not being good enough. But seriously, this lady teaches cello. Surely she's heard worse than my out-of-tune attempts to the harmony parts of book one songs? And, even if she hasn't, I just don't figure her for the type to ridicule or make me feel bad about it. AND, I would have no reason to be a good cello player as I have never had a lesson in my life and have only owned a cello for a few weeks. This is just silliness. But I guess it's more than that. It's very real. Something about the idea of doing something I am not good at in front of someone who is good at it really scares me. It's about not being the best. And there is the root of my problem. I carry around this assumption that if I'm not the best I have failed. And you can't fail if you don't try, right? So, I just don't try at all if I don't know for sure that I can do it and do it very well. This is frustrating for me. I would like so very much to open myself up to something new--to be a student and to learn a new skill. But to do so means that I will be far from the best. I will be a beginner with sour notes and awkward posture. I want to set a good example for my kids and show them that it's okay to do things even when you aren't very good at them. I will get better in time, but to do so means overcoming this self-criticism and allowing myself to be far the from the best--just a beginner.

But maybe I can be the best at being a beginner...

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