Sunday, December 02, 2007

Coming out of the closet

This week Adrian said "I think everybody has a perfect school for them, and I've found mine.", regarding Hillside, Boulder's version of the "Derek K. Zoolander school for kids who can't read good".

I may have found mine. I've been playing in my band at church for a year and a half. A few weeks ago I accompanied a vocalist on Elton John's "Border Song". I practiced my ass off, and you know what? It went really well. I was very happy with how I played.

Piano playing has been a part of my life since my grandmother began teaching me at age 4. I went to college to major in music therapy. At that time in my life I was having recurrent depressions, was a closet compulsive overeater and had a lot of shit to work through. It wasn't the right time for me to get through a very difficult music program. I certainly did not have the confidence or the belief that I could do it.

I had this hare-brained idea recently that maybe I would look at getting back into music therapy. I spent a lot of time looking at how I could do this. The program that used to exist in Boulder at Naropa University is not offered anymore. The other option is a traditional 4 year program, about an hour from my home.

I started thinking that maybe I would not worry about the music therapy degree for the moment, and focus on music in general. What I settled on after searching around quite a bit was the Berklee School of Music continuing ed program. They offer completely online certificate programs. Some of the take 6 months, some take several years. I was filled with doubts - "can I really do this?" "I've got a job, I've got kids, I'm not talented enough". "I am not cool enough to be at Berklee" (it was my dream school when looking at colleges in high school). "I'll never get a loan." My experience as a music therapy major at the University of Georgia was rough. I have always viewed it as a failure on my part.

I am a big fan of action. Take a small action and see what results and reactions are. I took a deep breath and applied to enroll in the Specialist Certificate in Keyboard Skills. I applied for a loan. I figured I could improve my keyboards, earn 9 credits that would be of value anywhere else I might go, and also be involved in something I am completely passionate about. If this 6-7 month program works for me, I can enroll in one of the longer certificate programs.

I spent the next week in a swirling, sucking eddy of self-doubt and depression because I was taking a huge risk and how could it possibly work out? I wasn't getting the feeling that I had a green light from the universe. Not yet. I realized that I had to decide within myself that I really wanted one.

I came home from band rehearsal this weekend and talked to Ozzie about it. He was just remarkably supportive and encouraging. I talked to my best friend Scotti on the phone that afternoon - for hours. There was no question to her that this was the right thing for me.

I realized - I really do want this. If I can successfully complete these courses, I will exorcise a number of old demons, and get back on a path that I had to fall off of many years ago.

Yesterday, I checked my loan. It was approved. I'm enrolled in the courses - one per semester winter, spring and summer 2008. I downloaded the software I need to record MP3's of my playing to send back to the instructors. Ozzie put a special green light up outside for Christmas to remind me that I got "the green light".

It takes courage to heal, doesn't it? It's much easier when you have support.

1 comment:

Paul O'Brian said...

Yay bliss-following! Maybe one of these days you'll actually let me hear you play. :)