I performed in the semi-final round of the Boston International Piano Competition. If anybody watched, I want to thank you for your support. I got many lovely comments on Facebook and in messages, and I can tell my performance made you happy. That's the most important thing for me - to make you happy, and I especially need to remember that right now.
The reason is... the reality is... I did not play well at all. Please don't think I'm putting down your perception of my performance, because unless you're a trained pianist yourself, you might not know when anyone playing virtuoso repertoire has a bad day. The music itself is very impressive.
However, I was in a judged situation. I knew as soon as I had finished that I wasn't going to advance.
My daughter was in the audience, and of course SHE knew how I typically play and she knew I was upset even before we reunited in the hall (where I confess I cried a little bit.) I felt I had let down my audience, my family, and my teachers.
All evening, I pondered the nervousness I feel in the hours leading up to a performance and onstage. Those hours are not fun. They can be downright torturous. Fortunately, most of the time, I manage to deliver a good - or at least a decent - performance that I can be proud of, and just like with childbirth, as soon as it's over, I instantly forget all the bad feelings.
But that good result did not happen yesterday, and the bad feelings, coupled with the feeling of failure, linger. I awoke in the wee hours of the morning and this quote by Homer Simpson came to my mind:
Well, that's pretty tempting, actually. Would the world miss me if I never played in public again? Probably not.
However, I realize two things:
1. I have to remember that by practicing and learning new music to share with people, I'm adding something of beauty and value to my tiny part of the world.
2. I have to try to focus on how my performance made the audience feel instead of how it made ME feel.
I have to look to another, wiser Homer for inspiration.
Adversity and failure are realities of life. May we all continue to persevere to achieve our goals and share our talents with the world around us.