This year I am DJing. I am learning to DJ for this party, and it will be the first time I've played music in front of other people in any significant way in like... fifteen years? Maybe only thirteen. "A long time." I had a pretty hardcore music education as a kid, getting steeped in music theory as well as reaching a pretty high proficiency level on a number of instruments (violin, piano, voice, tuba...) --- this is one of the tremendous gifts my parents gave me. Unfortunately it came along with one of their tremendous ungifts.
In many cases, my teacher was my father, in part because where are you going to find a better tuba teacher in Rhode Island, and in part because, well, lessons are expensive (although I know they spent a lot of money on piano, so it can't have been just that). My father is an incredibly skilled musician and did in fact instill much knowledge into me, he just also instilled fear, a sense of impossibility, and flashbacks to him looming over me as I tried to get a particular line right and screaming at me through the bathroom door about how I wasn't good enough while I cried on the floor. So practicing music, and playing in front of people, is... fraught. My brother's told me he'd probably be a professional musician if it weren't for this, and my sister is a professional musician and educator; I don't think I would have been, but I'd have a very, very different relationship to music, that I ironically only know to miss because of all of the good things he taught me. Fuckin' A, right?
I've tried to get over this a bunch of times, between occasional plucking away at a bass while listening to music and trying to start a band with friends and having all of one rehearsal and keeping a tuba in my cramped dorm room for years while basically never touching it and all manner of other things. None of them took; I couldn't do it. I actually bought the equipment and software that I'm going to use to DJ tonight in order to try getting over this with electronic composition, which hasn't worked for me yet, but has a little for my brother. Two things are different this time:
- I'm back in therapy dealing with other abuse, and weirdly (or maybe not-so-weirdly), that's helped me manage my feelings around this and take care of myself while also pushing myself.
- I'm doing this for CATGIRL FUCKING GOTH RAVE --- I'm not doing this (just) for me, I am doing this as a gift to all of my friends.
And if, after I'm done, I find myself on the floor crying, this time it won't be because I'm afraid. <3
This entry was originally posted at http://rax.dreamwidth.org/123403.html.