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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Is this fear...or sheer terror?

I want quiet...but I want to be around people.  I need to be around people right now.  And this is only to keep me from breaking down.  I'm hoping that whoever can see me right now really can't tell that I'm shaking...and too close to letting the tears slip out.

My problem?  I'm scared.  Scared of this trial.  At first, I thought all I was going to do was to get on a stand and get to give my big forgiveness speech and then sit back down and be done.  But that's not the case.  I actually have to testify on the stand, go through the whole "do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth" spiel you see in movies and get questioned by the defense attorney...or whoever is defending the guy who broke in to begin with.  I didn't know I had to do that whole thing...and suddenly I don't want to have anything to do with it.

Fear is defined as "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., the feeling/condition of being afraid."

Terror is defined as "an intense, sharp, overmastering fear".

Which do I have?  I don't know.  All I know is that only a month or so ago, I wanted to get up there and forgive this man for what he did and how he's affected me.  But now...I'm not so sure.

Dad told me that the prosecutor for the case has to meet with me and put me on the stand in a mock trial and essentially attempt to fluster me so that I won't get overwhelmed during the real thing.  Apparently, whoever's defending the man who committed the crime will attempt to trip me up over my own words and confuse me with my own testimony.  Why?  I know that's his job...but why would someone take such a job?  I don't understand...he's guilty!  He admitted to the crime to begin with...so what good is a defense attorney going to be?  What does this man want?  I don't understand...and I'm almost tired of trying to understand.

I just want to be done.  I want to be done with this stress, frustration, and fear.  I know I have some form of PTSD and I want to be done with it.  I want to be done with the pain in my elbow and my heart.  I ache inside for this man, of how lost he actually is.  Sometimes the pain in my elbow is intense enough that I can't practice or put weight on it.  I'm just done.  I'm trying not to be angry at him, but I'm losing that battle too.

I have to admit, that I'm not just scared to death about this trial...I'm angry.  I'm angry that the original date was postponed...and that the spring break date, which was perfect beyond anything I could ask for, was postponed.  I don't get what this man wants, what he hopes to gain from constantly moving the trial farther and farther away.  If he doesn't want a trial, why didn't he just accept the years he was offered in the first place?

When I read the case file to keep up to date with any of the changes happening, I get teary-eyed and emotional.  Just looking at how the process went down brings up emotions I haven't really felt for a while.  When I tell the story, I have to be honest...I suppress the emotions as a general rule.  I try to act like it's not big deal anymore and all that it is is something I can brush off with the humor in it.  But I can't always do that.  Some days I can.  Others...I can't.  That's when I fake it...so no one can tell the difference.

I don't even know how to tie up this post in a nice neat little bow.  It's not really a nice neat little package anyway I guess...it's just a mess of my words and feelings, trying to get them out before I explode into tears around my fellow students.  Me and fear don't really mix well, because it cripples me to the point of curling up into a ball and just crying and hiding, not solving anything.  And that's what's about to happen to me, if I don't get a handle on this.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Expectations

I should be writing a paper right now...but I can't focus.  I have to talk something before I go crazy.

Today was my violin lesson.  I was nervous for it because I hadn't gotten very much practicing done the week before.  I had just come from practicing 4 hours a day to practicing an hour a day, on average.  Some days I got five minutes done!  Just five!  So, it goes without saying that my playing in my lesson certainly was not up to par.  Prof. Thompson didn't really ask questions about why I wasn't playing as well as I had been before.

"I've never had to say this to you..." he paused, "but you don't seem to have a good picture of the rhythm and bowing in your head."  I shook my head and bit my lip, wanting to go through the floor.  "How much have you worked on this?"

"Well...today and yesterday, and a little over break, but I've been focusing more so on the Bruch [my concerto] and other repertoire than [the Sarabanda]."

After a little more discussion about how to get it to work right, and lots of me not knowing the answers, Prof. Thompson finally asks me, "Do you feel like I'm backing you into a corner and you can't do anything right?"

"Yes!"  I replied quickly.

He nodded in understanding.  "I'm not meaning to make it seem like I'm setting you up for a wrong answer, because there are none."

I laughed and said jokingly, "Naw, you're just setting me up for failure.  But I can do that on my own."  He just shook his head and moved on.

When we got to the end of my lesson, I shoved my practice journal toward him.  "It's...not very good this week," I said sadly, feeling awful inside.

He took it and opened it.  "Oh yes, Emily [his wife] said you were freaking out about not getting enough practicing done."  I ducked my head and tried to direct my attention to zipping my case.  "Remember I had the same schedule as you this week.  And you're such a good student..." I whipped my head around and stared at him.  "...that I can let a week like this last one slip by."

I didn't really know what to say.  "Thanks..." I whispered, my gut twisting inside of me.

"You really are a great student," Prof. Thompson said again.  I gave him a look of "are you serious" mixed with a bit of disbelief.  "Everyone thinks so!"

"Everyone?" I asked skeptically, trying to laugh it off.

"Dr. Maher [my theory professor] says you are in his class," Prof. Thompson explained.  Apparently one professor means everyone.

"I try to be.  I like his class," I replied.  I started to leave his office.

"See!"  Prof. Thompson explained.  "You understand!  You understand what it takes for you to be a good student and you know what people ask of you and you want to meet that.  That's what makes you a great student."

I just gaped at him for a second and then swallowed.  "Okay.  Thank you."  I really didn't know how to react.  At first, his words really warmed my heart and encouraged me.

But then I started to actually think about what those words meant.

He knows that I want to be a great student and try as hard as I can (most of the time) to succeed.  He wants me to be like that.  He wants me to do my best.  Because he knows what I have done to get to the level I'm at, he knows I can keep doing it.  He expects great things from me.

Expects...

Expectations.  It goes back to that word...the word that scares me to death 90% of the time.  Prof. Thompson has such high expectations of me, he basically admitted that today in my lesson...and a few other times previously.  Add that with my high expectations and you have Mount Everest!  The actual scary part though, is that fear that I won't meet those expectations...that I won't come through.  That I'll have another week like this last one where I won't have a good excuse like the musical to back me up.  Even though he says (or at least insinuates) that he believes in me as a person and a musician, I sometimes wonder...how much is to calm my nerves and put me at ease...I know how awful that sounds...and yes, I have issues with taking compliments without categorizing them myself.  I'm working on it...

I know he's not setting me up for failure, just a little closer to the deep end of the pool where I may drown under the sea of expectations washing over me.  That's what scares me.  Scares me to tears.

Friday, March 8, 2013

When will it end?

Today was like most any other day...a day without motivation until the last six or so hours of awake time.  Except that I was home...in my house...where it happened.

I could have sworn that there was a literal person at my front door, knocking.  As soon as I heard it, I freaked.  I grabbed both my cell phone and the house phone and dashed around upstairs, looking out every window at least three times.  I couldn't stop shaking.  My breath came out in ragged spurts.  After five minutes of frantic searching, I tiptoed cautiously down the stairs and checked each of those windows at least three times.  Nothing...no car...no voices...no nothing on the front door.  It was as if no one had been there...

As I finished my rounds in the house, I realized that no one had been there.  I would have seen them.  But by then, it was too late.  I was scared.  I huddled on the floor next to the couch and cried, partly because I overreacted to what was most likely a bunch of snow falling off our house, and also because I was still scared it was real.  I wanted it all to be a nightmare, and I was going to wake up the next day to find all of my stuff for Uganda ready to pack...and the robbery hadn't happened and I was still sane.

But that's not the case.  It all happened, and I can't reverse it.

I understand now part of why I love it at school so much: I'm away from this house.  Nothing bad has happened at school to make me afraid...it was at this house!  It's at this house where I hate to be alone, at this house where nearly every sound that I don't have an explanation for within two seconds scares me and sends me into flashback mode.

The other night, I had a dream.  In my dream, a few friends and I were playing games in the house, really loud games.  I went to go do the horses and noticed that the side garage door and been forced open.  I ran back into the house.  "Guys someone broke into the garage!"  Then I woke up...scared.  It was six in the morning.  I laid there in my bed, breathing in and out...in and out...very shakily.  I couldn't help but wonder if I'd had that dream because someone had indeed broken into our house.  I laid in bed, listening for any sound that could be remotely related to an intruder.

This fear...is too much.  What drives me insane about it is that I can't control it...and I am the kind of person who needs control of everything in my life.  I get scared by so much now...it's stupid!  I suppose some of it makes sense, considering the experiences I've had, but other times, it seems far too silly to even be considered as an option to fear.

When will it end?  When?  I want to be set free from the fear I have.  One of my friends asked if I was okay after they found out about my little "scare".  Currently, I'm mostly okay.  But deep down?  Far from it.