Friday, June 25, 2010

A defeated purpose

So, how do I begin this? I decided when I was 11 that I wanted to play the clarinet because my mother had played the clarinet. I started in band in 6th grade. My mother and grandmother had decided that it would be best to do a rental purchase on a clarinet. I'm not sure if it was because of money issues, which we did have, or if they were not sure I would stick with it. From the moment I got my clarinet I played it every day. I went through the beginner book so fast it was crazy. I was ahead of the other clarinets at that point and the other woodwinds for that matter. I remember that summer, I played it everyday and wanted my mother to show me how to march. She refused, lol, I think she was trying to keep me from becoming the dork I was. But no matter I eventually mastered it on my own. In band it was the first thing I felt like I had excelled in ever. I loved it. I loved the music, playing it and making music. In 7th grade my mother and grandmother took the clarinet I had a beginner no brand to The Pied Piper for repairs and came back with a brand new Intermediate Artley with a matte wood grain finish. And my mother bought me a book. It was Disney for the clarinet all the songs from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast. I continued to play everyday. I remember the day we began to learn the second octave notes and how to do a finger break. Monumental really in my eyes, I loved eing challenged in my music and wouldn't wait until I got to prove my talents. But that spring began a  new chapter in my life that started a downfall that I wish i had never let happen. My mother left my father, for what reasoning's I still don't know we all have theories, I get mad when I remember what happened closed doors. Things no one believes and things no one wants to hear.
Everyone remembers what happened then we moved out of our home and into the home of one Brenda Hammonds. I couldn't practice, I hated that place. One it wasn't home, two the only thing my mother did there was send us outside to play and smoke, what I won't say, three within two days of living there my sisters brother and I had lice. Need I go on? That summer I was rescued by my aunt and went to stay with her in Louisiana as her family began their journey back to Tennessee. I have never regretted that summer I never will.  It was a terrific summer! One of my favorites. I only wish my siblings could have had a better one. There were things that happened that summer that no one will tell me to this day. I just know it was things that no child should ever go through.
By the time I returned home my father and mother were fighting my father as many people in Grayson at that time was out of work and my mother was suing for child support. He was hiding, I got to see him once. At the beginning of 8th grade my music skills soon were becoming natural to me and I still practiced everyday. We were living at that time with my grandmother Juanita, Nanny to me, my mother's mom. It wasn't a bad situation, it was much more like home. My mother however was becoming bitter, and acted like a child. more than I did. She would get a call and in minutes she would leave us with my grandmother and no one would see her for the rest of the night. She told her mom once she was going to church. I called her on it saying bull. I was slapped across the face and told not to talk back. Everyone knows the story, and what happened next, by that winter she was in the hospital and died shortly after Christmas.
I was thrust into taking care of my siblings at 13. No one knows what I did that winter, that summer. I was miserable, I wanted to be a kid, I had to have diner on the table at a certain time, give the little ones a bath and teach my younger sister how to use deodorant. I had no time to grieve, no time to be alone. I had no one, and felt like no one wanted me. I couldn't bring myself to look at my clarinet much less try and play it. I had barely passed 8th grade and would soon begin high school. I constantly thought about how I could manage it, what would I have to give up so I could be home to take care of my family. I sat and cried about this night and day. Tried to play the part of a happy teenager. My friend Amanda wasn't much help, she alienated me from the one friend that was there for me. Jessica had been there through my mother's death, her and her mother. Not a day goes by that I don't regret losing that friendship. Amanda cost me a lot and why I felt her friendship was so important I don't know.
Eventually it was all too much for my father to handle, and he took us to my grandmother and there we stayed. I don't know how he helped her out, or what the arrangement was. Just that any decision he had the final word. But by the time I started high school i had completely forgotten who I was. If I was to continue with my music I would have to teach myself all over again. I did but I didn't want to. every note every sound reminded me of her. My turning point was the last day of my freshman year, I was one of tha last ones out of the band trailer. Miss Hartley called me back, put her arm around my should and told me not to give up, that it's not what my mother would have wanted. She told me I had it in me and to keep practicing. That summer I met Cara.
My life began to turn around, then my great grandmother passed away. I began to float into depression again, I stopped eating healthy if anyone really noticed me they would have seen the traumatic weight difference in me. My hair began to fall out so I cut it off and  kept it short. Years later I found a picture of myself and threw it away. I hate what I looked like, I was sick, too thin and had a huge fake smile. I was tortuous to look at.
I had began to take private clarinet lessons from Dr.Jones. He intimated me, and told my grandmother that I didn't play I just sat and held my horn. I was offended and he refused to teach me. I know I didn't hold horn, I knew I was trying and I was making progress, but to this day my grandmother says that I did. Fast forward, junior year, I was doing a solo competition thing I don't even remember what it was called. Sara had a tumbling class with our cousin Rachel and I needed to practice, Aunt Flo said I could practice in the back. I was going to do a song from my Disney book, sort of a homage to my mother I was excited about it. It was Beauty and the Beast, full of double eighth note and really complicated. I practiced during the entire class. And when it was time to go, my grandmother made fun of me. Said I could have chose a better song one that wasn't so annoying and sad. I was hurt but most of all embarrassed. I drooped out of the competition. After that I just played in marching and concert band. I was tired of trying and my effort not being seen. I still have my clarinet, I would play it but I need to replace some of the lower pads. I don't have the money to pay for it so it remains in the closet. I'll pull it out every so often and check the corks and finger through a song, check all the keys. But I miss it. I miss being the maker of music. I miss the sound and feel of it. I miss the annoying callus on my thumbs and the tips of my finger being numb from hours of practicing. I miss it. But it all seems to be a defeated purpose.


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