I have played the piano for as long as I can remember. I was seven or so when my dad's buddy gave me a piano and my parents got me some lessons right away. I loved it. I've always loved it. But I love it for myself. When it comes time to play for others, I just lock up and forget everything and I hate it.
My relationship with the piano has always been tempestuous. It's the thing I love and the thing I fear, all at once. I'm drawn into it and I'm always terrified by it. I suppose that's because it has the potential to conquer me, or at least be the one thing I never really conquer.
That push and pull has resulted in years away from the piano at a time. I always come back to it, but usually for a few months and then I push it away again. I am determined that this time, I will stay.
But that has brought some interesting changes.
My younger self was far more timid than my today self. "Christy - play out!" was something I heard from every instructor on every instrument. I just wasn't confident enough that I was going to do it right - do it mistake-free - to really play out loud. It never mattered where I played or what kind of music I played. I just was never playing loud enough.
Something is different.
Maybe the changes that life has brought to me have brought my emotions closer to the surface. I know I'm bolder and more confident in many areas of my life. Somehow, without any effort on my part, my touch at the piano has changed. I am asked, more often than not, to reign it in.
"Scale it back a little, Christy."
"Play this a little more gently."
When I played at the end of last semester for the music faculty, the first thing someone said to my professor was, "She's a fiery one, isn't she?"
And I think that's interesting.
Because I am a fiery one.
I've just always kept it to myself.