I can’t decide if music is my drug or my enemy. I can’t decide if it keeps me sane, or drives me to insanity, and sometimes, that’s a very very horrible thought.

I’ve grown up to be a flautist, having flute lessons since the age of seven. My first flute teacher was fantastic, but when I moved schools at age ten, playing the flute lost all its joy. My new flute teacher was evil, and regardless of how determined I always was, she knocked me down, and I failed. Time and time again. I had no musical background to fall back on, and my parents simply didn’t understand. Lacking confidence anyway, that teacher crushed me just a little too much, and when I moved schools again at age fourteen, I didn’t speak to my new teacher for a very very long time. What that lady did however, was bring joy and confidence back into my life, and I cannot thank her enough.

She’s taught me that music relaxes me, and allows me to breathe, and to forget. When I’m playing, I cannot concentrate on exams and stress, and so it gives me time out. It’s a beautiful feeling, to feel the tension fall from your shoulders, but it can mean that you open up a little too much sometimes, and that can be dangerous.

What playing the flute doesn’t do however, is make feelings go away. It may allow me to forget about work and exams, because I cannot concentrate on two things at once, but in allowing me to let go, playing music allows everything to escape that has built up inside me for so long. Bands and orchestras are a little different. It’s not ‘my’ music, and I can struggle to become emotionally attached, but solo pieces have a different story entirely. There’s death, love, smiles, and tears all associated with each piece I play, depending on when I learnt it, and what it sounds like. For someone who struggles to name emotions, music is a way that I can explain how I’m feeling. That can be a godsend, but when I’m trapped in a little room with my teacher in the corner of the music block, it can be hell. It can end in tears, because sometimes, the music just gets too much.

The more I let build up inside me, the more I find that the music tears me apart. I’ve stopped practicing my flute, because it’s too much to handle. The rush of emotion is difficult to cope with, and it can exhaust me physically and mentally for days and days. It’s horrible, because I loved it. I love playing, and I don’t want to loose that, but it’s too much emotion. I can’t cope with the flute when I’m struggling, and recently has been a time like that.

As time passes and I drift further and further from my love of playing and my desire to get my grade eight, I’m finding that other things are affecting me more. Without that little time to offload, I’m simply letting the wall get higher and higher, and so not only do I not want to talk at all, I want to ignore my feelings, and when something does make that wall come crashing down, I’m struggling to cope. Again, it’s only music that can achieve it. Listening now makes all the difference. The classical music in the foyer of the doctors, the pieces played in the christmas concert, and the lyrics to some songs on the radio.

There’s a song in the charts right now which has the first line ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you wish you were dead.’ I hate it. Every time I hear it, it destroys me, leaving a mess behind. It goes against everything I’ve taught myself to believe over the past few years, and somehow, that combination of words and sound brings back too many memories. Friendship. Eating disorders. Stress. Hope. Hatred. Pain. Talking. Hiding. Depression.

It’s sad that I’m leaving music behind. It’s just another way to cut myself off from the world, but this time, it’s something that I really love. I don’t want to loose the things that I love, because that will only make coping harder. The worst is yet to come in all sorts of ways for all sorts of people, and I need to be strong, and I need to be ready. Now isn’t the time to say my goodbyes to music, but I’ve simply forgotten how to use music to my advantage. I’ve forgotten a lot of things related to emotions really. I’ve forgotten how to talk, I’ve forgotten how to play. And I mustn’t. I mustn’t allow myself to do this anymore.

Perhaps tomorrow I can face my fear, and play my flute. It would be nice to do so without the pain, and it would be nice to do so without someone having to remind me, or ask me. Something tells me however that I won’t do it without a nudge. It’s just like leaping off a diving board for the first time. If you’re afraid of heights and there’s nobody behind to push you, you probably won’t bother. This time, there’s nobody to nudge me.


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