(though not necessarily in that order)

(though not necessarily in that order)

Sunday, 28 November 2010


It is so easy to slip back into engulfing depression. Far too easy. I always believed that some how once I got over it I'd never experience it again.

How quickly things change.

Thick muddy depression. Where laughing people are to be despised and jealousy that they are happy reigns. Looking at people in the restaurant yesterday getting completely ratarsed and more excitable it just feels like I am becoming distant again.

So easy to fall back.

So easy to hide. To turn in on myself. To retreat into my shell. My multi-coloured rainbow striped shell. To feel like poking myself on my breastbone, the really sensitive painful bit, just to release some of the heavy weights that seem to be constantly on my chest. At one point I hurt myself on my chest to try and release the feeling, now I have painful twisted scars as they didn't heal quite right.

The world is cold.

Colder than I ever believed. Futile attempts at warmth at fruitless. Smiles just come and go, never stay.

Overwhelming tiredness.

I just want to sleep. I haven't got the energy to do things, yet I still do them. I can't stop functioning. So I'm doing the motions of a functioning person whilst feeling rubbish.

All the therapy in the world can't stop depression. I'm certainly not about to try medication again. All the things that therapy taught me, all the warning signs, the strategies. They all assumed that the "psychosis" was the big thing. Or that I'm angry. I'm not angry, I haven't got the energy. The voices are all doing sloooooowww ttaaaalllkkkiiinnngggg but that isn't *too* bad. I'm very in touch with reality, it is an utterly depressing reality but it is real. No-one can argue that I'm believing the wrong things, that I'm too out of touch with the "perceived reality" of "normal people". I'm sad. Sad. An easy word to say, but a word filled with dread. And darkness. Easy to type too: left hand 4th finger, little finger, middle finger. Sad. If my blinds were open, I'd see squirrels leaping through the leafless tree outside, being seemingly happy. I can't deal with that, so my blinds are shut. Just a window shaped area of light coming through the blinds to lighten my room.

Last time I felt this depressed it ruined me. Ruined my plans for me in the world. Slowly but surely I made a new person, a "Me #2". I found the world to be difficult but manageable. I'm studying, working, being busy. And inside I'm petrified that this depression will ruin the newest me. Quickly and easily, just like the last time. And though I eventually returned with a new me last time, I'm not so convinced I can do it again. A "Me #3" seems infeasible. Impossible. And too much like bloody hard work.

Depression passes. I know that. It is just so hard to get to the point where it has passed. I'm too tired to do this. I'm too tired to attempt to end it all too, which I suppose is a blessing in disguise as it rules out an avenue of thought I don't want to (or maybe I do, but I know I shouldn't) meander down.

It appeared so quickly. The head fog, the slowness, the constant weight on my chest and shoulders. The muddy waters of depression, where the last thing I want to do is live my life. I just want to sleep. Hide from all the busyness and happiness and noisiness of the world.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Things they don't tell you when you sign your contract.

Things they don’t tell you when you sign your contract as an organist, as observed by me a liturgical year into my first organist post:
- You use the phrase “liturgical year” as if there is no tomorrow. Ah well!
- Choirs are hard work as they can be haphazard in turning up, forgetful, never on time, chatty and somewhat unpredictable in what they manage each week.
- Choir bank accounts are hugely time consuming and very little use when money for things is dealt with in incompatible ways to that.
- Sheet music is expensive and what may first seem as an ideal piece for an occasion may turn out not to be.
- Descants known by the sopranos who want to do descants are generally in a completely different key to the hymn tune to be found in the hymn books.
- Refusing to play for a visiting African bishop due to his views on homosexuals is a fairly empowering and scary thing. Even if it just gets moved to another church and happens without hiccups there, with the vast majority of people not knowing it was moved as you refused to play/let someone else play the organ which is technically your organ. Pondering grabbing a woman off the street and passionately kissing her in the churchyard of the other church never actually became reality...
- The Bishop of the diocese is rather against homosexuals too. He retires in March of next year, pondering passionately kissing a woman in the cathedral grounds after his retirement service...
- Every other organist you will deal with will be called Tony. Pondered changing name to Tony by deed poll.
- Every other organist you will deal with will be at least 45 years older than you. They shall find it odd to have a 20 year old woman in their midst, seem uncomfortable, and will apologise for supposed sexist stereotyping comments they make (even if they aren’t actually being offensive in any way)
- Priests are somewhat unpredictable. And some just won’t sing, even if you suggest they could be taught the service rubric to be able to.
- You will not get paid on time. Some months you will not get paid until 2 months after it. The idea of the parish setting up some bank transfer of your stipend is immediately dismissed, even though it would make their life easier.
- Brides-to-be can be stressful. You tell them to contact you 4 months before when they ring 9 months before the date, but then spend another 30 minutes on the phone quelling their inane fears about the day.
- Brides-to-be expect you, as an organist, to be able control the weather. This is a somewhat unreasonable request, which you laugh at during meetings but they stare back at you in all seriousness.
- Choosing hymns can be quite tricky. Some weeks all the “ideal” hymns have lots of a certain digit in their numbers, so you have problems when it comes to doing the hymn boards to announce the numbers to the congregation as there are a limited amount of “2” cards...
- Some Sunday mornings, you end up singing everything as a solo as no choir turns up. Even if you were expecting 4 choir members, based on the known/given availability.
- First sopranos think they rule the roost. They really don’t. This notion is one which is difficult to change and you end up just letting them believe that to make the squabbling less constant.
- Innuendo amongst the choir is rife. Going “ANYHOW, can we PLEASE get on with this?” generally means laughter descends on the whole chancel.
- Innuendo about the word "organ" will always exist. A perfected glare of "I am not amused/heard it before/oh, shhh" appears about 3 months into the job.
- Funerals are more worrying for I than weddings are.
- You can actually get through a liturgical year without anyone requesting “Shine, Jesus, Shine” or Jerusalem, so you don’t play ‘em. *jumps for joy at this wondrous event*
- Organising for the organ to be tuned turns out to be a mammoth task, and actually swimming from Wales to Ireland would be simpler in some respects.
- People will organise events without telling you, but still assume you are free to play for said events.
- If you were to take all your entitled holiday leave, people would claim you are “never here”.
- You’ll trip over hymn books that end up on your bedroom floor.
- Choir members ring up in a panic on Saturday evening at 9pm as their televisions aren’t working, and expect you to remotely fix it.
- You will be referred to as the “NEW organist at the church” 11 months into your contract. Pondering how long the new status remains...
- Some people hate music that other people love. When choir members announce the dates of their holidays, you change choices of music to reflect this.
- The Parochial Church Council take months to come to any decision, and so you still haven’t got funding for the repairs to the organ which you need doing and have needed doing since your appointment to the post 12 months ago.
- You’ll start having to think about Christmas music in September, Easter music in January, but you still complain whenever a carol book gets placed in front of you at other musical gatherings before the 1st December saying “not yet”.
- Choir members will share the peace with you by saying “Peace be with you, boss”.
- Some days your internal metronome will be wonky, but people still thank you for uplifting music.
- Sometimes the congregation enjoy the anthem you have chosen for the choir, and spent weeks working on. They will come up to you afterwards and say “If it hadn’t been inappropriate, I would have clapped, that was beautiful.”
- You shall feel so humbled to sit at the organ you could pinch yourself to just check you aren’t dreaming. You are employed to worship God with music, to lead the music, to choose the music, to BE the music.
- You can see yourself being an organist and choir leader for many years to come. You seriously consider the Big Move which you shall do in a under 2 years time, and wonder whether a suitable post will appear in a university city which offers the masters course you want to do. Suddenly the world of church music, with all its downfalls and disappointments and horrors feels like the place you will always frequent. However mad it is, it feels right.

No more first services left to do - I've done Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Saints' Days and other feast days once, so now I start around the loop again. Next Sunday is Advent Sunday, and all things start getting manic with Christmas services again, if last year was anything to go by. Here endeth the blog post of an organist. (Though I'm not sure I'll ever get used to calling myself an organist...)

Topsy turvy world.

[Another voice busting technique I hope. Just bear with me, if you would.]

'Tis a topsy turvy world. Where words come and go. People too. The generally accepted views on the world also come and go.

I know lots of people say that with one of my diagnoses it is like I'm on the wrong planet. As if another planet would somehow fix all the problems, and I'd fit in there. I sincerely doubt I would. Topsy turvy worlds.

Topsy turvy world. From the teenage boy air guitaring to some very noisy music who suddenly became self-concious as I walked past and glanced into the front room of his house, to the old lady who was closing her blinds and her curtains and double locking the front door as I walked past.

Topsy turvy world. Know Weebles, those toys which whenever you hit them they always ping back to upright as they are weighted in that way? Well, I used to force them down and keep them down - when I pushed something over at that time, it stayed down. So Weebles confused me, they don't do the expected thing.

Topsy turvy world. Where if we get through another 30 hours without calling an ambulance the weekend will be deemed a success.

Topsy turvy world. Where my head seems to be hell-bent on being a right bloody disaster, but outwardly I'm currently fairly subdued.

Topsy turvy world. Where the world spins with me on it. However huge the urge to get under a duvet and never emerge from underneath it again, I still do. For I need to deal with today's tomorrow. And today is a moveable event.

Topsy turvy world. Where today's tomorrow will always exist. Mind-blowing realisation.

Topsy turvy world. There are times to sit still, and times to stand up, and times to lie down, and times to jump about. I'm just a tiny bit confused as to which time is which.

Topsy turvy world. I'm a pianist with bandaged up arms and in need of painkillers. I'm a mathematician with a weird inability to engage brain to remember that the symbol "3" is vocalised by the word "three" (or any other numbers for that matter). I'm a weird twitchy frightened-of-the-world person with jobs which require calmness and control.

Topsy turvy world. Or maybe it is topsy turvy me, and the world was boring all along. Or maybe both.

[I've got a little voice of someone who I used to go to school with sitting within my skull behind my right ear sitting on a swing waggling their legs and going "Topsy turvy, topsy turvy." I liked this boy, we used to sit and do sums together aged 6 (he was also a quiet somewhere-at-my-end-of-the-spectrum kid), but right now Jim is driving me a little crazy. And I'm avoiding slapping my head to try and dampen him because he was one of my friends so hurting him would be a bad idea. He also became a fairly big part of my life aged 15 as we used to try the most preposterous science experiments possible that we could get away with. Including growing things on Petri dishes from the contents of his shoe (and then persuading the school to keep them in warm conditions for 2 weeks)... Still, his 7-year-old voice is getting on my nerves. Topsy turvy, topsy turvy.]

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

My records have gone to Rio...

Okay, okay, they've not actually gone to a huge city in Brazil, more are on a RiO administration system. Call it artistic license to make it sound like they've gone off on an NHS-funded cruise...

Anyhoo. Seems in my blog post of my last CPA paperwork I wasn't fully RiO-ed, but instead on some absolutely crap interim thing.
Today, I got my first RiO based Care Plan Review document. No tick boxes about if I've died, you'll all be relieved to read. However....

[I'm always moaning, I'll always have more to say. If you don't realise that now, then... err... realise it.]

Firstly, grey backgrounds on boxes when printed out isn't ideal. Not a big thing, and probably a case of PICNIC.

Apparently a copy was distributed to me, my carer (Mum) [She hasn't got/won't get a copy, but the document says she has] and GP, CPN etc and to "RMO" - not quite sure who/what this is. Records Management Office, Registered Medical Officer, Risk Management Office, Risqué Mentals Organisation, Really Mental Ormaybenot? or many Ruddy Muddy Obvious sensible suggestions I've missed. They've got a copy, which is nice for them...

I do actually have a contingency plan this time - hoorah! "Hannah and [Mum] are to maintain telephone contact with the team." Okily doke, glad it isn't just blank.
List of persons present at review (people, surely?) doesn't include the window cleaner sadly. Poor bloke, and he added so much to the highly enthralling meeting...

My CPN is wonderful at putting words into my mouth. I think the "she does X on a weekly basis" comment she wrote makes it sound like I've got a weekly time I do this thing they frown upon. "Ooo, it is 2.30 on Tuesday afternoon, let's go." isn't quite how hurting myself is, to be honest.

Anyway, back to being sensible. There is a bit which is a table with "Problem, Intervention/Actions and Frequency, Anticipated Outcome and Clients View, Main Person Responsible, and Planned/Actual Start Date, Actual End Date" headings. All fairly sensible.
Except, some things don't exactly fit into boxes. So here you have my problem: (apologies for the editing, using Paint/HTML aren't my strongest points)

Apparently studying and working is a problem. Errr. Hmm. And I'm not convinced the timings bit is quite worth it either for most things which are on-going (as are all the things in my bit). Though I'd like to know how I manage to time travel back to April 28th 2010 to end the "problem". I have just looked in my diary, I did a funeral that day, I'd rather not do it again.

Other than that stuff, the appointment consisted a quick dismissing of my attempts to suggest actually getting out of bed was sometimes really rather tricky, let alone motivating myself to leave the house and do exciting stuff. She thought I looked really well, and thinks I'm in a 'virtuous cycle' (opposite of vicious, apparently) with my life. She thinks everything is fantabulous as she didn't let me get out the words to even say it was anything to the contrary. Talking about logic in philosophy also was discussed, concerts too, and my next appointment has been booked in for the week with Christmas day at the end of it. When I shall be rather tired and racing towards the last leg of the "get to midday on Sunday 26th December then sleep" plan.
GP versus me part "Second trip" is happening in 13.5 hours time, in case you are interested. Where I shall announce that my hands still hurt, and I managed only a week on the prescribed 28 day course of painkillers as they made me too sleepy to function.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday

I'll stand in silence and remember those who have fallen,
I won't however stand in silence for those who will fall.

I'll stand in silence and remember those who have fallen,
I won't, however, stand with a red poppy on my suit. It will be white.

I'll stand in silence and remember those who have fallen,
I can't, however, stand feeling like war is only in the past.

I'll stand in silence and remember those who have fallen,
I can't, however, stand feeling comfortable with myself.

I'm a pacifist. Though I may have hurt those around me through my actions when self-destructing, I will never hurt someone intentionally. I will never be violent. Apart from occasionally to my own self. But that is something different.
My brother is applying to be in the forces. I'll support him in his life for he is my brother, however I really struggle to support this choice of his. He knows that, but it is what he wants to do.
Though I may be an idealist, an optimist beyond what is realistic, I hope for peace. A simple 5 letter word. Where inhumane violence without reason becomes a thing of the past. Where people realise that the vicious deaths of other humans in the name of "justice" or "war" is a waste, and words and actions of kindness can do far more long-lasting good.

The world is full of different people with different beliefs, I know that. My little "I hope for peace" doesn't go very far. The thing is, as was said by a priest in some prayers a few weeks back, that we should hope for "Dignity of recognising differences, rather than searching ignorantly for only the similarities". The world isn't a just place, but I can't see how violence can ever be the answer. Fighting injustice with yet more injustice seems futile and destructive.

I really struggle with silence, *really* struggle. Having a brain which has lots of internal noises and shouting in it means when the external noises stop my mind tends to wreak havoc. However, I doubt my brain-full of noises is much compared to what some people experience going on externally. When they live in fear, for their homes, for their lives, for their identity.
So I will stand in silence for those who have fallen.
However, I can't stand silently and watch the world now. I can't be passive in a world full of huge violence. At the moment, I try change the world only a very little, only in this small corner. I'm sure others are doing the same. Probably in very different ways to me.
Peace. I hope for peace. In a world where at times it seems distant and forgotten, I hope for peace to prevail. Globally, between communities, inside communities, between families, inside families, between individuals, and in individuals.
I'll stand in silence for those who have fallen, and hope for peace.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Today's reflection on today

This started off as a twitlonger thing, but I've decided it is probably a bit too long. So here it is:

Best amusing moment of today: seeing a toddler (not just any toddler, but the toddler belonging to crisis team woman who got me discharged from a psych ward and readmitted in one shift when I was at uni [I think this shows utter ingenuity and/or impressive stupidity on my part!]) try and put up an umbrella in the door way to their house. The look on her face as she got stuck was just hilarious, and I very much liked her funky Wellington boots/coat combo...

Most petrifying point of today: I lost page 9 of the soloist's music, and she did a huge pause between variations as we both tried to find the page in the midst of lots of other lose sheets. (She apologised afterwards as it shouldn't have all been lose sheets but a proper book. We got to the end though!)

Worst point: being told I look really confident and well when I actually wanted just to hide and go into this kind old woman's house and weep in the front hall.

Embarrassing point: forgetting my name in the bank. I ended up getting out my passport which I had with me for ID for the bank stuff and reading it from that. (That is not ingenious at all, just very stupid)

Aha! moment: leading my sister to form her own conclusions about some poems she was analysing. A light bulb moment happened for her, so she is now ready to face the exams tomorrow.

Best point of today: doing it. All of it. I've coped. I am living. Fooking 'ell, 'tis scary.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


*cringes at the thought of this being out there* However, I fear keeping it inside is worse for my head.

I haven't told anyone the results of my latest assignments. Usually I tell my parents what I got - after all, they are allowing me to leave in their house, eat their food, use up their electricity etc. etc.. However, I don't want them to know, because it would result in them saying "well done" and moving on. If they were 23%, things would be different, but they aren't (the percentage is in triple figures, if you get my drift). So to all intents and purposes I'm doing well. I haven't wobbled so far from the beaten track I can't answer simple questions in short course assignments (so the dreaded essays are the only assessed bits left...)

I'm snapping at people. From the "I really think you should stay in this evening" of my mother on Friday night as I sat quivering/crying/shaking with the fireworks outside (I shouted something about "my life now doesn't permit me to get frightened. I don't lead a life where I can be f**king crazy anymore, so shut the f**k up and I shall go to do my work as normal" and then composed myself and spent the next 90 minutes in charge of a group of 20 teenagers) to the "I don't know the answer" of my sister yesterday which I answered, despairingly, "yes, you do. It is using the facts you knew 10 minutes ago for that question, and some very simple common sense. Just think"... both of which were unfair, not called for and downright unlike me.

I spent this afternoon chatting, being sociable and playing wonderful music. It just utterly tires me out. I don't do face-to-face chatting. I'm now criticising myself as I realise she spent 3 hours here and didn't sit down as I didn't suggest she got a chair. 3 hours with a drink apart from water when she started coughing. I realise I'm a crap host, realise I didn't say really positive things about her situation when I could have done as I thought of them 2 hours too late.

Tomorrow, I'm page-turning for an international concert musician. I've got to focus on a pressurised task for maybe 90 minutes of the concert. I've sorted out an outfit - my problem is I wear loose-fitting clothes which drape and you can't page-turn wearing that sort of thing without disrupting the playing (really not an option) or standing oddly to keep it all back from the musician's arms (not really an option either). I need to go and see her during the day as she spends the day familiarising herself with the instrument. Right now, I'm in no fit state to seem like a competent human being.
Next Tuesday, I'm seeing my CPN. I don't want to see her. Now I've got a definite end time of 7 months time, I don't want to waste my breathe on speaking to her and saying empty phrases and platitudes to keep her happy. I'd rather we just stopped having an enforced hour spent together every few weeks/month for the next 7 months. I'm sure she has patients who would benefit from time with her (well, possibly...) but I'm not one of them. The only thing that that results from my appointments that is a positive is a decluttered coffee table.

I'm seeing the GP (see here and here and here for details) at some ridiculous hour of the morning in the middle of the week next week. According to the receptionist, the blood test results were normal, so arthritis has been ruled out. However, just because one possible cause has been ruled out that doesn't mean the pain isn't still an issue. I've got the music for some accompanying I'm doing in December today, the parts are not easy, and I can't afford to have many days where I don't knuckle down and get the parts learnt due to pain preventing piano playing.

Life feels like I'm wading through really thick treacle at the moment. I want it to feel more like a really thin (but yummy) butternut squash soup. However much sleep I have, I'm still tired. However much I eat/don't eat, I'm still not comfortable eating. However much I laugh, I still don't think I'm fully being truthful with the smiles and laughter. However much I want to hide, I don't and continue to feel like hiding. I wish it wasn't such an effort. The melodrama which November brings in its weather and appearance seems to have brought the melodrama back into my life. Of sitting around going "Oh no! Woe is me! The sun rises on the morn, yet still doesn't rise on me. Oh to be Dido, to have a funeral pyre to fling oneself upon in such a forceful way. Oh to be Aeneas seeing the smoke and being helpless to do anything" (y'see, my years of education in Latin weren't completely wasted... [Pliny the Younger's letters was my other strong point. Though I hardly ever went to lessons on the basis I was hiding under a duvet being a bit of an emotional wreck at the time])

An easy life. If only I could buy one in the supermarket, and ditch with this difficult interpretation of the life that goes on around me. Wonder whether it would be next to the salad or the wine or maybe the instant custard (I don't like instant custard but at least the "just add water" instructions are fairly easy to follow). Here endeth tonight's melodrama, now I'm going to properly focus on the Brahms Symphony which is on the television and hopefully that will relieve the pressing feeling on my chest.


Sunday, 7 November 2010


Just writing the word makes me panic slightly.

2000 reports seem to be OK, I seem to be able just to set to and complete a first draft, then spend quite a while refining it into something I don't mind someone else reading.

However, essays fill me with dread. I don't know why. This is a relatively simple course, it is interesting, I've read all the course material, done all the exercises, done all the "easier" questions, and am now left with 2 essays to write. They are only 600 word ones, but I'm getting in a tizz. 600 words of splurge about essays are easy (I fear I'll go over it in fact), most of my blog posts are over 600 words.
I think the fear of including irrelevant stuff that is really interesting to me affects me somewhat. I've got a tiny number of words to condense so so so much information - I can't cover anything in depth, or cover all the things that I've decided are really important.
My bullet points (and brief bullet points they are too) amount to 200 words in my plan. Basically, I'm doomed.

Essays were never my strong point at school, there is a reason I became so maths focused and that was the fact words aren't my "comfortable" language. If I could converse in a meaningful way without them, I would. At school, I wrote rather long essays for my modern history coursework which were so specific on one part of a question/brief I thought was fascinating. However, it meant I was completely off what had been intended for the essay to emanate from the brief. (In the end, school despaired and reached for the extenuating circumstances forms for that load of essays.)

Anyway, I hate essays. These ones are too short to say anything, are going to be read by one of two people running the course (The OU short courses tend to be rather quaint small affairs) who both seem fairly friendly according to their postings on the forum, and I *very* much doubt will laugh at my writings. However, I'm at the stage where I'm actually too frightened to write the damn things in the first place because I might do it all completely wrong and they will laugh.

I don't know why laughing is such a fear. I remember when I had spent an entire December holiday period in bed as I simply couldn't cope, then unsurprisingly mucked up the exams in the January, when the college whisked me away to have a motivational kick up the arse to try and stop their only-sixth-form-student-on-a-scholarship from ending up being a further disaster, they didn't laugh. In fact quite the opposite. Mum, when I came out of collage that day feeling like I was going to be thrown out of education, did laugh. Because I was angry with the 100% I got in statistics, I felt like I was sabotaging myself because I hadn't done any work and still got the damn 100% in the exam. Yes, ok, laughing was probably the right reaction then - I was being stupid. But still, I'm petrified people will laugh at my idea of an academic piece of writing.
I want to be in academia somehow. My maths needs to be backed up by words which explain it. I need to get over this huge fear of submitting words without any maths to hide it behind. These words are about the history of maths, but I can't put beautiful symbols on the page with the words being purely to fill in the gaps between the maths.

I've written very nearly 600 words now. (In fact that sentence has taken me over 600 words...). It isn't difficult. I got myself into such a state earlier I gave up and did huge amounts of piano once I actually felt I could move. Which wasn't immediately after I gave up for the day. I sat there going mad and getting angry and wondering why these stupid 600 words essays are creating such a reaction.
So, essays. *nods* Currently driving me mad, especially in conjunction with the fireworks creating havoc with my head.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Confession time

I've got a confession to make. I'm scared to make it, in case those who I'm hiding this thing from find out. Anyway, back to the confession...

I... err... well, y'see, I... enjoy conducting.

[A brief pause for you to go "OK... so... huh?"]

Y'see, it is a bit of a confession. I shy away from being the centre of attention, from being in the limelight. I'm frightened to talk to people some days for fear of revealing my inner most thoughts by mistake and being whisked off to be locked up. Yet I have this weird enjoyment from conducting. Standing in front of groups, waving my arms about, dissecting the bits that don't work, finding out why the whole piece always falls to pieces at three bars before rehearsal mark C, making the group aware of what should happen and how to get them there.

Sitting in the second desk of 'cellos, as I do in orchestra, I have this anonymity. No-one really cares if I'm there or not, I'm just part of the "string" sound, I don't get solos (which, considering I am a orchestral cellist more than any other type of cellist, is a very good thing), I add to the 'cello sound and that is that.
[To explain the term 'orchestral cellist': I started playing 'cello as there was no other cellist in the school. 6 weeks after I started playing, I was in rehearsals for The Hebrides Overture by Mendelssohn sitting alongside a professional cellist. The next term, I was found sitting alongside a professional cellist again, this time doing bits of Wagner's Meistersinger. My learning was done in a orchestral setting, at an incredibly accelerated pace. I can play solo pieces, but I tend to murder them. Put me into a group, and I am suddenly able to play in a way I can't outside of the group setting. Even if I'm the only person on the part inside the group. 'Tis odd, but I'm an orchestral/group cellist.]

Back to conducting. I love it. Enjoy it. I enjoy standing in front of a group of people with their eyes on me, and with an audience inevitably looking at my backside. I am self-conscious of people staring at me walking down the street, yet I enjoy being the focal point for the musical experience of a group with a conductor. It doesn't matter, as long as the music is there. A bit like performing I suppose, I'll sit at a piano in front of maybe 300 people, and because the music is there, it is okay.

I'm clearing up my room, and have just made sure I've put the conducting baton as far from my orchestra bag as possible - if the distinctive baton shape was seen in my bag at an orchestra rehearsal, I'd end up at the front in no time at all.

It is a confession, because many groups want conductors. Or assistant conductors. I'm assistant conductor of a band - I was volunteered for the post (it wasn't quite volunteering, more volunteered...) and I really enjoy it. I don't really conduct much in my other musical roles as I generally direct choirs from the organ/piano whilst playing.
It is a confession, because I'm the type to often work quietly in the background, to hide away from the big "tadaaaa I'm here, look at me, look at me, *jazz hands*" roles if I can. Even in my bright coloured clothing, I'm still in a place when I quite like not to be the centre of attention.
It is a confession, but I like conducting. There I've said it. And spent nearly 600 words talking about it.

*goes back to hiding under a rock in a state of anonymity and out-of-the-way-ness for a bit*

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

2nd November

To those not in the liturgical know, today is All Souls' day.
A day when every year I take a look back and think for a bit.
Every year for the last 7 years, I've wondered whether my name will be on the list of those who have died and who people want to remember in 12 months time. Even last year, when I was 4 days away from an interview for a job I was fairly certain to get, I still thought I might be on the list this year. I had convinced myself I was going to get the job then be an utter failure at it so would end trying to kill myself again as that would be the least bad way out of the situation. As you may have gathered, err, I'm still here. And haven't tried to change that either.
Next year, if I'm on the list, it will be because someone/thing else changed that [or I've daydreamed into the path of an oncoming vehicle or something, which won't be purposeful instead will just be because my brain isn't fully alert at the moment]. My shift to "I can't kill myself if I wanted to" is probably going to be a steadfast one.

However, when the list of those who people have put on to be remembered was read out this morning, it still got me. Would my grandmother who I adored, admired and felt privileged to know and love until she died nearly 8 years ago recognise me now? Not physically recognise me, though that might be a challenge. Would she recognise ME? Have I grown into an adult with a completely different outlook on life? To the point where my morals of a studious 12 year old with high hopes for all of humanity are missing? Has my mentalness knocked that out of me to the point she would see a different person standing in front of her? I don't know. Well, I fear I know the answer, but I don't want to admit it.
Would the 13 year old (whose name I put on the list) who killed herself 7 years ago have decided life was worth living if she had been stopped? I can't say, I didn't know her. But from dealing with those who were struggling to deal with me and then the huge grief for this girl, it affected me.
Would the man who died 10 days ago who I was meant to meet for the first time 4 days ago be recovering if he had gone to the GP one day earlier?

The truth is people die. And today is a day for remembering those who have died and knowing they are at peace now. Even after doing 8 funerals this year, I won't ever get complacent about the fact people die. It can have the tendency to move from "being part of the grieving process and the final bit of life" towards "3 hymns, music before and after, home in an hour". Which is crass, and something I hope never fully happens.

Tonight I shall go to the other service and listen to the list of my church once again. Safe in the knowledge that those I have had the pleasure of knowing who have died are somewhere better than this world, and those who may have even been lost out of people's memories are there too. When names and faces and beings become such distant memories they are only inside one person on earth (or indeed no persons on earth), they are still hugely cared for.

I'm still here. My name isn't on the list. Neither are people who I really feared were going to be, they've got through another year. A day with death intricately entwined with it, but a day I wouldn't ever miss having to deal with. I need to be dealing with it, so I do. Year after year after year. All Souls' day.