I’ve had a week since the rather disappointing hospital visit and during that time, I have been very busy thinking.

Mainly I have been thinking about the future: what do I want to do, what do I want to achieve? Will I be happy with my current aspirations? How held back am I going to be? What is actually achievable for me? The last one I immediately swore at and banished to the ideas bin. I refuse to be held back. I can be whatever I aim to be. Yes I am ill, in a fair few ways, and yes it impacts on my day-to-day life quite a lot, but I am going to refuse to let it impact on what I can do. I have bred a determination that is almost scaring me to do well. I can’t let my problems hold me back, because if I do then I will never be happy. It will always be ‘What if?’ and that is no way to live people! The banishment of this question and following attitude has made me think about the other questions, and I am going to write them down on here so I can come back, read them, and aim aim and aim until my shot at life is perfect. (Disclaimer: Naturally I’m not suddenly going to aim to be an extreme sportsman, or anything of the sort… this aspiration does have to be physically achievable!)

So, what do I want to do?
Music. But I no longer want to stick with a bachelor’s degree, PGCE, and a life in a classroom with children who have no appreciation and a government who doesn’t care. I have done some research on-line and found that there are Master’s of Research in Music Education. This has really grabbed my interest, and is part of the fuel for the fire. Music education really does help in the core curriculum. One thing I have observed is that musicians come from all walks of life: mathematicians, linguists, artists, doctors, and historians. Music is a common knowledge and it is being ignored and written off when the benefits are so many. I think I’d like to look into the benefits of music on learning, especially in special needs children; whether music could be used to calm a classroom down, to help focus them on a task. Obviously I need to think more about this, I have only had a week!

What do I want to achieve?
A first class degree. Which means a lot of work. For ‘normal’ people, a first is brilliant, it’s amazing. For me, with long term mental and cardiac health problems, it would be a miracle. One thing I have realised this week is that nobody expects anything of me now. Two years ago, I was on track as a very accomplished performer and soloist, I was reliable, and I could be depended on. I still am an accomplished player, but because of my heart I am no longer reliable or dependable. You always need a back up. Unfortunately, that is all people see. So they don’t expect anything. This is very hurtful, and very frustrating, but even more understandable which just makes me very depressed, and I have been questioning myself as to whether I want to keep playing at all since this revelation. I am going to, simply to prove people wrong. I am going to get that First, I am going to prove myself to everyone, and I am going to build my reputation up again. It’s not just playing though, academically I need to work harder than the rest of the department as well. I can do that though. I can work hard and prove that I am a person with a talent, not just an illness with problems. I want to achieve my own identity.

Will I be happy with my current aspirations?
No. Simple. I’ve stated what I want to achieve, and that is my aspiration. I don’t think I’ll be happy staying as a teacher, even though it can be one of the most rewarding occupations. I want to do more, prove more, work more, and work to change the perception of music education being useless and a wasted hour of school. It really isn’t.

Finally, how held back am I going to be?
This is where I trundle to almost a stand still. I can’t lie to myself or to anyone, I am going to be held back a lot: by my illnesses and by other people who have judged me on them before anything else. That is going to be my biggest hurdle. I can’t get over the illness without a diagnosis and treatment, and I can’t change people’s pre-judged opinions of me without getting treated. So I knock the hurdles down and simply don’t jump them. I need to start this now, not in a few months time! I am so fed up of being labelled by people who haven’t even met me. I would say that these people aren’t worth my time, but they are lecturers, conductors, MDs, people who I need for work. So they are worth my time, but from what they hear I’m not worth theirs. Basically, any audition, any assignment, I need to ace it to turn this perception around. To ace everything, I’m going to need to put in a lot more work than other students.
Which will exhaust me.
Which can make me ill.
Which can stop me playing/working.
Which will mean I can’t get a first in my modules.
It’s a pretty sucky cycle to be honest.

Oh well, I can try. These have been my little thoughts of the week. Most of them I thought more deeply about during a rather wonderful day of surfing (it was magnificent, and long overdue!). I think they’re a positive thing to have come out of last week. I was anticipating being a bit of a wreck, but I seem to have just slapped myself in the face and pulled myself together a little and said ‘That’s life’. I’ve also been away from my mother a lot which I think helps a bit, and in 48 hours I will be in my own house with a lovely supportive friend for company. That makes my mother sound negative, she isn’t, but she doesn’t seem to understand anything. I quote yesterday morning as I went off to play at a wedding; ‘It’s a wedding, try your hardest to be well’. Yes mother, because I never try anyway. It’s always my fault, well done. This comment annoyed me a lot, can you tell?

Anyway, overall a positive week, and this one looks like it’s going to be even better.

New start, new frame of mind, new LIFE.

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